Cornell University

Plant Made Pharmaceuticals for Developing Countries

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 12:20pm to 1:10pm

Emerson Hall, 135


Plant made biologics have elicited much attention over recent years for their potential to assist those in developing countries who have poor access to modern medicine. Vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals derived from plants are inexpensive, lack refrigeration requirements and can be produced en masse in a relatively short period of time. Pharmaceuticals developed in this fashion could be utilized for functions ranging from defense against infectious diseases that have pandemic potential, such as influenza or Ebola virus, to combating orphan diseases which are poorly funded yet remain paramount to global health in their respective endemic regions. Biopharmaceuticals have been generated via a number of plant production platforms, including stable expression in transgenic plants, suspension cell cultures and hairy roots, as well as transiently through the use of plant virus expression vector technologies. The presentation will provide an overview of plant-derived pharmaceuticals and will conclude with a projection of the impact they could have for developing countries.

Kathleen Hefferon received her PhD from the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto and continued her post-doctoral studies at Cornell University. She worked first at Boyce Thompson Institute, then at the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Kathleen also teaches and conducts research at the University of Toronto. After writing a number of books, Kathleen is currently working in the Department of Food Sciences on a microbial cellulase project. She has a number of patents and was involved in the launch of a startup grapevine biotech company, Vitis Biosciences, on the Geneva Campus. Kathleen has edited six books and is currently Section Editor for the Encyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability, to be released in 2018. Kathleen is also an active member of the Cornell BEST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training) Program and is a Fellow at the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence.


Event Type



CIIFAD, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Virginia Montopoli

Contact Phone



Kathleen Hefferon, Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Food Science

Speaker Affiliation

Cornell University

Open To

The Public

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