Mission Statement

The Division 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.


A new FWF project has been granted to Sergey Zotchev, head of the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology lab. This project aims to decipher the biosynthesis of meroterpenoids, compounds with a range of biological activities (e.g. anti-bacterial and cytotoxic). The results of this project may pave the way for producing novel meroterpenoids with improved drug-like properties by means of biosynthetic engineering.

13.07.2023 17:10

"Medizin aus der Natur": On July 12th, Verena Dirsch gave a lecture for children between seven and twelve years old. Exciting questions about how nature can help us to find new drugs have been discussed (Kann uns die Natur helfen, neue Medikamente zu finden?).


In the course of this year's Phytotherapy Congress on June 16th, 2023, Thomas Göls received the "Nachwuchspreis der Gesellschaft für Phytotherapie" for his dissertation "Spruce balsam (Picea abies) as a wound healing agent - isolation, identification and analysis of major constituents and their pro-migratory effect on keratinocytes", and Martina Redl received the 2nd poster prize for her poster "Implementierung von semiautomatischen Messgeräten zur Austestung von Naturstoffen in C. elegans". Congratulations!


The Division of Pharmacognosy delegates from Vienna at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research (GA) in Dublin/Ireland (July 2nd - 5th, 2023).


In the FWF project “StrepStress”, Zotchev’s group has now identified three genes that could revolutionize the discovery and production of antibiotics. For this purpose, the researchers used genetic engineering to imitate damaging environmental influences and in this way bred highly productive bacteria.


Hybrid-Fortbildungsveranstaltung am 15. April 2023 um 09:00 Uhr, organisiert von ÖGPHYT und Fa. Schwabe. Es erwarten Sie vier spannende Vorträge, unter anderem von Sabine Glasl-Tazreiter und Ulrike Kastner.