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Science AMA Series: I’m Cassandra Quave, a medical ethnobotanist. I study the botanical ingredients used in traditional medicines for infectious disease to discover new solutions for antibiotic resistance. AMA!
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Hi, Reddit! Thanks to you all for these insightful questions! I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to discuss our research with so many interested people. I want to thank my lab team (especially Akram Salam, Dr. James Lyles and Dr. Angelle Bullard-Roberts) and the amazing Carol Clark at Emory Communications for their help during this event! Also - thanks to one of my favorite natural products (caffeine) for helping us power through the Reddit AMA marathon! I’m sorry if we did not have time to answer your question but hopefully you can find further information in some of the links posted during the AMA. In addition, please follow the Quave Research Group on Twitter https://twitter.com/QuaveEthnobot, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/QuaveMedicineWoman, Instagram http://instagram.com/quaveethnobot/, and our research group webpage http://etnobotanica.us/. I’m Cassandra Quave, a medical ethnobotanist at Emory University’s Center for Human Health and Department of Dermatology in the School of Medicine. Ethnobotany is the study of human interactions with plants — especially in traditional societies that incorporate wild plants into their daily lives. My lab is focused on studying the botanical ingredients used in traditional medicines for infectious disease to discover new solutions for one of the world’s most pressing medical issues: Antibiotic resistance. Traditional healers in the Amazon, for example, have used the Brazilian peppertree for hundreds of years to treat infections of the skin and soft tissues. We recently discovered that the red berries of this plant — an invasive, noxious weed common in Florida —contain a medicinal mechanism with the power to disarm dangerous antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria known as MRSA. This mechanism works by simply disrupting the ability of MRSA to produce toxins, so the body’s natural immune system can work to better clear the infection. You can read more about this discovery here: http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2017/02/brazilian-peppertree-packs-power-to.html And here is a link to my web site: http://etnobotanica.us/ I’ll be back at 1pm EST to answer your questions. Ask me anything!