The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) initiated the Centers for Advancing Research on Botanical and Other Natural Products (CARBON) Program in partnership with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in 1999, in response to a Congressional mandate.
The purpose of the CARBON Program is to promote collaborative, transdisciplinary research on the safety, effectiveness, and mechanisms of action of botanical dietary supplements that have a high potential to benefit human health. The primary research focus of these Centers is on preclinical research that will inform future clinical studies.
The Centers identify and characterize botanicals, assess the bioavailability and bioactivity of chemical components of botanicals, explore their mechanisms of action, conduct preclinical and clinical evaluations, and provide a rich environment for training and career development. The Centers’ research is expected to greatly advance our understanding of the potential effects of botanicals on human health.
The CARBON Program is comprised of three Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Centers (BDSRC) and two Centers for Advancing Natural Products Innovation and Technology (CANPIT), all jointly funded by ODS and NCCIH in the 5-year program cycle for 2015-2020.
The BDSRC for 2015-2020 include:
The CANPIT for 2015-2020 include:
Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Centers from 2010-2015 continuing under a no-cost extension until August 31, 2016:
Dietary Botanicals in the Preservation of Cognitive and Psychological Resilience
Principal Investigators: Giulio Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard Dixon, Ph.D.
Institution: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York
Partner Institutions: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick; University of North Texas, Denton
This new Center will focus on the mechanisms through which polyphenol-containing dietary supplements derived from grapes promote cognitive and psychological resilience to common psychological stresses including sleep deprivation. In addition to extending their previous research on the mechanisms of action of these botanical products in the brain, this Center will also seek to understand the role of the human gastrointestinal microflora (microbiome) in their activity, and in cognitive and psychological health more generally.
Botanicals and Metabolic Resiliency
Principal Investigator: William Cefalu, M.D.
Institution: Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Center website: http://www.botanical.pbrc.edu
Partner Institutions: North Carolina State University, Kannapolis; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick; University of Illinois at Chicago
Over the last 5 years this Center focused on the evaluation of botanicals to prevent metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. In the next 5 years the team will focus on the ability of botanicals to promote “metabolic resiliency,” the ability to maintain health in the presence of stressors such as high-fat diet or inflammation, and to study the mechanisms of action of the most promising botanicals in this context. This Center will also explore the role of the gastrointestinal microbiome in the biological effects of the products studied, which will include bitter melon and fenugreek.
Botanical Dietary Supplements for Women’s Health
Principal Investigator: Richard B. van Breemen, Ph.D.
Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
Center website: https://pharmacy.uic.edu/research/botanical-dietary-supplements
Established in 1999, this Center focuses on the safety and mechanisms of action of botanicals used by American women to maintain health and quality of life, especially during menopause. Previously, the team focused on the safety of commonly used dietary supplements such as black cohosh, hops, and licorice, and their effects on estrogenic hormones. In the next award period the team will advance its ground-breaking work on the characterization and standardization of complex botanical products, and on the interactions of those products with estrogens and with prescription drugs, with a continuing focus on safety.
Center for High-throughput Functional Annotation of Natural Products
Principal Investigators: John MacMillan, Ph.D., Roger Linington, Ph.D., and Michael White, Ph.D.
Institutions: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada: University of California, Santa Cruz
Center website: http://www.hifan.swmed.edu/
This team brings together experts in natural products chemistry, biological screening, data analytics, and bioinformatics to create a Center focused on use of innovative strategies to study the biological effects of natural products. To improve the speed, breadth, and precision of the chemical and biological characterization of natural products, the team will develop innovative, cell-based screening approaches to uncover bioactive molecules of interest and their corresponding molecular targets. A vital component of this Center will be the dissemination of primary data to the greater scientific community through a searchable, data-driven website.
Center for Natural Products Technologies (CENAPT)
Principal Investigator: Guido F. Pauli, Ph.D.
Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
Center website: http://cenapt.pharm.uic.edu/
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The primary objective of CENAPT is to coordinate the curation and dissemination of good research practices and state-of-the-art technologies for research on natural products. These activities will be pursued in coordination with the above-mentioned Center for High-throughput Functional Annotation of Natural Products. This center will also pioneer the application of cutting-edge bioanalytical methodologies to botanicals, develop innovative approaches to the holistic characterization of the metabolomic complexity of natural products, and share all of these efforts with the relevant research communities.
These Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Centers from 2010-2015 are continuing their work under a no-cost extension until August 31, 2016:
Mechanisms, Dose and Target Tissues
Principal Investigator: William Helferich, Ph.D.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Center website: http://vetmed.illinois.edu/botanical/index.html
Partner Institutions: University of Mississippi; Oregon State University, Corvallis; National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson
- Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Pathways of Botanical Estrogen Activity
- Botanical Estrogen Actions in Bone, Uterus, Mammary, and Breast Cancer Metastasis
- Botanical Estrogens and Cognitive Function
This center addresses safety, efficacy, and mechanism of action of botanical estrogens currently being consumed by women. The projects look at molecular mechanisms and cellular pathways of botanical estrogens and their actions on bone, uterus, mammary tissue, breast cancer metastasis, and cognition.
Botanical Interaction Studies
Principal Investigator: Dennis Lubahn, Ph.D.
Institution: University of Missouri, Columbia Center for Botanical Interaction Studies
Center website: http://botanicalresearch.missouri.edu
Partner Institution: Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
- Botanicals Targeting Signaling Pathways that Promote Prostate Cancer
- Botanical Phenolics Targeting Oxidative/Nitrosative Signaling Pathways: Implication for Cerebral Ischemia
- Antioxidant Botanicals and Antimicrobial Defenses
This center investigates the safety and efficacy of five botanical dietary supplements. The center's primary focus is antioxidant signaling and how it relates to other pathways and mechanisms of action in preventing prostate cancer and neurodegeneration, as well as improving resistance to infectious disease.
Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention
Principal Investigator: Floyd Chilton, Ph.D.
Institution: Wake Forest University
Partner Institutions: University of Colorado Health Sciences, Aurora; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Bent Creek Institute, Asheville; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
- Atheroprotective Mechanisms of Borage and Echium Oils
- Mechanisms of Actions of Botanical Lipids on Effector Cells of Asthma
- Role of Fatty Acid Desaturase Polymorphisms in Determining the Effectiveness of PUFA-based Botanical Supplements in Humans
The goal of this center in its second 5-year cycle is to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which botanical oils prevent or impact disease (cardiovascular disease, asthma and metabolic syndrome) with a particular focus on immunity and inflammation. The center will study different populations to determine where botanical lipids are most likely to be effective.