21 Nov 2017

Chemistry student receives award to study Pacific plants

7:36 am on 21 November 2017

A chemistry student from New Zealand's Victoria University has been awarded about $US230,000 ($235,528) to study the properties of plants found in the Pacific that are traditionally used for medicinal purposes.

Helen Woolner, who will graduate with a PhD in Chemistry next month, received the funding through the Health Research Council.

Of Cook Island Māori descent, Ms Woolner will undertake the research over the next three years at the University's Chemical Genetics Laboratory

She said she hopes to help Māori and Pasifika people harness the full potential of their long-held natural health practices.

Her supervisor Andrew Munkacsi said the chemical biology of Māori and Pasifika traditional medicine is poorly understood, compared to traditional medicine in other parts of the world.