Rare collection at UF drives breakthroughs in biomedical discovery

By: Cody Hawley, PhD
Botanical illustration: Atlas der baumarten von Java
Split image of a substance in a petri dish and the underside of a mushroom
illustration insect
Illustration of virus
Dr. Ben Shen working in the lab Ben Shen, PhD, inspects shakers, incubators where small quantities of microbes are added to nutritional media, so there is enough to study in depth. Photo by Stacey DeLoye
“We know this collection has incredible potential to develop the next class of antibiotics and anticancer drugs.”
Ben Shen, PhD
Infographic illustration of a natural product vial with medications occupying percentages of the vial
Ben Shen stands proudly among the many sliding shelves housing the UF Scripps natural product collection Ben Shen, PhD, directs the Natural Products Discovery Center at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology. The center holds one of the world's largest collections of microbial natural chemicals. Photo by Scott Wiseman
Infographic, see text below
“This will be transformative. The research it produces can change the world.”
Ben Shen, PhD
researcher holding a tray of natural product extractions Researchers inspect a natural product extract tray. Photo by Scott Wiseman
genome core sample prep UF scientists prepare a natural product sample for sequencing. The Natural Products Genomics Resource Center provides a repository of genomic blueprints available to scientists worldwide. Photo by Scott Wiseman