Rita Maria Moraes
Associate Research Professor, School of Pharmacy
The University of Mississippi, USA
Rita M. Moraes earned her Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in Horticulture with expertise on medicinal and aromatic plants, emphasis on micropropagation and tissue culture of endangered species. For the past nineteen years and six months, while working for the University Mississippi, she developed micropropagation protocols for the following species: Taxus spp., Narcissus, Hydrastis canadensis, Cimicifuga racemosa, Podophyllum peltatum, Echinacea, Smallanthus sonchifolius and Stevia rebaudiana. These protocols were established to propagate elite, high yielding plants to be developed as cultivars for agriculture in Mississippi. Some of the protocols were published, while others resulted in plants for field trials. Her work on medicinal crops prompted collaborations with scientists of several institutions including the Natural Products Research Unit, USDA, Mississippi State University and University of New England, and as secretary of Medicinal & Essential Oils Crop Germplasm Committee. In 2012, she was approved as faculty in a graduate program at the Food Science and Human Health Department, Mississippi State University. On the international arena, she has collaborated several Brazilian institutions including EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) scientists and academic researchers of Sao Paulo University, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo State University and University of Ribeirao Preto.
Aromatic compounds, Medicinal plants, plant tissue culture, germplasm preservation, domestication of native and exotic medicinal plant species and their development as cultivars for agriculture.