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Phytochemicals, food and health

Ilya Raskin


Dr. Ilya Raskin

April 19 at 12:20pm in the Fralin Auditorium, Fralin Hall room 102

Hosted by Dr. D. Kingston


Ilya Raskin, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience in academic research in plant biology, phytochemistry and pharmacology and 5 years of experience in industrial research in plant biotechnology at DuPont Co. Dr. Raskin received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1984 and joined the faculty of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1989 where he currently works as a Distinguished Professor and President of the Global Institute for Bio-Exploration (GIBEX). Dr. Raskin is also a member of the NIH Center for Botanicals and Metabolic Syndrome and a founder of three biotechnology spun-off from Rutgers University.

Dr. Raskin earned an international reputation through his work on plant growth regulation, plant immunity to diseases, phytoremediation, and, in the last two decades, for his research in plant-derived functional foods, medicines and cosmetics. He is also actively involved in international bioexploration and conservation, leading programs in Africa, South America and Central Asia. Dr. Raskin’s research is featured in over 200 scientific publications and in numerous popular press articles. He has been listed as one of 108 most cited researchers in Plant and Animal Science. His most cited scientific publications include four cover articles in Science and Nature. Dr. Raskin was awarded 22 patents covering the discoveries made in his laboratory.

Dr. Raskin has received a number of prestigious awards, including the Albert Shull Award for outstanding contributions to plant biology and the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for revolutionary product innovation and scientific breakthrough. 

Pharmacologically active phytochemicals (botanical therapeutics or botanicals) have been used historically to treat and prevent diseases. Today, botanicals are sold as foods, dietary supplements, cosmetic ingredients or drugs containing a single plant-derived bioactive or mixtures of bioactives. Conventional approaches to botanical therapeutics discovery from plants, based on ethical bioprospecting, high throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry and computational drug design have limitations that have hindered research. In addition, biopiracy concerns, extract standardization, batch-to-batch consistency, proper botanical vouchering, and difficulties with the identification of actives have curtailed the development and validation of botanical therapeutics. Fortunately, novel enabling technologies led to the development of a new generation of more efficient and less controversial botanicals. In addition, training scientists and students from the developing countries in cost-effective and field-deployable technologies for characterizing biologically active phytochemicals brings new opportunities to botanicals discovery process. The past, present, and future of botanical research will be discussed as well as the following specific examples:

•           Polyphenol-protein complex with prebiotic and gut-health benefits

•           Isothiocyanate-enriched extract from Moringa oleifera with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties

 •          Beneficial polyphenol-enriched lettuce varieties 


Sauer S, Plauth A. Health-beneficial nutraceuticals—myth or reality?. Applied microbiology and biotechnology. 2017 Feb 1;101(3):951-61.

Newman DJ, Cragg GM. Natural products as sources of new drugs from 1981 to 2014. Journal of natural products. 2016 Feb 7;79(3):629-61.

Raskin I, Ripoll C. Can an apple a day keep the doctor away?. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2004 Oct 1;10(27):3419-29.



Ethnobotany – A phytochemical perspective. 2017. Book Editor(s): B. M. Schmidt  D. M. Klaser Cheng. Wiley Blackwell. 


This seminar will be livestreamed and recorded on the Fralin YouTube channel.