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NCCIH Research Blog

Strategizing Training and Career Opportunities in Whole Person Natural Products Research

September 20, 2023

Dr. Patrick Still

Patrick Still, Ph.D.

Program Director

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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Natural products research is a multidisciplinary field investigating the mechanistic and clinically therapeutic uses of secondary metabolites from diverse organisms. Graduate training usually focuses on a specific skill set such as a chemical synthesis, organic structure analysis, or using a specific animal model, which can create knowledge gaps in the biological applications of natural products. These gaps in training can impede a research career in natural products research, as these metabolites often affect multiple physiological systems. We encourage National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applicants to strategize training in natural products research by incorporating broad knowledge across biological systems that includes a mentorship team with diverse translational skill sets, to align with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Strategic Plan 2021-2025. Whole person natural products research prioritizes, for example, the connections and interactions of multiple systems, innovative mechanisms or multisystem effects that are modulated by a natural product, and targeted and untargeted bioinformatic approaches. You can find more details about NCCIH Training and Career Development Opportunities on the NCCIH website.

I want to thank the organizers of this year’s American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) Meeting in Rockville, Maryland on July 22 to 26, 2023. I was pleased to share NCCIH career development opportunities in whole person natural products research, as part of a panel on professional development for ASP Summer Research Fellowship students. 

I encourage you to stay up to date on new developments at NCCIH. To learn about workshops, funding opportunities, and more, you can subscribe to receive the NCCIH Update e-newsletter and other email communication from the Center.

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