RGU professor takes medicine back to the future

A north-east health expert will examine whether natural products can play a prominent role in the prevention and treatment of the world’s biggest diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, at an event next week.

Cherry WainwrightThe event is the latest professorial lecture to be announced by Robert Gordon University (RGU) where a number of experts discuss topical research issues.

Professor Cherry Wainwright, Director of the Institute for Health and Wellbeing Research (IHWR) at RGU, will deliver a public lecture on Wednesday, March 5, at the university’s new Riverside East Building at Garthdee.

Professor Wainwright’s role at RGU is to oversee the development and implementation of IHWR research knowledge exchange strategy and to ensure that an excellent academic environment is available to RGU’s graduates.

Her research focuses largely on understanding how normal physiological mechanisms are altered in cardiovascular pathology, with the aim of identifying novel ‘druggable’ targets for chemicals derived from natural sources that can be used in the treatment and prevention of heart disease.

Professor Wainwright will discuss how the earth’s natural resources were used in the past to treat a plethora of diseases that plagued people across the world for centuries. She will then demonstrate how we may be coming back full circle to re-visit the use of these, and more recently discovered natural chemicals, to provide new solutions to illnesses facing society today.

Professor Wainwright, who studied at the universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde, says: “With advanced methods for isolation, characterisation and screening of the wealth of previously un-identified chemicals present in our terrestrial and marine plants, there is significant and renewed interest in seeking cures from nature.”

Professor Wainwright will also highlight the obstacles of discovering new drugs and treatments for diseases yet to be cured.

“Drug discovery in the 21st century is now challenged with of a lack of chemical leads and escalating costs of the high-tech approach, while some major health challenges, such as heart disease and cancer, remain to be conquered.”

The lecture, which is entitled ‘Medicines from Natural Products – Going Back to the Future?’ will commence at 6pm. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers which will be followed by light refreshments.

To register your attendance, please call Anna Duthie on 01224 262210 or email

Release by
Anna Duthie
Communications Officer