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Dr. Bill Folk Awarded University of Missouri Corp of Discovery Award

As the recipient of the Corps of Discovery Award in September, Professor Bill Folk is wasting no time targeting his next research goals.

Much of Professor Folk’s 25 years at MU has been spent researching indigenous botanicals that are used to treat infectious diseases and other health problems. He also studies possible improvements for crop plants that are essential for food security.

The Corps of Discovery award features an outstanding MU faculty member to commemorate the contributions of Lewis and Clark and to reinforce “discovery” as one of the core values at MU. Since Folk accepted this award and gave his recipient lecture, he has not been shy about setting new goals with his research.

A research paper, entitled “21st Century Natural Product Research and Drug Development and Traditional Medicines," (link) outlines Folk’s research, along with his team, that spans from 1987 to 2013. It also sets up where he plans to go from here. “I plan to promote the development of evidence-based studies of traditional medicines in those regions where they are extensively used,” Folk said. “I also to want to apply the powerful tools described in the [NPR] review to understand how Sutherlandia alters stress and endocrine homeostasis, for which there are substantive claims.”

Sutherlandia is a plant known well in South Africa. It is possible that this plant holds the ability to combat or suppress HIV and AIDS. It is certain that the research already published by Folk and his team is setting him up to accomplish these goals in the future. His past research, along with his team, has made important connections between colleagues in Africa and Asia. There is no doubt that it is these relationships that will help Folk and his team reach their goals and push forward in their journey to treat and cure infectious diseases.