Vibrant green leaves sprout from tall fragrant plants sitting neatly in two rows of terracotta pots in Valerie Sponsel’s (PhD) University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) biology laboratory. One floor just above her is the chemistry lab of Francis Yoshimoto, PhD, who is extracting the plant’s leaves for medicinal compounds. Soon, the researchers will meet with UTSA researcher Annie Lin, PhD, who will test the extracted compounds on cancer cells. The plant is Artemisia annua, or Sweet Annie, and it contains medicinal compounds. UTSA researchers are studying the plant to understand the bioactive properties of one of these compounds, Arteannuin B, in cancer cells and COVID, the disease caused by the virus, SARS-CoV-2.
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