Present position and address

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Amala Soumyanath (née Amala Raman)


Sept 10, 2012


Academic Rank:

Associate Professor




Professional Address:

Department of Neurology, Mail Code L226, Oregon Health Sciences University, 3181 Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland 97239

E-Mail Address:

My field of expertise is Pharmacognosy. From January 1987 until October 2002, I was employed at King’s College London in the Department of Pharmacy, reaching the status of Senior Lecturer in Pharmacognosy (equivalent to Associate Professor).Over this period, I contributed to the development and teaching of courses in Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on undergraduate and Masters programmes and carried out many administrative functions. I established a successful, internationally-recognized research program investigating medicinal plants as new treatments for vitiligo, psoriasis and diabetes. I have raised research grants, filed patents and published papers in scientific journals and at conferences. In October 2002, my research group consisted of 4 PhD students and 2 post-doctoral scientists. My work is known internationally and I have served on various national and international advisory committees and refereed papers for a numerous scientific journals.
In December 2002, I relocated to Portland OR following my marriage. I immediately obtained a position within the NIH funded ORCCAMIND project at OHSU and was appointed as Associate Professor. This is my present (part time) position. The focus of my present research is on botanical products of potential use in neurological conditions, while continuing to work on developing the natural compound piperine as a treatment for vitiligo.
I also work with Oregon’s Wild Harvest, a grower and manufacturer of botanical dietary supplements based in Sandy, OR. Having served as Director of Research and Development from December 2002 to December 2008, I currently work as a consultant for this company. My role is to facilitate scientific research by the company and collaborators on botanical products of particular significance to Oregon’s Wild Harvest.
Undergraduate and Graduate (Include Year, Degree, and Institution):

Chelsea College, University of London 1978 - 1981 BPharm - First Class (Hons)

King’s College London, University of London 1982 - 1987 PhD (Drug Metabolism)
Postgraduate (Include Year, Degree, and Institution):

King’s College London, University of London 1987 - 1990 Associate of King’s College (AKC - Leathes Prize-winner)

Certification (Include Board, Number, Date, and Recertification):

Licenses (Include State, Date, Status, Number, and Renewal Date):

Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain from July 1982 – Dec 2004

License number 75044 (Registered pharmacist in United Kingdom during this period)

Academic (Include Year, Position, and Institution):
Jan 2003 – present Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, OHSU

Jan 2009 – present Research consultant, Oregon’s Wild Harvest, Sandy, OR.

Dec 2002 – Dec 2008 Director of Research and Development, Oregon’s Wild Harvest,

Sandy, OR.

Sep 2001 – October 2002 Senior Lecturer in Pharmacognosy *

Jan 1990 – Aug 2001 Lecturer in Pharmacognosy *

Sep 1989 - Dec 1989 Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of London

Oct 1988 - Aug 1989 Maplethorpe Postdoctoral Fellow *

Jan 1987 - Sep 1988 Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry (fixed term)*

* Department of Pharmacy, King’s College London, University of London
Visiting appointments:

June - Sep 1996 Visiting Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

Carried our a 3 month research project on anti-diabetic components of Gymnema sylvestre; gave research seminars.

Aug – Sep 2000 Visiting Scientist, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, USA

In 6 weeks, learnt bioassays relevant to the search for anti-diabetic

agents, carried out isolation work in the natural products

department and gave two research seminars.

April 2001 Visiting Professor, Pharmacy Dept, Chinese University of

Hong Kong. Gave 10 lectures in pharmacognosy to Pharmacy undergraduates and gave research seminars.

Administrative positions:

I do not currently hold any administrative positions at OHSU. However, I performed numerous administrative functions from 1990 – 2002 at King’s College London, conducting my duties in a pro-active, efficient and constructive manner. I have considerable organizational and managerial skills in which I combine a friendly manner with clear direction and guidance to those working under my supervision.

Administrative roles at King’s College London:

Mentor and Appraiser for Assistant Professors.

Senior Postgraduate Tutor, responsible for admission and pastoral care of Departmental Graduate students:

Schools liaison committee member

Summer vacation studentships co-ordinator


Undergraduate committee member

Postgraduate foundation course co-ordinator

Pastoral care of undergraduates (10 per year)

Overview of my Role as an Educator; Scholarship of Teaching:

While at King’s College London, I was engaged extensively in course development and teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates in the Department of Pharmacy. My expertise in botanical medicines and associated analytical methodology also led to invitations to give lectures in other departments and universities. Details are given under the “Educational Activities” section.

My present role at OHSU does not require any regular teaching activities, as it is primarily a research appointment. However I am occasionally called upon to give lectures based on my expertise. For example, I gave a presentation on Botanical medicines in a course on Complementary Medicines for Neurological Disorders, at the American Academy of Neurology Meeting in Hawaii (April 2003). For the last 2 years (2010, 2011), I have given a lecture on herbal medicines to students on the Behavioral neurosciences course at OHSU.
Every summer, I have mentored 1 or 2 undergraduate students from other universities or schools working in my phytochemical laboratory. I also trained a naturopath, Paul Kalnins of NCNM in some chromatographic techniques during 2004. In 2010, I spent a day training 2 students from NCNM in the performance of thin layer chromatography.

Curriculum Development (at King’s College London)

Pharmacognosy is the scientific study of medicinal plants, and is a subject that has traditionally been given importance in the curriculum of the Pharmacy department at King’s College London, unlike many other schools of Pharmacy both in the UK and abroad.

My goal was to teach pharmacognosy in a way that was interesting to the students and clearly demonstrated its role within current pharmaceutical practice and scientific research. During my 10 years at King’s College London, I worked to revise an modernize the pharmacognosy course. The Pharmacognosy courses offered at King’s were recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and highly relevant to modern pharmacy. A number of University departments in the UK and abroad, and other agencies connected with medicinal plants have requested and utilized our course material.
Other course development activities I have successfully undertaken are given below:

  • Designed the first ever “Topic Week” as part of the new integrated BPharm programme introduced in 1992. This Topic Week served as a template for subsequent ones organised by others. I have published a refereed paper describing the Department’s experiences with Topic Weeks (Raman, Lansley and Greene, Pharmaceutical Journal, 259, 563-565, 1997)

  • Completely restructured the Postgraduate Foundation Course (a conversion course for certain students wishing to enrol on our MSc programme) in 1993.

  • Contributed to the development of the new 4 year MPharm course, as a member of the departmental Undergraduate Committee.

  • Member of a working group revising the MPharm course for the year 2002/2003, now implemented.

  • Chair of the group designing the 2-week induction programme (including a drug discovery to patient course) for the new MPharm intake in Sept 2002.

Educational Publications

  • A refereed paper describing the Department’s experiences with Topic Weeks (Raman, Lansley and Greene, Pharmaceutical Journal, 259, 563-565, 1997)

  • The following co-authored book , which will be a useful text for undergraduate and postgraduate students working in the field of Pharmacognosy: Laboratory Handbook for the Fractionation of Natural Extracts by Peter J Houghton and Amala Raman. Publ. Chapman and Hall, London, 1998. ISBN 0 412749106. This 200 page book recently received a very favourable review from the renowned Phytochemist Professor J. Harborne (Phytochemistry, 49, page 1835) : “Any newcomer starting a project involving the extraction and isolation of secondary metabolites from plants would do well to get hold of this excellent treatise.......supervisors should make sure this book is available in every phytochemical laboratory”.

  • Detailed practical schedules giving theory and practical instructions for pharmacognosy based experiments. These serve as useful reference texts to undergraduate and research students.

Educational Conference Presentations
Teaching pharmacy students about complementary medicine.

Houghton PJ and Raman A

Presented by PJ Houghton at the 4th Annual Symposium on Complementary Healthcare, Exeter, December 10-12, 1997.
Education Grants and Contracts:

British Council Grant in 1990 for a visit to the Pharmacy department in Oslo to discuss pharmacognosy course curriculum.

Educational Activity:

The courses on which I taught were the MPharm and MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences programmes. Subjects taught were pharmacognosy (phytochemistry, pharmacology of natural products, analytical methods for botanicals including microscopy), chromatography and pharmaceutical analysis. This was done through a variety of teaching methods – lectures, small group discussions and practical courses.

Typical annual teaching loads are given in the table below.
Lectures Lab class1 S/T/W2 Projects

(hours) (hours) (hours) (number)

MPharm 40 57 29 3

MSc 10 12 10 2

Interdepartmental 4 6 0 2

Approx Totals 55 75 40 7
1 - Undergrad lab sessions have 20-40 students. MSc labs about 12; 2- seminars, tutorials and workshops
In the United Kingdom, laboratory classes involve the active participation of the staff member in supervising and running the class as well as grading the reports. Teaching assistants (or demonstrators) are used only to provide additional supervision during the class.

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