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D. D. Soejarto, PhDD.D. Soejarto

Professor of Pharmacognosy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

University of Illinois at Chicago
College of Pharmacy
833 S. Wood Street (M/C 781)
Chicago, IL 60612-7231

Office: 318 PHARM
Office Phone: 312-996-8889
Lab Phone: 312-665-7865
Fax Number: 312-996-7107
E-mail address: DDS@uic.edu
Personal Webpage: http://uic-icbg.pharm.uic.edu

Education:

School of Biology, B.Sc., 1958-1962
Harvard University, M.A., 1963-1965
Harvard University, Ph.D., 1965-1969

Tufts University, Latin American Teaching Fellow 1969-1971
Harvard University, Research Associate in Ethnopharmacology 1974-1975

Research Interests:

  1. Floristic explorations (with special reference to the tropical rain forest areas) in search of new biologically active compounds from plants as candidates for drug development.
  2. Floristic and conservation studies of flowering plants of Vietnam (with special reference to Cuc Phuong National Park).
  3. Medical ethnobotany studies among indigenous cultures in select tropical countries.
  4. Botany and ethnobotany of Stevia (Compositae) (with special reference to Stevia rebaudiana Bert.).
  5. Taxonomy and conservation of medicinal plants (including dietary supplement ingredients).
  6. Systematics of Saurauia (Actinidiaceae).

Highlights of current research:

ICBG - International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program
Since 1998, I have been involved in an international collaborative research program called ICBG (International Cooperative Biodiversity Group program) as its Principal Investigator, with member-institutions located at my own institution (UIC), in Vietnam (Institute of Biotechnology/IBT, Institute of Chemistry/ICH, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resourceces/IEBR of the National Center for Science and Technology/NCST, Hanoi; Cuc Phuong National Park/CPNP, Ninh Binh), in Laos (Traditional Medicine Research Center/TMRC, Vientiane), and in UK (Glaxo Wellcome/GW, now Glaxo Smith Kline/GSK). The specific aims of this program are (1) to study plant diversity at Cuc Phuong National Park and medicinal plants of Laos, (2) to search for biologically active molecules from plants of these two countries as potential candidates for drug development (cancer, AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, Alzheimer disease, pain), and (3) to promote economic development among members of communities in the areas where the ICBG research is undertaken, as well as to strengthen the scientific capacity and the infrastructure of the ICBG host institutions. To know more about my work, visit http://uic-icbg.pharm.uic.edu. This ICBG research is supported, in part, by Grant 1-UO1-TW01015 (1998-2003), International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups Program, through funds from NIH, NSF, and Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA.

Soejarto DD., Gyllenhaal,C, Regalado JC, Pezzuto JM, Fong HHS, Tan GT, Hiep NT, Xuan LT, Hung NV, Bich TQ, Loc PK, Vu BM, Southavong BH, Sydara K, Bouamanivong S, O'Neill MJ, Dietzman G. 2002. An international collaborative program to discover new drugs from tropical biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos. Natural Product Sciences 2002;  8:1-15.

Soejarto in the fieldNCI-Sponsored Plant Explorations (Southeast Asia)
For the past 16 years, I have had the privilege of running a plant exploration program under the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The focus of the program is the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia, from Bangladesh east to Papua New Guinea. The objective is to collect plants based on taxonomic diversity approach for screening against cancer (and later, AIDS) at the laboratory of the NCI. The exploration program started in 1986, with collections undertaken heavily in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Operation shifted to Indochina in 1996, to this day, although plant collections in Papua New Guinea continues. A team of many botanists (US-based and those based in the country of collections) have taken part in this program.  This program has been implemented under NCI contracts with the University of Illinois at Chicago and under a Memorandum of Agreement between the NCI and host-country institutions and with permits from respective government authorities. To date, more than 17,000 plant samples of angiosperms have been collected (comprising 3000-3500 species) and delivered to NCI. The success of the program is reflected in the collection of samples of Calophyllum lanigerum (Guttiferae) tree in a tropical rain forest of Sarawak (Malaysia) in 1987, from which the NCI scientists discovered the anti-HIV compound Calanolide A, a coumarin class of compound, currently under clinical trials phase I/II by Sarawak-MediChem Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (http://www.sarawak-medichem.com/). In 1992, a second species, Calophyllum teysmannii, was discovered, yielding Calanolide B, currently under preclinical trials at the same company. This NCI contract is re-competed every 5 years; following a successful re-competition in 2000, this plant exploration program continues to operate through 2006. This program is funded through NCI Contracts NO1-CM-67925 (1986-1991), NO1-CM-17 (1991-1996), NO2-CM-67255 (1996-2001), and NO2-CM-17013 (2001-2006). 

Fuller, RW, Bokesch, HR, Gustafson, KR, McKee, TC, Cardellina II, JH,  McMahon, JB, Cragg, GM, Soejarto, DD, Boyd, MR. HIV-inhibitory coumarins from latex of the tropical rainforest tree Calophyllum teysmannii var. inophylloide. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 1994; 4: 1961-1964.

Soejarto, DD, Gyllenhaal, C, Ashton, PS, Sohmer, SH. Plant explorations in Asia under the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute: 1986-1991. In: Balick, MJ, Elisabetsky, E, Laird, SA, Medicinal Plant Resources of the Tropical Forest, Columbia University Press, New York 1996; pp. 284-310.

Plot-based Drug Discovery Effort
In 1989, I initiated an experiment of collecting plants in the NCI drug discovery program by setting up a 1-hectare plot in a tropical rain forest in Palawan, Philippines. In this process, plant samples were collected from marked and numbered trees of a certain minimum diameter. Every collection was documented by voucher herbarium specimens as basis for taxonomic identification. Two species (of about 150 species of trees) in that plot turned out active in the anti-HIV tests. With other faculty members and with our graduate students in pharmacognosy, we extended this plot design with more plot-based plant drug screening from the forests of Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, USA (tropical Florida) and Vietnam. Two compounds with antiplasmodial activity, methyl gallate and methyld digallate, were isolated from Swintonia foxworthyii (Anacardiaceae) and a new cytotoxic compound, ardisenone, was isolated from Ardisia iwahigensis (Myrsinaceae), both species from plots in Philippine forests; a novel antiplasmodial alkaloid, costaricine, was isolated from Nectandra salicifolia (Lauraceae) from a plot in the forest of Costarica; an antimicrobial biphenyl neolignan was isolated from Caryodaphnopsis tonkinensis (Lauraceae) from a plot in a tropical rain forest of Vietnam. A plot-based drug testing of plants from a 1-hectare plot in a tropical rain forest of the Barro Colorado Island (Panama) found that of 40 selected for testing, 12 showed activity in one or more of the 11 bioassay systems used (anticancer, anti-HIV, antimalarial, and cancer chemopreventive assays). Work is on-going in the isolation on new anticancer agents from plants from plots set down in the hardwood hammocks of southern Florida. Plot-based drug discovery research has been supported through funds from the NCI contract, the NCDDG grant, a NIH antimalarial grant, and a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

Bohlke, M, Guinaudeau, H, Angerhofer, CK, Wongpanich, V,  Soejarto, DD, Farnsworth, NR., Mora, GA, Poveda, LJ. Costaricine, a new antiplasmodial bizbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid from Nectandra salicifolia trunk bark. Journal of Natural Products 1996; 59:576-580.

Horgen, FD, Guinaudeau, H, Pezzuto, JM, Soejarto, DD and Farnsworth, NR. Isolation and structure elucidation of ardisenone: A new, cytotoxic alkenylphenol from Ardisia iwahigensis. Journal of Natural Products 1997; 60:533-535.

Calderon, AI, Angerhofer, CK, Pezzuto, JM, Farnsworth, NR, Foster, RB, Condit, R, Gupta, MP, Soejarto, DD.  Forest plot as a tool to demonstrate the pharmaceutical potential of plants in a tropical forest of Panama. Economic Botany 2000; 54:278-294.

Stevia Research
As part of studies in the search for high-intensity sweetening agents from plants at PCRPS, I traveled to Paraguay and a number of Latin American countries in the early 1980's to carry out field surveys and interviews on sweet-tasting plants, as well as to acquire plant materials of such species for laboratory studies at PCRPS. One particular plant became the focus of my research, namely, Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni. Two papers resulted from this effort. Funding for the field studies in the Stevia research was provided from a grant from the National Institute of Dental Research (A.D. Kinghorn, Principal Investigator).

Soejarto, DD. Ethnobotany of Stevia and Stevia rebaudiana. In: Kinghorn AD, editor. Stevia. The Genus Stevia. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles, Harwood Academic Press, 2002; 40-67.

Soejarto, DD. Botany of Stevia and Stevia rebaudiana. In: AD Kinghorn, ed., Stevia. The Genus Stevia. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles, Harwood Academic Press 2002; pp. 18-38.

Professional Organizations:

International Society of Ethnopharmacology
Society for Economic Botany
International Association for Plant Taxonomy
American Society of Pharmacognosy
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Edited Journals and Honorarium:

Editor, Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Contributing Editor, Pharmaceutical Biology
Editorial Board Member, Actualidades Biologicas
Editorial Board Member, Advances in Natural

Courses:

Problem-solving in Plant Taxonomy
Contemporary Pharmacognosy (Team-taught)
Contemporary Ethnobotany (Team-taught)
Medical Ethnobotany (Team taught)
Microscopy of Creude Drug Products
Correlative Phytochemistry (Team-taught)

Select Publications:

  1. Hiep, NT, Soejarto, DD, Loc, PK.  Tinh da dang cua he thuc vat Viet Nam 10. Nyctocalos Teijsm. & Binn. Nuc nac leo (ho Nuc nac Bignoniaceae), chi moi cho he thuc vat Viet NamTap chi Di truyen hoc va ungdung 1:40-43. [The Diversity of the Flora of Vietnam  10. Nyctocalos Teijsm. & Binn. (Family Bignoniaceae), New genus for flora of Vietnam. Journal of Genetics and Applications 2002; 1: 40-43.]
  2. Zhang, H.J, Tamez, PA, Vu, DH, Tan, GT, Hung, NV, Xuan, LT,  Cuong, NM, Thao, DT, Soejarto, DD, H.H.S., Pezzuto, J.M. Antimalarial compounds from Raphidophora decursiva. Journal of Natural Products 2002; 64:772-777.
  3. Soejarto, DD, Gyllenhaal, C, Regalado, JC, Pezzuto, JM, Fong, HHS, Tan, GT, Hiep, NT, Xuan,LT, Binh, DQ, Hung, NV, Bich, TQ, Thin, NN, Loc, PK, Vu, BM, Southavong, BH, Sydara, K, Bouamanivong, S, O'Neill, MJ, Lewis, J, Xie, X, Dietzman, G. Studies on biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos: The UIC-Based ICBG Program. Pharmaceutical Biology 1999; (Supplement) 37:100-113.
  4. Soejarto DD, Tarzian-Sorensen J,  Gyllenhaal C, Cordell GA, Farnsworth NR, Fong HS, Kinghorn AD, Pezzuto JM.  The evolution of University of Illinois’ policy of benefit-sharing in research on natural products. In: Stepp, J.R., F.S. Wyndham and R.K. Zarger (eds.)  Ethnobiology and Biocultural Diversity: Proceedings of the 7th International Congress of Ethnobiology (Athens, Georgia, October 23-27, 2000, pp. 21-30. Published by University of Georgia Press, 2002; pp. 21-30.
  5. Zhang, H.-J., Ghee, T.T.,  Hoang, V.D., Hung, N.V., Cuong, N.M., Thao, D.T., Soejarto, D.D., Pezzuto, J.M., Fong, H.H.S. Natural anti-HIV agents. Part II.  Litseaverticillol A, a prototypic litseane sesquiterpene from Litsea verticillata. Tetrahedron Letters  2001; 42:8587-8591.
  6. Regalado JC, Soejarto DD, Madulid DA. Homalium palawanense, a new species of Flacourtiaceae from Palawan Island (Philippines). Edinburgh Journal of Botany 2001; 57:317-321.
  7. Hoang, VD, Tan, GT, Zhang, HJ, Tamez, PA, Hung, NV, Cuong, NM, Soejarto, DD, Fong, HHS, Pezzuto, JM. Natural anti-HIV agents. Part I. (+)-demethoxyepiexcelsin and verticillatol from Litsea verticillata.  Phytochemistry 2001; 59:325-329.
  8. Soejarto, DD. Plot as a tool in a biodiversity-based plant selection process in a natural products drug discovery program. Advances in Natural Sciences 2000; 1 (Supplement):9-15.
  9. Hamill, FA, S Apio, NK Mubiru, M Mosango, R Bukenya-Ziraba, OW Maganyi, DD Soejarto. Traditional herbal drugs of Southern Uganda. I. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2000; 70:281-300.

 

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