Scientist to Speak on Breakthroughs in Medicine

OGDEN, Utah – The Harold W. Ritchey Lecture Series and Weber State University's College of Science will present "New Medicines from Tropical Island Plants," a lecture by Dr. Paul Alan Cox, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Lind Lecture Hall.

This is a unique opportunity to learn of recent ethnobotanical breakthroughs in medicine. Ethnobotany, the study of the uses of plants by indigenous people, helped the AIDS Research Alliance develop a new anti-viral drug discovered in a plant used by Samoan healers. Cox will also discuss recent work among the Chamorro people of Guam that has led to new insights in treating patients with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's.

In addition to the lecture, the WSU Asian/Pacific Islander Area Council will honor Cox with a presentation in Samoan for his efforts in helping preserve trees, plants and rainforest. Cox, who directs the congressionally chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii and Florida, is a Samoan paramount high chief.

In 1997, Time Magazine honored Cox as one of 11 "Heroes of Medicine" for his ongoing search for new medicines from plants.  That same year he shared the $75,000 Goldman Prize, known as the Nobel Prize of the environment.  Cox, a former Brigham Young University dean, was named one of the top university leaders in America by Choice magazine in 1998. He also serves as the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Biodiversity Center.

The lecture is free to the public. For more information, visit

Dale Ostlie, College of Science dean
Danielle Blaisdell, Office of Media Relations