Mary Ann Lila is Professor in Food Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science, North Carolina State University and Director of the Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, North Carolina. Dr. Lila’s research team is internationally recognized for isolation and characterization of bioactive, health-protective components from plants and their in vitro cultures. Plant cell and organ culture models are engineered to rapidly, predictably accumulate the same phytomedicinal complexes as the parent plants, but without many of the interfering compounds that complicate isolation and purification from nature. In addition, the metabolites (including flavonoids, isoflavones, and carotenoids) are radiolabeled in vitro and harvested to track their kinetics and metabolic fate in animal models. Dr. Lila’s team has extensive expertise in the structural chemical characterization of natural products and full access to one of the world’s most advanced NMR and LC-MS facilities.
Dr. Lila was elected to serve as the US correspondent for the International Association of Plant Biotechnology (1994-1998), as President of the Society for In Vitro Biology (2000-2002), and as a Fellow of the Society for In Vitro Biology (2003). She was previously Associate Director of the nationally acclaimed Functional Foods for Health Program (1997-2000). Dr. Lila has been honored with the Paul A. Funk Scholarship Recognition Award (the premier research award in her college), the Spitze Professorial Career Excellence Award, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, the University Scholar Award, the Amoco Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction, and the Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Lila has large ongoing research projects in Egypt, Central Asia, Oceania, Mexico and subSaharan Africa, and is Vice-President of the Global Institute for BioExploration (GIBEX). In 1999, Dr. Lila won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to conduct research and outreach in New Zealand, and returns to Australasia at least once/year.