Main Research Interests    

The department of Pharmacognosy at the Institute of Pharmacy at the University of Innsbruck has four main research interests. They are (a) the isolation and structural elucidation of secondary metabolites from higher plants with anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-microbial activity, (b) chemosystematic investigations mainly focusing on the tribe Lactuceae, (c) analysis and quality assessment of (medicinal) plants and phyto-pharmaceuticals, as well as (d) the discovery of pharmacologically active natural products using computational methods (pharmacophore modeling, virtual screening, docking, neural networks).

The search for novel natural products, which could be used as potential drugs or serve as lead compounds is performed by using modern phytochemical and analytical techniques (gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, capillary electrochromatography, mass spectrometry). This research is performed with special focus on European and Asian medicinal plants, or plants of the alpine region. Chemosystematic studies performed at the department aim to reveal relations between different plant taxa (or confirm them) by comparative phytochemical and analytical approaches.

Analytical tasks (standardization, method development, validation and quality assessment of plant-extracts), for which modern analytical instrumentation (e.g. LC-MS or CE-MS) is available in house, are often performed in collaboration with domestic and international companies. These collaborations, besides basic research, allow very practice- and application-oriented scientific investigations. For a target oriented search for active compounds several test models are established at the department. Computer aided pharmakophor-models utilize structural properties to detect pharmacologically active natural products (e.g. with acetylcholinesterase inhibiting activity). Enzyme assays (acetylcholinesterase, cytochromes), on the other hand, are employed for the screening of plant extracts and pure compounds.

This combination of several different approaches (analytical, chemosystematics, and pharmacology, besides “classical” phytochemistry) offers means for an extensive and efficient research on pharmacognostic issues. A number of publications in internationally renowned journals, as well as projects and cooperations indicate the significance and quality of the conducted research and underline the experience and supra-regional importance of the department of Pharmacognosy in the field of natural products research. 


back top

Nach oben scrollen