Dr. Quave

Dr. Cassandra Quave in her laboratory at Emory University.

Access Dr. Quave’s Curriculum Vitae here.

Dr. Cassandra L. Quave is a medical ethnobotanist whose work is focused on the documentation and analysis of botanical remedies used in the treatment of infectious disease. Her expertise and interests include the traditional medical practices of the Mediterranean, and the botanical sources of anti-infectives and natural products for skin care. Dr. Quave is author of THE PLANT HUNTER: A SCIENTIST’S QUEST FOR NATURE’S NEXT MEDICINES,  coming in October 2021 with Viking Press. More information on her book and speaking tour can be found on her Author Website.

Dr. Quave holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor of Dermatology in the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Center for the Study of Human Health, where she leads drug discovery research initiatives and teaches courses on medicinal plants, food and health. Dr. Quave also serves as Director/Curator of the Emory University Herbarium, and is associated faculty with the Departments of Biology, Environmental Sciences and Anthropology at Emory. She is a member of the Emory University Antibiotic Resistance Center and the Winship Cancer Center Discovery and Development Therapeutics Program. She also serves on the training faculty for the Antibiotic Resistance and Therapeutic Discovery Training Program, the Molecular and Systems Pharmacology Graduate Program and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Graduate Program at Emory. Her work has been featured in a number of international outlets including the New York Times Magazine.

To date, she has published more than 100 scientific works, including two edited books and six patents.  Dr. Quave was recognized in the Emory University Alumni “40 Under Forty” recognition program in 2017, she is the recipient of the Phytoneering Award from Bionorica SE (2014), and Harvard Business School New Venture competition DC and NY winner, and global finalist (2011). Dr. Quave is a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award and Charles Heiser, Jr. Mentor Award. She is the creator and host of Foodie Pharmacology, a podcast dedicated to exploring the links between food and medicine.

Dr. Quave’s research has been the subject of feature profiles in the New York Times Magazine, BBC Focus, Brigitte Magazin, National Geographic Magazine, NPR and the National Geographic Channel. She also regularly serves on grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and is a Past President of the Society for Economic Botany.

In addition to her academic positions, Dr. Quave provides consulting services on botanicals for personal care, skin health and cosmetics as an independent consultant through CLQ Botanicals, LLC. Quave is also the co-founder and CEO/CSO of PhytoTEK LLC, a start-up biotech company dedicated to R&D and eventual commercialization of novel anti-infective technologies based on her US-issued patent for a botanical biofilm inhibitor.



Dr. Quave received her B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University in 2000. After taking a few years off from school to travel and begin field research in Italy, she returned to academia to earn her PhD in Biology (with a focus on ethnobotany and natural products research) at Florida International University’s Center for Ethnobiology and Natural Products from 2003-2008 with Dr. Bradley C. Bennett. She received training as a post-doctoral fellow in microbial pathogenesis at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 2009-2011 with Dr. Mark S. Smeltzer. She completed a second post-doctoral fellowship from 2011-2012 with Dr. Michelle Lampl in the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University.


Photo: Dr. Quave in the mountains of NE Albania during a 2012 field study.

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  1. I listened to you today when you were on, on point. I applaud you most sincerely for the work you are undertaking. So much knowledge of plant based therapy has been lost through the ages. In the truest sense, to me, we have turned away from traditional medications in favor of big pharma. I do not expect you to find cures for all the major ailments that beset us. Still I believe many of the treatments you will rediscover will be of benefit to mankind. Along the way you may discover a plant based therapy that will become a “super drug”. If that is a part of your dream, go for it.

  2. Heard the interview on NPR, fascinating stuff!! I hoped this kind of in depth research was seriously being done, and am relieved to know you and your team are on the job!! Thank You!!!

  3. Heard you on NPR today. Im greatful for your public discussion. Was frustrated however on the absence of a road map for collating and focusing ethnobotanical knowledge and streamlining the discovery process. The current research machinations are too slow to address the problems we face. We need a new model. We need leadership in this area and if govt isn’t going to do it, then notable figures like yourself need to articulate a plan.

    I can’t help but feel that Elon musk or other visionaries in the tech field would be approaching this issue from a more macro perspective and articulating bold goals. Please look to this leadership model and let the hoards follow, doing the work that needs doing. Yes they have financial backing, but first came the vision.

  4. Dear Dr. Quave, I am watching Origins right now and I agree that plant based medicines are important and effective. I have been given a patent on a blend of essential oils that was effective in down modulating TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta and MMP-9 in the animal model of rheumatoid arthritis. My NIH-NCCAM funding ended before I could do human clinical trials or find out what else the formula does. I had hoped that other scientists would read my research and repeat my study or investigate my formula to learn more about its healing properties. The opioid addiction problem that is associates with pharmaceutical treatment of chronic pain justifies consideration of products like mine. More research needs to be done. I need help to develop a strategy to get FDA approval for my ointment. I would like to send you a sample and to know if I might be able to speak with you.

  5. Dear Dr. Quave,
    I eagerly read the article in National Geographic about your groundbreaking work with extracts from the Brazilian Pepper tree and skin ailments. I am writing to strongly urge you to consider the huge community of DSAP sufferers for whom no treatment has ever been devised. Medical literature says it is a “rare condition” but that is just not true. (My father, sister and I have it..my brother does not). In the 10 years since it has become evident on myself, I continuously scan others’ skin and see it extremely frequently in the general population. I am sure the funds you would would receive in renumeration from this huge community of DSAP skin affectee’s would surely fund other needed skin disorders.
    Thank you,
    Jan Livingston
    P.S. I would love to be in a medical trial!

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