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Owen McDougal and Students Publish in Fitoterapia

Owen McDougal, professor and chemistry department chair, along with biomolecular science doctoral student candidate Matt Turner, chemistry and biochemistry master’s student candidate Vannessa Campfield, undergraduate students Meagan Rossi and John French, and high school students Emily Wade and Ellie Hunt, published a paper in the journal Fitoterapia.

An excerpt from the publication’s abstract reads: “Veratrum californicum is a rich source of steroidal alkaloids, many of which have proven to be antagonists of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway that becomes aberrant in over twenty types of cancer.  […] Inspired by the limitations in analytical instrumentation and methods available to researchers at the time of the original investigation, we have used state-of-the-art instrumentation and modern analytical methods to quantitate four steroidal alkaloids based on study parameters including plant part, harvest location, and growth stage. The results of the current inquiry detail differences in alkaloid composition based on the study parameters, provide a detailed assessment for alkaloids that have been characterized previously (cyclopamine, veratramine, muldamine and isorubijervine), and identify at least six alkaloids that have not been previously characterized. This study provides insight into optimal harvest time, plant growth stage, harvest location, and plant part required to isolate, yet to be characterized, alkaloids of interest for exploration as Hh pathway antagonists with desirable medicinal properties.”

The article can be read here: