Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


5 West 3.6


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386789 


Dr Michael Rowan 


Phytochemistry Research

My research field is Phytochemistry; the investigation of the chemical constituents of plants. Working in a Department of Pharmacy, I am naturally interested in the plant kingdom as a rich source of novel, biologically active chemicals which may be useful medicinal agents in their own right, new chemical tools for biological research or "lead compounds" for medicinal chemistry research. Wherever possible, I collaborate with workers in other disciplines whose interests lie in the biological activities of these compounds; biologists, biochemists, clinicians and scientists in the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the last five years I have worked on:
  1. Irritant diterpenoid esters from plants of the family Euphorbiaceae.
  2. Neurotoxic diterpenoid alkaloids from Delphinium and Aconitum.
  3. Phytoalexins in Theobroma cacao.
  4. Allergenic compounds from a variety of common plants.

I am currently developing a new line of research into calystegins and other polyhydroxylated alkaloids which inhibit a number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate biochemistry.

All these studies involve extraction and separation of compounds using chromatographic and other techniques followed by chemical structure elucidation by a combination of advanced spectroscopic methods. I also develop appropriate analytical techniques such as HPLC and gas chromatography which support both chemical and biological studies.


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