June 5, 2009
ANDREOLI-WOOD CSULA LECTURE
AZTEC MEDICINE AND CULTURE: AN IMPORTANT FOUNDATION TO BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH
DR. ELOY RODRIGUEZ
James A. Perkins Endowed Professor Cornell University New York Abstract: In 1552, Martin de la Cruz, an Aztec herbal medical specialist, researched, wrote and illustrated the first medical text in the Americas on natural remedies. Today, in our laboratory at Cornell University, biomedical investigations of plants described for the treatment of breast tumors (as noted in the Aztec book) has resulted in the identification of novel natural alkaloids and spirocyclic lignans that induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells. In many ways, the MORE graduate investigators of CSULA must carry the tradition of Martin de la Cruz, and go beyond, and be far more transformative, transnational, transcultural and translational. Martin de la Cruz was beyond the times, he was brilliant, trilingual (Nahuatl, Spanish, Latin), an exquisite artist and more important, a humanist. Indeed, we all benefit from our cultural and scientific past, because it permits us to look into our future.