End of an Era of Natural Drug Discovery Addressed in Chemistry Lecture at Trent University


Inaugural Stairs Lecture to be delivered by Doctor John C. Vederas, Thursday, October 21

Thursday, October 14, 2010, Peterborough

 “Drugs from Bugs and Other Natural Sources: An Endless Frontier or is the Bloom off the Rose?” is the title of a talk to be given by Dr. John C. Vederas for the inaugural Stairs Lecture in chemistry at Trent University on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Champlain College Lecture Hall, followed by a reception.

Two centuries ago, Friedrich Sertürner, a pharmacist’s apprentice, isolated the first pharmacologically-active, pure compound from a plant: morphine from opium produced by cut seed pods of a poppy. This began the era of discovery wherein drugs from natural sources of plants could be studied. The discovery of penicillin in 1928 then prompted massive screening of microorganisms for antibiotics.

Today it is difficult to obtain support for pharmaceutical discovery efforts. Is the era of discovery of new drugs from natural sources ending? In his lecture, Professor Vederas examines some of the current challenges of discovering drugs from natural sources while describing some exciting possibilities offered by emerging discoveries and new technologies.

Prof. John C. Vederas is the Canada research chair in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Alberta. He conducts groundbreaking research on the formation of the antimicrobial peptides that preserve food and which have great potential as antibiotics. Prof. Vederas and his colleagues were the first to purify and characterize a natural non-toxic protein that could prevent growth of harmful bacteria on food and he has made fundamental discoveries about the biochemical pathways that create a large variety of medicinal agents, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs and antibiotics. Dr. Vederas has won many prestigious awards, including an Alberta Centennial Medal, and is the author of over 235 researchpublications, four books and 13 patents.

The Stairs Lecture in Chemistry, the first endowed lecture series in Chemistry at Trent University, was created by Trent Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Stairs and his wife, Sibyl. The lecture series enables Trent to invite a distinguished scientist to speak on his or her research and to showcase the field of Chemistry.

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

- 30 -

For more information, please contact: David Ellis, Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry Trent University, Telephone: (705) 748 1011 Ext. 7898 or