The American Botanical Council (ABC) welcomed 12 new members to its Advisory Board in 2016. These highly regarded professionals bring expertise in a wide variety of medicinal plant-related fields, including pharmacognosy, analytical testing, nutrition and aging, herbal product development, Chinese medicine, psychiatry, functional foods, and safety and risk assessments.
ABC Advisory Board members generously volunteer to review articles that appear in HerbalGram, HerbalEGram, HerbClip, and other peer-reviewed ABC publications. Additionally, ABC management and HerbalGram editors seek feedback and advice from Advisory Board members on research questions, article ideas, ABC policies, and book reviews, among many other topics.
Of the 12 new members, about half are based outside of the United States — in Australia, Canada, Iran, and Hong Kong — which broadens the international scope of the Advisory Board and helps ABC expand its educational impact. They join ABC’s 126 current Advisory Board members, which includes 32 international experts.
“ABC is deeply pleased to welcome these expert scientists to our Advisory Board,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC. “They will help enable and empower ABC’s broad nonprofit educational mission, as well as provide added expertise and scientific accuracy to ABC’s publications and programs.”
ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, added: “I am very happy to see the 12 new additions to our Advisory Board. The facets of research into medicinal herbs are so numerous that the expertise of our Advisory Board members is essential to competently fulfill ABC’s educational mission, and to ensure the continuation of our authoritative coverage of such topics as traditional and evidence-based use, clinical trials, regulations, and quality control of herbal products.”
ABC welcomes the following new Advisory Board members:
Hamid-Reza Adhami, PhD, PharmD, is an assistant professor in the department of pharmacognosy at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, where he teaches courses on pharmacognosy, medicinal plants, and complementary and alternative medicine. His research interests include the isolation, characterization, and purification of biologically active secondary metabolites from natural sources. Adhami received his doctorate in pharmacognosy from the University of Vienna in 2012. He was a visiting researcher at the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering in London and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the department of pharmaceutical sciences at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa. He previously served as the secretary of the Division of Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Research Center for Medical Sciences of Iran and as the executive manager of the Pharmaceutical Incubator of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. In 2007, he co-authored the Farsi translation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Traditional Medicine Strategy, and has published multiple papers in both English and Farsi.
Lori L. Bestervelt, PhD, currently holds dual positions with NSF International as executive vice president and chief technical officer. In these roles, she directs NSF’s global network of engineering, chemistry, and microbiology laboratories and toxicology services, and leads cross-functional collaborative efforts across all departments and divisions. Additionally, she helped lead the development of the only American National Standard for dietary supplements, as well as the corollary programs through which NSF tests and certifies dietary supplements to this standard. She has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of nutritional biochemistry, metabolism, and toxicology, addressing the safety of hundreds of materials used in dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products. She has developed risk assessments for the US Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada, and has worked with the WHO on food and water safety issues. Before joining NSF, she worked as a scientist at Pfizer.
Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS-S, is a professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, Massachusetts, and also serves as the senior scientist of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. His research focuses on the biochemical basis for the role of antioxidant nutrients in promoting health and preventing disease during the aging process via changes in status of oxidative stress, glucoregulation, and inflammation. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific articles and serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. In 2015, Blumberg was included on the Thomson Reuters list of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. Blumberg also has served as a member of the Workshop on Health Promotion and Aging in the Office of the US Surgeon General, the Sports Medicine Committee of the US Olympic Committee, the Consultation on Preparation and Use of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for the WHO, and other scientific and nutritional committees.
Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD, is the dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, where she lectures on natural health products and complementary medicine. She is the founding chair of the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research and is the past president of the International Society of Complementary Medicine Research. She served as the chair of Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Committee for Natural Health Products from 2006-2009. Her primary research interests are the safety and efficacy of natural health products as well as traditional/complementary/alternative medicine regulation and policy issues. She is the author of a textbook on natural health products and more than 150 academic publications. Boon currently is an advisor for the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research at the University of Toronto.
Robert G. Chapman, PhD, is the principal research officer of the National Research Council Canada’s Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Portfolio, where he is responsible for leading strategic projects that aim to develop new functional ingredients, including nutritional oils and plant-based proteins. He has 10 years of experience working with companies in the private sector to help improve the overall quality attributes of their functional ingredients through application of modern analytical methodologies. Chapman also helps educate those within the natural products industry through presentations that emphasize the importance of quality control in manufacturing and the tools available for choosing the best functional ingredients for finished products. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada.
Holly E. Johnson, PhD, laboratory director at Alkemist Labs, joined the company in 2014, leading project teams in analytical testing of natural products and botanical ingredients as well as performing specialized research. Johnson obtained her doctorate in pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy under the supervision of renowned pharmacognosist Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD. She was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award Fellowship and worked in the NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements for Women’s Health. Johnson received bachelor’s degrees in environmental biology and botany from the department of biological sciences at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. In her ethnobotanical research, Johnson has led numerous field expeditions collecting plants and working with indigenous healers, and she is currently a research associate with the federally chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden. She also worked for Waters Corporation conducting technical courses and consulting on chemistry applications and regulatory compliance for pharmaceutical and supplement companies. Johnson serves on advisory boards for the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and on expert review panels and stakeholder panels for dietary supplements at AOAC International. She is also on the editorial board of the Journal of AOAC International. Johnson has 19 years of experience in natural products chemistry with botanicals and spent many years conducting research on medicinal plants and teaching courses at the University of Hawaii.
John McPartland, DO, is an osteopathic physician who has worked at Vermont Alternative Medicine, Inc., a private practice in Middlebury, Vermont, since 1993. McPartland received his MS in plant pathology from the University of Illinois and his DO from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a residency in family practice at the University of Pittsburgh and a fellowship in biomechanics at Michigan State University. He first learned about medicinal plants at Boy Scout camp under the tutelage of Euell Gibbons. McPartland has authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including work on Phyllanthus amarus (Euphorbiaceae), milk thistle (Silybum marianum, Asteraceae), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens, Arecaceae), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, Araliaceae), and psychotropic mushrooms. He began cannabinoid research in 1981 and was the last person issued a new DEA Schedule I license to cultivate Cannabis spp. (Cannabaceae). Since 1997, he has worked as a clinical assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Vermont. In 1999, McPartland began a consultancy with GW Pharmaceuticals exploring cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. His HerbalGram subscription goes back to 1988.
James Neal-Kababick is the founder and director of Flora Research Laboratories, LLC, which specializes in the research and analysis of botanicals, dietary supplements, and related compounds. He is also adjunct faculty at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, where he teaches botanical drug identification by microscopy and thin-layer chromatography. In addition to his work at the private research lab and university, he serves on multiple expert committees for AOAC International, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the NIH, the American Herbal Products Association, and others. Currently, his work focuses on modern analytical technologies in the investigation of dietary supplements and other agricultural products. His collaborations include the development of databases and spectral libraries for rapid identification of botanicals, compounds, and clandestine drugs, as well as presenting lecture series and teaching hands-on training courses in the phytoforensic sciences.
Jerome Sarris, PhD, is a professor of integrative mental health and the deputy director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University. Previously, he was a senior research fellow in the department of psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. He holds a master’s degree in herbal medicine, and his doctorate in the field of psychiatry involved the study of plant medicines for depression and anxiety. His research interests include anxiety and mood disorders, nutraceutical psychopharmacology, integrative medicine research, and psychotropic medicinal plants (including significant work on kava [Piper methysticum, Piperaceae]). Sarris was a co-founding vice chair of the International Network of Integrative Mental Health, and he is an executive board member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles in various high-impact journals, including The American Journal of Psychiatry and Lancet Psychiatry, and is currently conducting several clinical trials on the mental health applications of plant medicines.
Natascha Techen, PhD, is a senior research scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford, Mississippi. Prior to her current position, Techen worked at Ole Miss as a postdoctoral research biologist from 2002-2010 and a research scientist from 2010-2016. In 2002, Techen received a doctorate in plant molecular biology from the University of Hamburg in Germany, where she also obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in molecular biology. She has given numerous oral presentations and authored more than 20 scientific journal articles, many of which have focused on DNA barcoding analyses of botanical dietary supplements and other plant-based materials. Techen has been a member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy since 2005, and has served as a peer reviewer for Methods in Molecular Biology, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and Planta Medica, among many other journals.
Michael Tims, PhD, has served as the academic director of herbal programs at the Maryland University of Integrative Health since 2012. In 1999, he founded Radix Medicina, where he currently works as an herbal product development consultant. Tims received his doctorate in the chemical ecology of medicinal plants from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has worked as a clinical herbalist, a managing partner of Cash Grocer Natural Foods in Alexandria, Virginia, and an academic researcher. His current research interests include rhizosphere chemical ecology, botanical pharmacognosy, and rational botanical extraction method design, among others. Tims is a member of the International Society of Chemical Ecology, the National Association of Science Writers, and other professional organizations. He has written numerous scientific journal articles and Reports of Analysis for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. He has also given oral presentations on a wide range of topics. Tims is the author of The Chemical Ecology of Goldenseal (VDM Verlag, 2008), the Botanical Adulterants Bulletin on goldenseal for the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, and a book of poems, titled The Acoustic Properties of Ancient People (in press, Finishing Line Press, 2017).
Zhongzhen Zhao, PhD, MH, is the associate dean and chair professor of the Teaching and Research Division at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), where he has worked since 1999. He was a founding member of HKBU’s School of Chinese Medicine and played a key role in establishing the HKBU Bank of China (HK) Chinese Medicines Centre, which houses more than 10,000 Chinese medicinal plant specimens. Zhao received his doctorate from Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. His research interests include pharmacognosy, herbal medicine quality assurance, the history of Chinese medicine, and the authentication of Chinese materia medica, among others. Since 2003, Zhao has served on the scientific and international advisory boards of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards Office, and he is a member of the USP Dietary Supplements-Botanicals Expert Committee. He has also participated in various herbal medicine-related committees of the NIH, the WHO, and other organizations. He has given numerous oral presentations and lectures, and is the lead author of more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.