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Colin Wright

Professor of Pharmacognosy

Faculty/Dept/School School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 234739


I started my career as a hospital pharmacist and became interested in tropical diseases as well as traditional medicine while working as a pharmacist in India (1980-1982). This led to my long-term interest in pharmacognosy and research in traditional medicines used in the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. I have taught pharmacognosy for more than 20 years with the principal aims of highlighting the importance of natural products in medicine & drug discovery as well as revealing their fascinating chemistry and pharmacological effects. When I started at Bradford School of Pharmacy in 1994, the teaching of Pharmacognosy was fairly traditional including analytical microscopy. Working with Dr Peter Linley, I developed this subject area to provide modules that were more relevant to modern pharmacy practice by illustrating through lectures and lab workshops why a knowledge of herbal medicines and natural products is necessary for the practising pharmacist. Similarly, I developed a module on natural products for the (former) M.Sc in Pharmaceutical Services and Medicines Control. Although pharmacognosy as a subject is no longer in the new pharmacy curriculum, I have been able to include some content e.g. in unit FS2 which includes the origins of drugs and eco-pharmacy and a number of applications exercises present problems involving herbal medicines/natural products. Also, herbal medicines is a topic for student selected components and I offer natural product-related laboratory research projects.    My research has focussed mainly on the investigation of traditional medicines used for the treatment of malaria with the aim of identifying lead antimalarial compounds. In collaboration with Bradford’s Institute for Cancer Research I have also investigated plants including marine algae (seaweeds) for their potential to yield anticancer compounds. I also have an interest in anti-TB natural products. My main research achievement has been the study of cryptolepine for which I received funding from WHO and is described in more detail below. I have successfully supervised 20 PhD students whose work, together with the help of many collaborators has resulted in the publication of 98 research papers and more than 100 conference contributions. In addition, I am regularly invited to present my research at conferences and seminars.   I actively participate in two of the research groups in the School of Pharmacy especially in the Medicines Development and Pharmaceutical Science group in which I line manage 7 academic staff and have a role in facilitating the group’s research ambitions and strategy.