Researcher Rodriguez to Kick Off Spring 2009 University Lectures

February 9, 2009

Eloy Rodriguez, Researcher of Natural Medicines, Advocate for Underrepresented Populations, to Kick Off Spring 2009 University Lectures

Thursday, February 5, 2009

As a professor and researcher at Cornell University, Eloy Rodriguez is studying and developing novel biomedicines from plants and arthropods to treat major health disparities, such as breast and pancreatic cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

Rodriguez will speak on this novel approach, on connecting research with community involvement and on his focus on public health and medical education in underrepresented communities during the next University Lectures presentation at Syracuse University on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

The presentation, “Darwinian Medicine and the Genesis of Organic Natural Medicines,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The event is free and open to the public; reduced-rate parking is available in the Irving Avenue parking garage.

Rodriguez is the James A. Perkins Endowed Professor and a research scientist at Cornell. His work is an inspiring combination of entrepreneurship, scholarship and activism. Throughout his career, he has focused on the chemical biology, ecology and medicinal chemistry and toxicology of natural small molecules and glycoproteins from plants and arthropods that are important in ecological and biological interactions and human and animal health and medicine. He co-established the discipline of zoopharmacognosy (animal self-medication with plants) and chemo- ornithology (chemical ecology of bird-insect-plant interactions).

In addition to his work on natural medicines, Rodriguez focuses on the importance of culture and indigenous health care systems, and health disparities in poor Appalachian whites, and Chicano/a and Native American populations. His work is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

A vocal advocate for science education, Rodriguez created the Kids Investigating and Discovering Science (KIDS) program for kindergarten through eighth-grade children in underrepresented populations. He has devoted many years to the training of undergraduate and graduate minority students who are now doctors, health specialists, research professors, environmental ecologists and biologists.

Rodriguez received the American Chemical Society Eminent Scientist Award in 2001 and has been named three times to the list of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine. Rodriguez also received the National Science Foundation Educator Achievement Award and NIH Research Career Development Award, and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Sciences (AAAS).

Now in its eighth year, University Lectures maintains its tradition of bringing to the SU campus some of the most influential movers and shapers from around the world. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s trustees, alumni and friends.

Upcoming speakers in the University Lectures’ 2009 spring season include Janine Benyus, biologist and founder of the Biomimicry Institute (March 3 at 4 p.m.); and Robert Ballard, oceanographer, photographer and deep-sea explorer (March 24 at 7:30 p.m.).