With a scientific background as a molecular ecosystem scientist (B.Sc. University of Goettingen) and my experience with medicinal plants as a horticulturalist (M.Sc. Humboldt University, Berlin in cooperation with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna), I am well prepared to contribute to an interdisciplinary approach for the study and authentication of herbal medicines. At the School of Pharmacy (SoP) and the Natural History Museum (NHM), University of Oslo, I study and develop novel authentication methods in particular for Chinese medicinal plants and herbal products and shed light on modern aspects of traditional medicines. I am supervised by Helle Wangensteen, Hugo de Boer, and Kristin Odlo Høye from the Norwegian Medicine Agency. My training partner is Caroline Howard, who is based at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK.
Prior to my PhD, I worked with molecular and chemical-analytical methods for plants, co-established an innovative cultivation method for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs), conducted phyto-sourcing, primary processing, and conservation activities for MAPs in consideration of Good Agricultural Collection Practice (GACP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and practiced integrated pest management. I collected my subsequent work experiences especially at the Hellenic Agricultural Organization (HAO Dimiter), Crete, at SupAgro, Montpellier and at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.
I am very interested in understanding the complexity of the specific characteristics of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs), stating that a specific plant species may exist in 50 sub-species, seasonal variations and microclimatic changes affect the concentration of specific active substances, and the bioactive compounds might be present only in a certain part of the plant. It is a challenging and essential study field, which is linked to a great potential for global health on one hand, but high risks due to counterfeits, misidentification and misuse of plants on the other hand. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) more than a thousand herbs and their usages are described and we find TCM herbal products all over the world. However, we lack a uniform way to regulate the global and complex market of TCMs and we face severe challenges to assure high quality and safe herbal products. In my work I apply shotgun sequencing, DNA metabarcoding and chromatographic, NMR-based chemical approaches to ensure the safety and quality of traditional Chinese herbal products on the European market.