By AFRO Staff

This award Is a first for Morgan State University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). 

Although not widely known, the vast majority of people in the United States use botanical products on a regular basis, either in dietary supplements or as active ingredients of botanical drugs. The chemical components and biological nature of botanical products are often very complex, and the assurance of consistent quality can be challenging for drug developers.Jiangnan Peng, Ph.D., assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry, and the project’s co-principal investigator. (Courtesy of Morgan State University)

A recent research award of $914,600 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Pharmaceutical Quality (OPQ) has put Morgan State University in a prime position to explore the approaches to address these concerns. The two-year research contract will fund the development of a quality control platform by faculty, students and postdoctoral researchers in MSU’s School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS), to help increase the safety and quality of botanical products by using high-tech processes. The ultimate goal is to optimize the quality of the botanical drug products and dietary supplements available to American consumers.      

The FDA research award is the first of its type from the OPQ to a Historically Black College or University and the first award from any source to Morgan for research in this area. The research project and its funding will also form the foundation of a Medicinal Plant Science degree program being developed by the SCMNS, said Hongtao Yu, Ph.D., the dean of the school and co-principal investigator for the OPQ research project at Morgan.