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Howes, Melanie-Jayne R.

Photo of Melanie-Jayne Howes
Job title: 

Research pharmacist/phytochemist

Sustainable Uses
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BPharm (Hons), King's College London, 1996
  • PhD, Pharmacy, King's College London, 2001
  • Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (MRPharmS), 1997
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC), 2007
  • Visiting lecturer, Department of Pharmacy, King's College London, 2003-

Development, evaluation and application of appropriate analytical techniques for the purpose of authentication and quality assessment of plant material, and the detection of known pharmacologically active compounds. Responding to external enquiries and project targets with the collation and evaluation of information, regarding pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, toxicology, medicinal plants and their pharmacological activities and regulatory status. Dissemination of information via scientific publications on the subjects of phytochemistry and pharmacology, with a particular focus on bioactivity of naturally-derived compounds and authentication. Teaching techniques in phytochemistry and pharmacognosy at Kew and at other institutes (MPharm degree). Research interest in structure-activity relationships, with emphasis on naturally-derived acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and collaboration with other institutes on related research projects.

Selected publications: 

Williams, P., Sorribas, A., Howes, M.-J.R. (2011). Natural products as a source of Alzheimer’s drug leads. Natural Product Reports 28: 48-77. Available online

Burns, A., Perry, E., Holmes, C., Francis, P., Morris, J., Howes, M.-J.R., Chazot, P., Lees, G., Ballard, C. (2011). A double-blind placebo-controlled randomised trial of Melissa officinalis oil and donepezil for the treatment of agitation in Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders 31: 158-164. Available online

Howes, M.-J.R., Kite, G.C., Simmonds, M.S.J. (2009). Distinguishing Chinese star anise from Japanese star anise using thermal desorption-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57: 5783-5789. Available online

Kite, G.C., Howes, M.-J.R., Simmonds, M.S.J. (2004). Metabolomic analysis of saponins in crude extracts of Quillaja saponaria by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry for product authentication. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 18: 2859-2870. Available online

Howes, M.-J.R., Simmonds, M.S.J., Kite, G.C. (2004). Evaluation of the quality of sandalwood essential oils by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A 1028: 307-312. Available online