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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 763-774

Modern pharmacognosy: Connecting biology and chemistry

Lars Bohlin, Ulf Göransson and Anders Backlund

Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Box 574, S-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden

In many countries today, the number of students selecting chemistry for higher studies is decreasing. At the same time, interest in the environmental aspects of chemistry, green chemistry, and sustainable use of natural products is increasing among the young generation of students. By modernizing and renewing a venerable proven science, pharmacognosy would have a strategic position to connect biology and chemistry. This multidisciplinary subject is important for discovery of novel and unique molecules with drug potential, and for revealing unknown targets, by studying evolutionary structure-activity optimization in nature. In this paper, the overall aim and strategies of our research are presented and exemplified by three different research projects.
Natural products are involved in scientific issues important for a sustainable society, and a multidisciplinary subject such as pharmacognosy can, therefore, be useful in increasing future interest in both chemistry and biology.