A group of science-minded juniors and seniors spent Wednesday morning visiting the research lab of Dr. Shiyou Li, Director of the National Center for Pharmaceutical Crops, a collaborative effort with the SFA Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. The students learned about Dr. Li’s three decades of research at SFA, where he and his research team have studied the chemical compounds of more than 1,300 species of native and invasive plants and have isolated more than 2,000 compounds, 186 which had never been discovered prior to their research.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Li has not only discovered an alternative source for the primary chemical compound found in some chemotheraphy drugs, but he has also discovered a “cheaper” source of shikimic acid, a key chemical used in the production of Tamiflu (a common medicine prescribed by doctors for patients battling the flu). Additionally, Dr. Li might be best recognized for his work over the past two decades with endocides and their role in managing invasive insect and plant species, most notably giant salvinia, the pesty plant that’s taken over many local lakes, ponds and creeks.
Thank you, Dr. Li, for spending time with our students and for showing them a glimpse of the exciting work you’ve been doing.