The Research

As a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, our mission is to discover new cures from plants. With a state-of-the art laboratory in Jackson, we have assembled a team of researchers who are working tirelessly to find and fight causes of disease and to search for new cures from plants.

Current projects of the Institute include:

  • Development of L-serine as a possible new drug for ALS; » More
  • Development of Prostratin as a new drug for HIV/AIDS; » More 
  • Studying cyanobacterial toxins throughout the world. » More

Our studies of remote Pacific island villages with high incidence of ALS led to reconsideration of BMAA—a toxic amino acid—as a possible trigger for certain neurodegenerative illnesses in genetically vulnerable individuals. We and our collaborators have found that BMAA is produced by cyanobacteria which occur throughout the world.

We have developed techniques to detect BMAA at extremely low concentrations in water supplies and human tissues.  Our new research demonstrates that BMAA causes brain tangles and β-amyloid deposits in the brain, two features that are diagnostic of Alzheimer’s disease and present in several other neurodegenerative diseases.  Our focus, thus far, has been on sporadic ALS and if BMAA also serves as an environmental trigger for ALS, our research will help identify those individuals who are vulnerable to the cyanobacterial toxin.  We also are exploring new approaches to ALS therapy based on BMAA research.

The Institute for Ethnomedicine's International Research Consortium, October, 2012

The Institute for Ethnomedicine's International Research Consortium, October, 2012