Natural products have found their uses in various aspects of our everyday activities, and they are ingredients of foods, materials, drugs and other items. Thus, they constitute a significant repertoire of chemicals, many of which have been patented in different countries for their uses in research and development, as well as in industry. In addition, many local folk medicines contain natural products of plant origin, which remain a largely untapped reservoir of natural compounds with novel chemical structures and biological activities. One common objective of practicing research in the field of natural products is to study plants for chemicals that may serve as lead compounds for further development into new drugs for various diseases. In addition, they may be used as indispensable tools in biomedical research.

Since natural products offer a diversity and complexity of structure unmatched by even the most active imaginations of synthetic organic chemists, research into the chemistry of natural products at CRI aims at the systematic chemical investigation (chemotaxonomy) of plants for new value-added plant-derived products, with useful medicinal and chemical properties. The main activities in the Laboratory of Natural Products have focused on the search for plant constituents that, either directly or after some modifications, can be employed as precursors in the production of pharmaceuticals through extraction, separation, and structure elucidation.

Recently, we have become interested in research in marine organisms and microorganisms as potential pools of natural resources for novel bioactive compounds with potential medicinal applications. Despite the need for both plant and marine natural resources, we are committed to only investigating but not exploiting these sources, since we are fully aware of their local and global ecological and environmental importance. Thus, as a part of our collaborative efforts in the Chemistry Section, total syntheses of biologically interesting natural products are also being extensively investigated in order to provide bioactive compounds in sufficient quantity to establish more comprehensive biological, pharmacological and safety profiles.