Thursday, October 10, 2013

Faces of Ethnobiology: Aurélie Jacquet

My name is Aurélie Jacquet. I am from France and I am currently working at Purdue University, Indiana. I am a Ph.D candidate and I work on Nepalese and Native Americans traditional medicines to help find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. If I have to choose three words to describe my work, I would say “hope”, “preservation”, “traditional medicines”.

It is always interesting for me to think about how I became an ethnobiologist. I have been asked the question several times and I believe I was meant to become what I became. I have always loved plants and one day I decided that I would study medicinal plants from around the world to make medicines for all. I was a teenager at that time, and later my dad brought me a newspaper article describing this very job I had imagined. That is how I planned and designed my studies to become an ethnopharmacologist.

One of my most memorable experiences was when a Native American offered me to smoke the sacred pipe. It was dark outside and he introduced me to the sacred ritual of the sacred pipe. It was absolutely amazing. However, every experience is unique and it was hard to choose just one! I hope more and more young people will get interested in our field to live these experiences by themselves and preserve these traditional practices.

My future plans are to, first of all finish my Ph.D research, and communicate my work as much as I can. The general public needs to know what we are doing to help us preserve what we care about. It is critical that scientists communicate their work through a variety of media, including this blog! I would like to later find a position in an academic environment to continue sharing and teaching ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology.

Some of my work explained to general audiences can be found here; also, please visit my photography website where I try to show the diversity and wonder of our world. 

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