research group

Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry and Biotechnology

Main research area of the group

Pharmacy research and the evaluation of new health technologies

Leading researchers

Prof. Iliana Ionkova, PhD, DSc – Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of
Pharmacy, MU – Sofia

Prof. Ilina Krasteva, PhD, DSc – Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of
Pharmacognosy, MU – Sofia

Members of the research team:

  • Prof. Ekaterina Kozuharova PhD, DSc;
  • Assoc. Prof., PhD, Zlatina Kokanova-Nedialkova;
  • Assoc. Prof. Niko Benbasat, PhD;
  • Assoc. Prof. Petranka Zdraveva, PhD;
  • Chief Assistant Prof. Aleksandar Shkondrov, PhD;
  • Chief Assistant Prof. Yancho Zarev, PhD;
  • Assistant Professor Ivan Stambolov;
  • Mag.Pharm. Preslav Entchev – PhD student;
  • Mag.Pharm. Teodor Marinov – PhD student;
  • Mag.Pharm. Alexandra Ivanova – PhD student

Research goals

The goals of the project are aimed at improving the quality of life, based on the specific results of the proposed research. Therefore, there is a high probability that achievements in the field of these studies will indicate new directions for scientific development and lead to significant social benefits. The main goal of the scientific team is to create a complex approach for an accelerated search for
leading natural molecules.

The main goal of the project is the discovery of new (or very rare) natural molecules from unstudied or little-studied plant species from 16 plant genera, for which data are available for expected therapeutic application. Development of new methods based on plant pharmaceutical biotechnologies for accelerated biosynthesis of biological active substances (BAS) from the studied plant sources – basis for selection of new drug candidates.

The processes of biosynthesis of key molecules will be studied in depth by studying the regulatory mechanisms of cellular metabolism in in vitro cultures and the processes accompanying the enzymatic biotransformation of inactive precursors into pharmaceutically relevant compounds. In this way, an
alternative route to generate altered phytochemical potential and increase the chemical diversity of plant molecules will be proposed.

Representatives of 16 plant genera will be studied, and the development of validated protocols for the production of valuable biologically active substances as industrial prototypes with therapeutic action (antitumor, protective, immunomodulating, etc.) is planned. Through the application of these protocols, systems for biosynthesis of plant molecules with significant potential pharmaceutical value demonstrated by model in vitro and in vivo studies and key molecules for toxicological study will be proposed.