Department of Natural Products

Natural product research is advancing even though it is difficult to maintain long-term expensive R D programs, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, but this will survive and develop by advance researches in Universities in active collaboration and partnership with industries. There are great expectations, on both the pharmaceutical industry and to some extent, academic institutes to identify the elusive, ‘magic bullet’, however it is likely that natural drugs may evolve from single-molecule NPs to well-defined enriched bioactive extracts. As technologies for NPs advances, analyses of limited amounts of compounds present in extracts for biological screening will be possible due to increases in both the sensitivity and dynamic linear range of analytical platforms. Advances in ultra-sensitive analytics for the rapid identification of novel bioactive NPs and sophisticated NMR structure prediction software will continue to improve the efficiency of the NP discovery process . Natural product studies have an image of sophisticated and often hyphenated techniques that often fails when dealing with complex mixtures. This can be overcome by emerging fields such as metabolomics which deals with mixtures and uses the power of multivariate statistics to identify potential biomarkers (e.g. new or a unique class of natural products) . Data mining approaches to identify bioactive NPs in mixtures, from a library of terrestrial and marine organisms are currently being developed and will be essential for the development of effective multipleagent drugs from traditional medicines . Another aspect will be the assessment of the variation of the metabolome of body fluids in the framework of clinical trials, involving complex phytopharmaceutical or herbal preparations to completely assess the efficacy of such therapies though a systems Phytochem Rev 123 biology approach. Herbal phytopharmaceuticals represent a significant share of the total world pharmaceutical market The current increase may be due to the interest of phytopharmaceuticals in psychosomatic, metabolic and minor disorders.

This Department shall incorporate a number of related disciplines orientated to the isolation, identification, characterisation, manipulation and application of compounds for medicinal use. It will form the foundation of medicinal discovery from herbs, shrubs and medicinal plants found in Uttarakhand and shall pave the way for drug candidates to be developed into medicines for the market; from the field to the bedside.

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