Cassandra Quave, PhD, is the herbarium curator and associate professor of dermatology and human health at Emory University, where she leads anti-infective drug discovery research initiatives and teaches courses on medicinal plants, food, and health. She is also the co-founder and CEO/CSO of PhytoTEK LLC, a drug-discovery company dedicated to developing solutions from botanicals for the treatment of recalcitrant antibiotic-resistant infections. Dr. Quave is a fellow of the Explorers Club, a former president of the Society for Economic Botany, and a recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award and Charles Heiser, Jr. Mentor Award. She is the co-creator and host of Foodie Pharmacology, a podcast dedicated to exploring the links between food and medicine. A leader in the field of medical botany, she has authored more than 100 scientific publications and has been featured in the New York Times Magazine and BBC Focus, as well as on PBS, NPR and the National Geographic Channel.
Select Interviews & Feature Profiles
New York Times Magazine, 2016
Could Ancient Remedies Hold the Answer to the Looming Antibiotics Crisis?
One researcher thinks the drugs of the future might come from the past: botanical treatments long overlooked by Western medicine.
National Geographic Magazine, 2017
Superbugs, meet your worst nightmare: This peppertree
In the peppertree’s fleshy fruit, Quave and her collaborators at Emory and the University of Iowa found a compound that has an unusual and valuable property. Instead of destroying bacteria—which most antibiotics do, and which most bacteria have evolved protections against—the extract prevents bacteria from talking to each other.
BBC Focus, 2018
The New Herbalist
Superbugs are becoming more resistant to antibiotics by the day. Cassandra Quave is searching for a solution in forgotten herbal remedies.
Emory News, 2018
The Plant Hunters: Ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave leads students in a search for secrets of ancient remedies that may benefit modern medicine
“Using traditional plant remedies as an exploratory tool, we’re getting closer and closer to finding new ways to address major medical problems,” Quave says.
Motherboard Vice, 2019
Civil War-Era Plant Medicines Could Help Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria, Study Finds
“I think it’s important to look towards our past to try to understand better how these treatments worked,” Quave said. “We can leverage that historic knowledge to develop better, innovative therapies for the future.”
Beautyberry compound can fight antibiotic resistance
“We need to keep filling the drug-discovery pipeline with innovative solutions, including potential combination therapies, to address the ongoing and growing problem of antibiotic resistance,” said Professor Quave.
Ecosense for Living on PBS, 2020
Dr. Cassandra Quave leads a team searching for plant-based medicines to replace failing antibiotics.