In order to encourage researchers, particularly early career researchers, and to facilitate the communication and collaboration on the pharmacological research of natural products and traditional medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Forum for Early Career Researchers on Pharmacology of Natural Products and Traditional Medicines was organized by the Section on the Pharmacology of Natural Products (SPNP). The first three times were co-hosted by the Chinese Pharmacological Society (CNPHARS) during 2022.
The first forum themed Target Discovery of Natural Products was held on Feb 19, 2022. Prof. Guanhua Du, the Vice-Chair of SPNP, acted as the moderator. Prof. Michael Spedding, the Secretary-General of IUPHAR, participated to the forum and gave a brief opening speech. He was highly enthusiastic about the initiative and indicated that webinars are perfect to support young scientists worldwide with little financial investments. He wished the initiative a great success and was looking for that this initiative will become a regular scientific activity. The scientific session of the forum included one keynote talk and four early career talks. Prof. Valérie Schini-Kerth, the Chair of SPNP, gave the keynote speech regarding Food-derived natural products to target and regenerate vascular ageing. The four early career speakers included Prof. Dominique Delmas from INSERM Research Center U1231, France on Polyphenols from grapevine and red wine extract: potential key actors in the regulation of immune system?, Prof. Guang Liang from Hangzhou Medical College, China on Target discovery and pharmacological mechanism study of natural products, Dr. Nadire Özenver from Hacettepe University, Turkey on Natural products: Target identification by use of in silico and in vitro approaches and Prof. Kewu Zeng from Peking University, China on Discovery of direct targets of natural drug. Presentations were followed by a session of comprehensive discussion with the audience. Participants raised their questions on the chatting board of the meeting platform, and speakers gave their answers either orally or in writing. After the scientific session, Prof. Michael Spedding asked further questions, and congratulated the speakers and organisers on the success of the forum. Prof. Wenxia Zhou, the Secretary-General of SPNP, briefly introduced the background of the forum as an important collaborative activity between IUPHAR SPNP and CNPHARS. At the end of the forum, Prof. Schini-Kerth acknowledged all the contributors to the forum, including IUPHAR, CNPHARS, SPNP members, and speakers, for all their efforts to organize a successful first forum.
Since the great success of the first forum, the format of one keynote speech + four early career talks + comprehensive discussion was fixed for the future forums. The second one moderated by Prof. Wenxia Zhou, was held on Jun 18, 2022. The topic of this forum was Natural products and traditional medicines research on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Prof. Rabia Johnson from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) gave the keynote speech titled Natural products and cardiometabolic diseases. Then four early career researchers, Dr. Samukelisiwe Shabalala from SAMRC/University of Zululand, South Africa (Aspalathin ameliorates doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts), Prof. Pithi Chanvorachote from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (Chitooligosaccharide prevents vascular endothelial cell damage by attenuation of endoplasmic reticulum stress via GRP78 and ERK-Nrf2 regulations), Ms. Nonhlakanipho Sangweni from SAMRC, South Africa (Pinocembrin attenuates doxorubicin-induced mitochondrial and left ventricular dysfunction), and Prof. Shuainan Liu from the Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, China (Continued progress in development and mechanism research of Mulberry twig Alkaloids Tablets (SZ-A) in type 2 diabetes therapy), shared their latest research in sequence.
The third forum, which was themed Natural products and traditional medicines on anti-tumor research, was arranged on Oct 22. Prof. Ning Jiang recommended by Chinese Pharmacological Society moderated the event. Prof. Simon Ming Yuen Lee from the University of Macau, China was invited to be the keynote speaker. He gave his talk of Bacterium biomimetic strategy mediated modulation on tumor microenvironment for enhanced chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Then Dr. Xiaohua Lu from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany (Artemisinin derivative FO-ARS-123 as a novel VEGFR2 inhibitor suppresses angiogenesis and cell migration), Dr. Hyo-Jong Lee from Sungkyunkwan University, Korea (Enhanced anti-angiogenic activity of novel melatonin-like agents), Dr. Zhongdong Hu from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China (Anti-tumor effect of active ingredients of Resina Draconis), and Dr. Patrícia Rijo from Universidade Lusófona, Portugal (Plectranthus: from traditional medicine to brain tumor therapy with diterpenes), gave speeches as the early career speakers.
Totally more than 700 researchers from all over the world attended the three virtual forums. The forum will be continued at regular intervals. It is expected that more experts and early career researchers would take part in the event to enhance its influence, thus to contribute promoting the development of natural products and traditional medicines research in the world and the careers of young scientists.
Top (L→R): Profs. Michael Spedding, Valérie Schini-Kerth, Guanhua Du, Wenxia Zhou
Bottom (L→R): Profs. Dominique Delmas, Guang Liang, Nadire Özenver, Kewu Zeng
Top (L→R): Profs. Valérie Schini-Kerth, Guanhua Du, Wenxia Zhou, Yongxiang Zhang
Middle (L→R): Profs. Wenxia Zhou, Rabia Johnson, Dr. Samukelisiwe Shabalala
Bottom (L→R): Prof. Pithi Chanvorachote, Ms. Nonhlakanipho Sangweni, Prof. Shuainan Liu
Top (L→R): Profs. Valérie Schini-Kerth, Guanhua Du, Ning Jiang, Simon Ming Yuen Lee
Bottom (L→R): Drs. Xiaohua Lu, Hyo-Jong Lee, Zhongdong Hu, Patrícia Rijo