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The role of natural products for health maintenance and disease prevention is becoming increasingly important globally, while promoting the urgent need of sustainable innovation. Changing climate and geopolitical events present new challenges and opportunities that require agile, informed and visionary scientific approaches.  


This year in Ireland, GA2023 presents the best of global research in diverse areas that are well established, as well as those areas which are rapidly emerging as hot topics. The themes of the congress, to name but a few,  draw from global expertise, which will discuss the phytochemistry of the world’s diverse ecosystems from rainforests to polar regions to boglands; will present cutting edge research on the promising role of fungal derived psychedelic drugs in the treatment of ‘treatment resistant depression’; will present the successful journey of a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional natural products drug discovery research program elaborating novel anticancer compounds from a range of organisms; will present AI and metabolomic approaches for innovation and deconvolution within the field of natural products; will present advances in methodology in the areas of analysis and formulation.  


In addition, we will come together to discuss these developments and challenges from the perspective of sustainability, while considering the impact of the global regulatory landscape on the progression of plant derived extracts, molecules and foods to the clinic and to international markets. 


This event will have a special focus on ‘Unlocking Nature’s Pharmacy for a Sustainable Future’, offering a platform for exchange of international science to stimulate debate, to create collaborations and to inform policy. We aim to expand global private-public network with positive engagement with natural capital. 


We also offer our attendees networking opportunities, as well as the chance to present their work in poster presentations and liaise with exhibitors on latest technology in this arena.  

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Themes, keynote speakers and talks’ topic



Natural products chemistry. Challenges and opportunities in the natural products and medicines supply

Prof. A. Douglas Kinghorn

Discovery of Anticancer Agents of Diverse Natural Origin



Phytochemistry, biological and pharmacological activities of natural products

Prof. Clara Bik-San Lau

Exploration of beneficial herb-drug combinations – will this advance the development and application of herbal medicines? 


Dr Aedin Cassidy

Dietary flavonoids and cardiometabolic health 


Prof. Lyndy McGaw       

African plants: valuable sources of phytogenic alternatives to antibiotic feed additives in poultry



Metabolomics, molecular networking, molecular modelling, AI

Dr Young Hae Choi         

NMR chemical profiling medicinal plants with new perspectives: how to do, what to expect and where to apply



Ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology and traditional medicine

Prof. John Thor Arnason             

New directions in Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of Turtle Island (North and Central America) 



Cannabis research

Dr Jürg Gertsch

Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system: Translating basic research into clinical trials



Psychedelic drugs. A revival for mental health

Dr David Erritzoe            

Psychedelics in mental health – Therapeutic potential and possible brain mechanisms




Prof. Aiping Lyu

A lymphatic route for oral polysaccharide to trigger immune responses



Analytical methods, new developments, new applications

Dr Emerson Queiroz

From the discovery of bioactive natural products to the development of innovative strategies for their chemo-diversification and generation of potential new leads

Prof. Wirginia Kukula-Koch        

Centrifugal Partition Chromatography (CPC) – principles and applications in the recovery of natural products of pharmacological significance


Regulatory Affairs – Herbal medicine, novel foods, medical devices, cosmetics and emerging therapies

Prof. Ioanna Chinou  

Deep dive into the world of medicinal plants - “The Chamber of secrets has been opened, enemies of HERBS… beware”


Delivery and formulations

Prof. Lea Ann Dailey      

Pharmacokinetic considerations for inhaled natural product mixtures to treat lung infections



Dr Una FitzGerald           

The Rise of Lab Greening as a Climate Action



Regulatory Pathways - Challenges and Opportunities in the Development of Natural Products

Monday Afternoon, 03rd July 2023

A regulatory insight on challenges and opportunities in the development of plant-based products to support human health, as consumers’ demand of herbal products continuous to grow globally. Those products are classified on the market under a variety of categories, to which different regulatory pathways apply.  

This event will invite regulatory experts to discuss regulations and quality spanning across herbal medicine, novel food, medical devices, cosmetics, cannabis and psychedelic drugs. We will be engaging in laws, challenges and opportunities through case studies presented by experts across markets, followed by the opportunity to participate to a Q&A panel to address regulatory roadmaps across herbal medicine, food, new and emerging therapies and medical devices.

Speakers and Panel:

Deep dive into the world of medicinal plants - “The Chamber of secrets has been opened, enemies of  HERBS… beware” 

Ioanna Chinou 

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece & Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) Greek National Organisation 


Expectations of pharmaceutical industry on the legal framework for maintaining and developing herbal medicinal products 

Bernd Roether 

Bionorica SE, Germany 


The rise of cannabis and other entheogenic plants and mushrooms. Emerging science and regulatory shifts

Nicholas Fokialakis 

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


Medicinal cannabis - how to get it in Ireland in 2023

Dairine Dempsey 

Dairine Dempsey Consulting, Ireland


Safety assessment of novel plant-based foods (NFs & TFs) in Europe 

Eirini Kouloura  

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU  



Sustainable Approaches in Natural Products Towards Building a Bioeconomy 

Tuesday morning, 4th July 2023

What is sustainability and how is it relevant to our way of living and working? In this panel session, we bring together a systemic view of sustainability applied to the use of natural products in research, development and commercialisation of plant-base products across sectors. The event aims to inform the audience and showcase sustainable, innovative approaches to support transition to bioeconomy and circular economy. It brings together a broad stakeholders’ perspective on themes spanning from green labs, biodiversity and natural capital to life cycle assessment, sustainable nutrition, upcycling and responsible sourcing. Case studies will be presented by speakers from academia and industry, followed by a Q&A panel discussion with additional contribution from Irish government and NGOs to address challenges and opportunities to lead a positive impact working with natural resources. 

Speakers and Panel:

The Rise of Lab Greening as a Climate Action                  

Una Fitzgerald  

Galway Neuroscience Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland 


Navigating and operationalising approaches to tackling the biodiversity and climate crises 

Jane Stout 

Botany, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland 


Life cycle assessment (LCA) of seaweed production 

Fionnuala Murphy 

School of Biosystems & Food Engineering, University College Dublin, Belfield 
Dublin 4, Ireland 


Sustainable Nutrition – An Industry Approach 

Eoin Lalor 

Kerry, Ireland 


Biasol focuses on maximise nutrition and minimise food waste upcycling brewers spent grains

Niamh Dooley 

BiaSol, Ireland 


Oriflame Sweden, our responsible product development approach 

Natasha Williams O’Hanlon  

Oriflame, Sweden 


Speakers will be joined by Rob Barnes and Pierre Kerhascoet for the Q&A Panel Discussion:


Rob Barnes  

Sectoral Emissions and Bioeconomy Policy 

Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ireland 


Pierre Kerhascoet 

Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, Ireland 


Botanical Safety Consortium Session Current Topics in Botanical Safety 

Wednesday afternoon, 5th July 2023

The growing popularity and interest in botanical products on a global scale has led to an increased focus on appropriate safety evaluation of these complex materials. These include aspects related to the characterization and identification of the material, challenges within the regulatory space, and the approaches and methods that can be effectively used to evaluate safety.  Various tools, including new approach methodologies (NAMs) that can help screen

for potential toxicity, are being explored and adapted for botanicals.  


In addition, strategies are being developed to connect the scientific advances in analytical chemistry, substance characterization, toxicology, pharmacognosy, and regulatory science, with the aim of improving overall botanical safety.  This session will highlight recent and ongoing developments and challenges related to safety evaluation of botanicals, including updates from the Botanical Safety Consortium.   

Enhancing the botanical safety toolkit:  The strategic approach of the Botanical Safety Consortium 

Olaf Kelber

Bayer Consumer Health, Germany 


Botanical identify:  Importance for safety assessment 

Stefan Gafner

American Botanical Council, USA 


Assessing the neuroactive potential of botanical extracts using novel in vitro methods 

Remco Westerink

Utrecht University, Netherlands 


Evaluating botanicals for hepatotoxicity 

Heather Walker

Bayer Consumer Health, Germany 


Regulatory perspective on safety of herbal medicinal products 

Karin Erika Svedlund

HMPC Vice-Chair and Swedish Medical Products Agency 


Regulatory perspective on botanical safety issues 

Ioanna Chinou

HMPC Greek National Organization for Medicines and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Dept of Pharmacy Lab of Pharmacognosy and Chemistry of natural products 

Draft Programme

A copy of the draft programme is available to download here

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