Research - Oliver Grundmann, PhD

Oliver Grundmann, PhD
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Research Interests

My main research interests focus on the discovery of natural products for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Either the natural product itself can be utilized as a new treatment modality or it can serve as a precursor for the development of new medications. During my doctoral studies I have spent much time exploring the structure of an anxiolytic and its potential mechanism present in the leaves of the plant Apocynum venetum or "Venetian dogbane".

During my time as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Arizona in 2008 I was able to gain some insight into the mechanisms involved in radiation-induced salivary gland damage. Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat patients with head and neck cancer and as a side effect cause functional and structural changes in salivary glands which significantly impacts the quality of life for patients.

Many significant clinical studies have been conducted in collaboration with Dr. Saunjoo Yoon from the College of Nursing at the University of Florida over the past decade. We have been working together on integrative treatment approaches for gastrointestinal disorders including herbal and dietary supplements for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and the utilization of acupuncture to mitigate development and progression of cancer cachexia in patients with gastrointestinal malignancies.

In recent years, my interest in the plant Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as Kratom, has led me to work with an extraordinary diverse group of researchers from around the world ranging from basic sciences to clinical applications. This has led to a number of research collaborations that investigate both the potential benefits of Kratom and its compounds as well as its potential adverse and toxic effects that may require careful monitoring of its use.
Multimedia Interviews

Say Why to Drugs Podcast with Dr. Suzi Gage: Kratom, June 19, 2019.

KMOV4, April 25, 2019, Kratom Craze: After wife’s death, Franklin County man seeks ban on popular substance.

Science News, April 19, 2019, The herbal supplement kratom comes with risks.

The New York Times, April 17, 2019, Opioid Users Call Kratom a Godsend. The F.D.A. Says It’s a Menace.

Herbalgram, 119 (July-September), 2018, Kratom Crackdown: FDA Intensifies Warnings with Limited, Inconclusive Data

WHYY The Pulse, May 31, 2018, Fears and evidence clash in the battle over kratom.

ABC Action News, March 14, 2018, Addictive drug or alternative to break the habit? Doctors dispute FDA about effects of Kratom.

Natural Products Insider, March 13, 2018, Researchers Combat FDA Stance on Kratom, Favor its Regulation as Supplement.

Pew Trust Stateline Update, March 8, 2018, Scientists Call on FDA to Regulate, Not Ban, Kratom.

The Scientist, February 7 2018.  FDA Declares Kratom an Opioid. We’re Here to Explain What It Does.

Consumer Reports, February 6 2018. The Dangers of Taking Kratom.

Chicago Tribune, December 7 2017. As kratom use surges, some states enact bans.

ASBMB Today, July 1 2017. The science behind kratom’s strange leaves.

Independent, May 13 2017. Alabama becomes the sixth state to ban Kratom.

WBUR, September 30 2016. Impending Ban On Herbal Painkiller Kratom Could Hamper Research.

Vice, September 26 2016. The DEA Is About to Make Life Even More Dangerous for Heroin Users.

STAT Politics, September 8 2016. Kratom ban will hinder studies of the plant for treating pain or addiction, researchers say.

Scientific American, August 31 2016. DEA Set to Ban Chemicals Contained in Kratom.

Associated Press, May 20 2016.  States ban kratom supplement over abuse worries.

Business Insider, January 4 2016. People are flocking to Florida bars for a legal but dangerous drug.
Distance Education Programs
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
College of Pharmacy
University of Florida
Last updated: August 2019
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