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.


Benjamin Kirchweger successfully defended his thesis “Natural products against metabolic diseases: Models for in silico to in vivo discovery”. Well done and congratulations Beni! We wish you all the best for your future career.



A new FWF project has been granted to Lea Ann Dailey (PI, Div. of Pharm. Technology) and Ulrike Grienke (co-PI, Div. of Pharmacognosy). The aim of this project is to investigate natural products active against acute respiratory infections (e.g. SARS-CoV-2) regarding their suitability and efficacy for aerosol administration. Preliminary data indicate that compared to oral application, pulmonary delivery can achieve higher compound concentrations in the lung directly at the site of infection.


A new FWF project has been granted to Verena M. Dirsch, head of the Molecular targets lab. This project aims to dissect the molecular mechanism of a natural product analog identified as a specific ligand of the nuclear receptor RXR (retinoid X receptor) with unique functional in vitro activities. We expect from the collected data a better understanding of the role and regulation of RXR in cellular processes and an answer to the question whether this compound may be further developed.


Zur Anerkennung von hervorragenden Leistungen auf dem Gebiet der Wissenschaft vergibt die Vorarlberger Landesregierung jährlich den „Wissenschaftspreis des Landes Vorarlberg". Coronabedingt erfolgte die feierliche Verleihung der Wissenschaftspreise 2020 und 2021 gemeinsam nun am 8.11.2021 in Bregenz. Mit dem Wissenschaftspreis 2020 wurde die Pharmazeutin Judith M. Rollinger vom Land Vorarlberg gewürdigt. Wir gratulieren herzlich!


With her outstanding contributions on natural product research and her dedication in academic teaching Ulrike Grienke sucessfully completed her habilitation with a colloquium on October 22, 2021, where she discussed her work entitled 'Bioactive Compounds from Natural Sources: Challenges and Modern Concepts' (more). Many congrats, Ulli!


Pharma and Food - Lecture Series

07.10.2021 - 20.01.2022