Mission Statement

The Department of Pharmacognosy carries out research in pharmaceutical sciences focused on natural products from medicinal plants and microorganisms. Major tasks are the discovery of new biologically active compounds from natural sources and the characterization of their molecular mode of action contributing to a better understanding of the interaction of natural products and complex cellular systems. Our aim is pharmaceutical lead and target identification, the quality improvement of herbal medicinal products as well as the sustainable production of natural products by biotechnological approaches.

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The Department of Pharmacognosy mourns the loss of emer. Univ. Prof. Dr. Max Wichtl, who passed away on July 30 at the age of 94. He started his academic career at the University of Vienna, where he served as Professor of Pharmacognosy until 1973.


“Multidisciplinary approach to unravelling secondary metabolite biosynthesis within bacterial microbiome of the bryozoan Cristatella mucedo” has been granted to Thomas Rattei (Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science) and Sergey Zotchev (Department of Pharmacognosy).


An FWF project "Novel bacterial metabolites via synthetic biology" has been granted to Sergey Zotchev, head of the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology group. The project aims at activation of silent genes for the biosynthesis of potentially novel bioactive natural products using synthetic biology approaches.


Elke Heiss successfully passed her qualification period as tenure track and has been promoted associate professor.

We congratulate her on her promotion and wish her a successful continuation of her research.


The diploma thesis „An aqueous NaHCO3-extract of Norway spruce balm – diterpenes, lignans and phenolic acids“ by Elisabeth Eichenauer won the diploma prize in Pharmacognosy at the 26th Scientific Congress of the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society (ÖPhG).


Another FWF project ("Metabolic Immunomodulation" by natural products) has been granted to Elke Heiss of the Molecular Targets group. The project will investigate to what extent and how cellular energy metabolism and/or specific metabolites drive the pro-or anti-inflammatory activities of selected natural products in macrophages.

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