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Emory ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave named Guggenheim Fellow
Photo of Cassandra Quave

The John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation has named Emory University ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow.

— Photo by Emory Photo/Video.

The John Simon Memorial Guggenheim Foundation named Emory University ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow. Quave joins 188 distinguished and diverse trailblazers working across 52 disciplines in the class of 2024 Guggenheim Fellows, chosen on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise.

“This recognition is a testament to Cassandra Quave’s extraordinary contributions as an ethnobotanist and her unwavering commitment to advancing human health through the discovery of medicinal compounds in plants,” says Emory Provost Ravi V. Bellamkonda. “Cassandra is an inspiring scholar whose work embodies the transformative impact of research on humanity and underscores the eminent scholarship of our faculty.”

Quave is the Thomas J. Lawley, MD Professor of Dermatology, with a joint appointment as associate professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology and Emory’s Center for the Study of Human Health. She serves as assistant dean of research cores for the School of Medicine and is curator of the Emory University Herbarium, a 75-year-old natural history museum.

As an ethnobotanist, she studies the traditional use of medicinal plants to discover antimicrobial compounds that could be developed for modern medicine. Quave has been issued seven patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for botanical extracts and compounds to treat or prevent bacterial infections and biofilms. In addition, she has four patent applications pending for medicinal botanical extracts and compounds.

Quave has founded two start-up companies, PhyoTEK LLC and Verdant Scientific, which are translating her laboratory discoveries into products for future clinical use.

Each Guggenheim Fellow receives a stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions,” in the words of the foundation.

Quave is receiving the Fellowship in Medicine and Health, a $75,000 award underwritten by the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation, for her project titled “Healthspan: A Work of Narrative Nonfiction.”

“Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” says Edward Hirsch, award-winning poet and president of the Guggenheim Foundation. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was created in 1925 by U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife, Olga Guggenheim, in memory of their son, John Simon.

Since its establishment, the foundation has granted more than $400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award and other internationally recognized honors. The broad range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the fellowship program.

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