Annelise Lobstein, PharmD, PhD, a highly respected professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Strasbourg, died in January 2018 after a lengthy illness that she fought with strength, constant positivity, and full dedication to her team and loved ones.
Lobstein dedicated her career to studying and understanding the impacts of plants and traditional herbal medicines on human health, with a particular and internationally renowned expertise in aromatherapy. In 1979, she obtained her PharmD, followed by her first doctoral degree in 1983 with a dissertation on the “Analytical Studies of Terpenes from Ginkgo biloba L.” She earned her second State doctorate (“habilitation”) after completing her work on the phytochemical and pharmacological studies of “Amentoflavone from Viburnum species (Caprifoliaceae).” With her PharmD and two doctoral degrees, which reflected her passion and scientific perseverance, Lobstein joined the Faculty of Pharmacy as a research assistant professor at the University of Strasbourg, and then became a full professor of pharmacognosy in 2007 within the Laboratory of Therapeutic Innovation (“Laboratoire d’Innovation Thérapeutique”).
Lobstein directed the pharmacognosy and bioactive natural compounds team (Pharmacognosie et Molécules Naturelles Bioactives), supervising and mentoring international scientists, postdoctoral students, and undergraduate students with great listening and pedagogical skills and creating a highly dynamic and friendly research environment. She inspired her students not only through her scientific knowledge, rigor, and enthusiasm but also through her kindness and availability. Her office, in which she would welcome visitors with her encouraging smile, was a heaven, always decorated with luxurious plants and items from different seasons. It was a place where one felt the freedom to exchange scientific ideas. She loved sharing her passion for herbal medicine and pharmacognosy with her fundamental motto: “You tell me, I forget. You teach me, I remember. You involve me, I learn.”
Besides her teaching responsibilities at the University of Strasbourg, Lobstein was in charge of three Diplôme Universitaire (DU) programs (continuous training for pharmacists and health professionals) in homeopathy and aromatherapy. Her lectures were appreciated for their strong attention to detail. All those who had the chance to attend her DU course (which had a waiting list every year) were impressed by the high quality of her teaching and her constant attention to others. Lobstein also taught pharmacognosy in Mahajanga, Madagascar, and Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Lobstein published more than 100 research articles based on the work of her team or through her multiple international collaborations. She was an invited speaker at diverse international scientific meetings and shared her work with passion, notably in aromatherapy, one of her favorite fields of expertise. Additionally, she filed six patents in collaboration with several cosmetic companies, including Phytodia, which she co-founded in 2006. In fact, she has helped consolidate multiple university-industry partnerships (e.g., with the companies LVMH Recherche-Guerlain, Estée Lauder, SEPPIC-BiotechMarine, Boiron, and Phytodia), which provided financial support for several PhD students and research associates. Her research team chemically characterized and biologically evaluated African traditional herbs, orchid (Orchidaceae) species from tropical regions, various algae, and halophytes to understand not only their dermo-cosmetic properties, but also their mechanisms of action as potential anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-diabetic agents. Lobstein constantly emphasized the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in her second fundamental motto based on an African proverb: “Alone, we run fast; together, we go further.”
Despite her illness, her involvement as manager of the pharmacognosy laboratory and her commitment to the well-being of her team never failed. Her colleagues and friends want to acknowledge her incredible strength through the adversity of illness, caring for others and motivating her team with enthusiasm. At the time of her death, Annelise Lobstein was affiliated with the UMR 7178 research unit at the Hubert Curien Multidisciplinary Institute (Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien) and the Analytical Chemistry of Bioactive Molecules and Pharmacognosy (CAMBAP) team of the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, in collaboration with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
We, as friends, colleagues, and former students, miss her terribly. We will keep in our minds the image of a strong, scientific woman, always positive and dedicated. Annelise Lobstein inspired us in so many ways.
—Charlotte Simmler, Mélanie Bourjot, Aurélie Urbain, Laurence Gondet, Veronika Vallion, Christian D. Muller, Gisèle Archipoff, Bruno Didier, Carole Minker, Amélie Leick, Saliou Ngom, Olivier Placide Noté, Frédéric Bonté