Jeffrey Langland, PhD has been the instructor for Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Concepts in Research courses for the past 12 years at Sonoran University of Health Sciences (Sonoran University), and also serves as the Research Department Chair. Additionally, Dr. Langland is joint faculty at the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute.
After graduating from Arizona State University with a doctorate degree in molecular virology, he was a post-doctoral fellow at University of California Davis studying oncolytic viruses, followed by a post-doctoral position at the University of Wyoming comparing similarities between plant and human defenses against viruses. Dr. Langland returned to Arizona State where he instructed several courses including General Virology and The Biology of AIDS, until becoming faculty at Sonoran University in 2007.
Why did you choose to be faculty at a naturopathic institution?
“I spent the first 20 years of my career doing research in understanding how the body combats viral infections and helping to develop improved vaccines. This portion of my career was rewarding and led to success and recognition in the field, but it was personally lacking related to how my research could make a difference in society. When I joined Sonoran University in 2007, I wanted to apply my expertise in molecular biology to botanical medicine. At that time our lab was working on the virus responsible for smallpox. Scouring through the literature, we found an article published in The Lancet journal in 1862 about a botanical remedy for smallpox. We got a hold of this botanical, a carnivorous pitcher plant, and not only found it could inhibit smallpox replication, but we also defined the exact mechanism of action for the botanical. From here, I went on to show this botanical could also kill other viruses, including herpes and papillomaviruses. But this is not where it ended. We worked with naturopathic doctors and were able to use this botanical to treat patients with cold sores, shingles and cervical dysplasia. Moving our research from the laboratory to patient care changed my career. The outcomes of my research directly improve people’s lives. No longer is my research ‘trapped’ and lost after being published in a journal, but rather it is being used to improve the field of botanical medicine and the options available for treatment.”
What can students learn from you?
“I mentor students in evidence-based botanical medicine research and train residents in the preparation of case studies. With my background in research, I try to bring new insight and a cutting-edge approach to research and teaching for students and to the field of naturopathic medicine.
I try to get my students to think outside the box in trying to understand and apply concepts to create a foundation of knowledge that can then be utilized to solve problems. I don’t want my students to memorize the material I present; I want them to understand it and be able to apply that understanding to other courses, their patients, and their future career.”
In the summer of 2020, the campus at Sonoran University will undergo a major change with the opening of the Rick Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research. I will become the Research Director. This Institute will change the field of botanical medicine and advance our knowledge and understanding of botanicals to a new level. The Institute’s mission is inspired by nature to create novel botanical solutions that support people, the planet, and plants. Unlike any other naturopathic institution, the Research Institute’s analytical and bioassay laboratories will elucidate the mechanism of action of botanicals, optimize botanical extraction methodology, identify active constituents, and add quality control for botanical therapies. By deciphering the specific mechanism of action of herbs, novel botanical blends will be designed and traditional formulas optimized to target different aspects of diseases. Our research team, which includes Sonoran University students, will broaden our understanding and discovery of new botanical therapies for a multitude of global health concerns, as well as providing students with opportunities to sharpen their critical thinking skills, offer unique insights into the realm of botanical therapies, and exposure to career opportunities.”
What aspects of naturopathic medicine are you passionate about?
“The field of naturopathic medicine needs research. The field is rich in tradition and historical use of botanicals for treating an array of diseases. However, in today’s world, botanical medicine especially is filled with products on the market which are adulterated or filled with false claims. I appreciate and love the value of botanical medicine. But the public, and our naturopathic doctors, need to be using products with proven efficacy. With today’s research capabilities, botanicals can be taken to a new level to understand their precise mechanism of action and synergistic effects. Botanicals on the market need to be standardized and manufactured under quality measures to make sure patients are receiving efficacious remedies. I believe in the use of scientific exploration grounded in clinical herbalism’s rich tradition to develop new botanical products and improve existing botanical therapeutics.”
What advice do you have for prospective ND students?
“The public is demanding treatments for their medical conditions beyond the traditional allopathic or pharmaceutical approaches. The field of naturopathic medicine is often times the answer. Getting an ND degree can put you into this growing field of medicine. But students need to understand this is a real medical school. The courses and studies are demanding. So, come in prepared.” Additionally, you need to have the “motivation and ambition to learn and continue to learn. Believe in yourself and seek advice and support from others. Your peers, friends and family need to be part of your life to keep pushing you to succeed.”
Learn more about Dr. Langland’s research
Cahill, T., Ruiz, G., Turner, T., Wagner, C., Jacobs, B., and Langland, J. (2018). Antiviral activity of metal chelates of caffeic acid and similar compounds towards herpes simplex and ebola viruses. Antiviral Research 160:143-150.
Turner, T., Alonso, J., Wise, J., Naser, G., Jeffries, B., Arnold, K., Morin, T., Chen, M., Fiorillo, M., Finazza, T., Sukhorukov, E., Ford, M., Clark, D., Stein, A., Drought, K. Steen, T., Wright, B., Irwin, R., Ruiz, G., Kozin, A., Nelson, E., and Langland, J.O. (2018). Botanicals with potential efficacy against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Phytotherapy Res. 2018 Sep 25 doi: 10.1002/ptr.6198
Nelson, E., Lasku, A. and Langland, J.O. (2017). Treatment of an Athlete’s Plantar Warts using a Synergistic Botanical Blend: A case report. Alt Ther Health Med 23:51-54.
Ruiz, G., Turner, T., Nelson, E., Sparks, L., and Langland, J. (2017). Development of resistance to antimicrobial botanicals. Journal of Evolution and Health: Vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 3. https://doi.org/10.15310/2334-3591.1065
Nelson, E., Kozin, A., Ruiz, G., Turner, T. and Langland, J.O (2016). Quality control of botanical tinctures: Endogenous bacterial flora present in botanical extractions. J. Alt. Comp and Integrative Med. 2: 012 DOI: 10.24966/ACIM-7562/100012 .
Ruiz, G., Nelson, E., Kozin, A., Turner, T., Waters, R., and Langland, J.O. (2016). A lack of bioactive predictability for marker compounds commonly used for herbal medicine preparation. Plos One 11(7):e0159857
Denzler, K., Huynh T., Jacobs, B., and Langland, J. (2016). Melissa officinalis extract inhibits herpes simplex virus I glycoprotein B interaction with heparin sulfate. Herbal Medicine: Open Access Vol 2, No 2:12.
Denzler, K., Moore, J., Harrington, H., Waters, R., White, S., Morrill, K., and Langland, J. (2016). Characterization of the physiological response following in vivo administration Astragalus membranaceus. Evid. Based Comp. Alt. Med. Vol 2016,6861078. doi: 10.1155/2016/6861078
Ferreira, V., Dickerson. W., Farr, D., Barraza, M., Banker, R., Dutton, J., Cervigni, M., Willhauck, M., Tifre, L., Mayman, S., Stone, S., Bushman, S., Hull, G., Morgan, R., Hoover, T., Mittman, A., Sparks, L., Smithers, J., Miles, D., Calvert, D., and Langland, J.O. (2016). Characterization of the effect of botanical tinctures and oils on the growth and differentiation of Candida albicans. Herbal Medicine: Open Access Vol 2, No 2:14.
Ferreira, V., Ruiz, G., Jacobs, B.L., Denzler, K., Waters, R., Chamberlain, R., Proefrock, K.J., and Langland, J.O. (2016). Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (common warts) with a synergistic botanical blend: case report. Nat. Doc. News and Review (May, 2016).
Snowden, R., Jeane, L., Morrill, K., Garrity, J., Orian, M., Lopez, E., Rezaie, S., Hassberger, K., Familoni, D., Harrington, H., Moore, J., Virdee, K., Albornoz-Sanchez, L., Walker, M., Cavins, J., Russell, T., Guse, E., Reker, M., Tschudy, O., Wolf, J., True, T., Ukaegbu, O., Ahaghotu, E., Jones, A., Rochon, Y., Waters, R., and Langland, J. (2014). Comparative anti-Staphylococcus aureus activity of commonly used botanical extracts. J. Alt. Medicine 20:375-382.
Morrill, K., May, K., Leek, D., Langland, N., Jeane, L., Ventura, J., Skubisz, C., Scherer, S., Lopez, E., Crocker, E., Peters, R., Oertle, J., Nguyen, K., Just, S., Phair, M., Humphrey, M., Payne, D., Jacobs, B., Waters, R, Langland, J. (2012 Sep 27). Spectrum of Antimicrobial Activity Associated with Colloidal Silver. J. Alt. Medicine 19: 224-231.
Arndt, W., Mitnik, C., Denzler, K.L., Waters, R.F., Jacobs, B.L., Rochon, Y., and Langland, J.O. (2012). Rediscovery of a 19th century cure for smallpox. PLOS ONE 7(3):e32610. Epub 2012 Mar 9.