Marco Leonti (PI)

Marco Leonti (PI)


Position: P3 Coordinator and supervisor for ESR7 and ESR8, University of Cagliari


Supervisor for Project ESR7 Ethnobotany with the Chimalapas Zoque (Oaxaca, Mexico). Reconstructing pre-Columbian Macro- Mayan medicine and Project ESR8 History of medicinal plant use in Europe: A phylogenetic and organoleptic approac.h

I graduated from the Department of Biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1996. I conducted ethnobotanical and anthropological field research in Mexico from 1999 to 2000 and got my Ph.D. degree in pharmacognosy from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Switzerland, in 2003 focusing on the ethnopharmacological, phytochemical and biological evaluation of indigenous medicinal plants. In 2003, I joined the “Local Food Nutraceuticals” EU-Project at the Centre of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy of the London School of Pharmacy, UK. Since 2006, I have been working as a Postdoc Fellow at the University of Cagliari, Italy, where I am engaged in the isolation and structure elucidation of cannabimimetic, antibacterial, and cytotoxic secondary metabolites from plants. My research interests focus mainly on ethnopharmacological research questions, the cultural history of human plant use and the rationale of human plant selection for medicine and nutrition.

The University of Cagliari (Sardinia) was founded during the early 17th century and has become one of the largest universities in Italy.
Around 30,000 students are attending courses offered by the 6 faculties, 17 departments and 38 degree courses.

Why did you find it important to be part of MedPlant?
I find it important to be part of MedPlant because it’s a timely, innovative and interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to the exploration of the evolutionary links between biodiversity, the selection of medicinal plants by human cultures and drug discovery.

What do you hope to gain/achieve as part of MedPlant?
I hope that our results will provide new insights into how biodiversity, medicinal plants and drug discovery are related.