Saturday, May 21, 2022

UM Natural Products Training Center: Exposure and Economic Impact Expected

Attendees of the dedication of Natural Products Training Center toured the new facility within Thad Cochran Research Center (West Wing).
Attendees of the dedication of Natural Products Training Center toured the new facility within Thad Cochran Research Center (West Wing).

The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s National Center for Natural Products Research recently hosted a dedication for its new Natural Products Training Center.

The Natural Products Training Center, supported by the Waters Corporation, promotes scientific standards by offering training courses for technical professionals, scientists as well as regulatory, quality control and quality assurance personnel who are involved with dietary supplementals and the manufacturing of natural products. The Waters Corporation provided the laboratory analytical instrumentation and software for data evaluation and management.

Dr. Ikhlas Khan (pictured) was instrumental with Dr. Larry Walker in bringing Natural Products Training Center to UM.
Dr. Ikhlas Khan (pictured) was instrumental with Dr. Larry Walker in bringing Natural Products Training Center to UM.

Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Dr. David Allen said, “We are so excited about our partnership with Waters, and so thankful for their support of this venture. With the NCNPR’s preeminent expertise in natural products, and Waters’ advanced instrumentation, the Natural Products Training Laboratory will provide training to professionals around the globe. The School of Pharmacy is committed to doing whatever we can to make this training lab successful. It’s truly a wonderful opportunity.”

The assistant director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Don Stanford, said “In support of our research on the medicinal properties of plants the School of Pharmacy has developed a tremendous wealth of botanical resources. The new Natural Products Training Center is a way for us to share those resources to promote the benefits of plant-based therapies.”

The training center came to be due to hard work from the director of NCNPR, Dr. Larry Walker, and associate director of NCNPR, Dr. Ikhlas Khan.

As the NCNPR director for 15 years, Dr. Walker said the idea to have the training center grew out of years’ worth of discussions fostered by Dr. Ikhlas Khan with companies who make equipment for drug analysis.

Attendees were able to view demonstrations of some of the newest technology.
Attendees were able to view demonstrations of some of the newest technology.

He said, “It became clear that there is a need for a working laboratory environment where scientists and technical personnel could learn to analyze botanical products. This expertise could then be used to ensure the quality of a company’s products, or for scientists to do their own research on botanicals, or for regulators from other countries to develop new policies. Waters Corporation agreed to work with the University of Mississippi by providing the program with instrumentation, software and support.”

Dr. Khan agreed with Dr. Walker on the need for a working laboratory environment. He said, “Being the FDA Center of Excellence on Botanicals, we developed scientific tools to assess the safety and quality of dietary supplement. To help in utilizing these tools in industry setup, training is needed and this center will fill the gap and provide technical knowledge on how to implement these tools in their labs.”

Dr. Khan said bringing the training center to the University of Mississippi “required a lot of patience and persistence” but he is grateful to have support from UM administration on all levels. Dr. Walker noted that they have been privileged to work with a number of great natural products scientists at UM over the years, including Dr. Alice Clark who is the vice chancellor for university relations, who have helped develop and execute a vision for University of Mississippi as a leader in the study of natural products world-wide.

“(The training center) can bring recognition to our program at NCNPR and School of Pharmacy and make the University of Mississippi a global leader in science of botanical and herbal medicines,” Dr. Khan said. “It will also bring businesses to Oxford.”

Examples of natural products were displayed during the tours of the training center.
Examples of natural products were displayed during the tours of the training center.

Dr. Walker agreed with Dr. Khan on the new training center’s influence on the University of Mississippi as well as Oxford, Mississippi.

“We will be able to access new equipment, utilize it, develop methods and expand our cutting-edge approaches in the study of botanicals,” Dr. Walker said, “We will also be a focal point for many companies or organizations in United States and abroad who can benefit from our expertise, facilities and instrumentation.”

The laboratory scientists from industry, government and academia will learn the fundamental theory and techniques along with hands-on training with real analytical problems as they learn to develop their own methods, analysis and presentation of data as well as problem-solving common risks and challenges.

To learn more about the Natural Products Training Center, visit http://umnptc.org.


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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