Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Dr. Fabricio Medina-Bolivar

Professor of Metabolic Engineering


  • B.S. - 1992 - Biology, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
  • Ph.D. - 1997 - Plant Physiology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA

Professional Credentials

  • American Council for Medicinally Active Plants
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Courses Taught

  • Specialized Biochemistry
  • Biosafety and Ethics in Research
  • Biology of the Cell Laboratory
  • Plant Physiology
  • Applications of Biotechnology
  • Advanced Cell Biology (team taught)
  • Independent Study: Hairy Roots 
  • Independent Study: Phytochemical Methods
  • Independent Study: Plant Tissue Culture
  • Techniques in Molecular Biosciences: HPTLC and HPLC
  • Techniques in Molecular Biosciences: Plant Transformation

Research Interests

Discovery and Production of Natural Products with Applications in Human Health

Dr. Medina-Bolivar's research is at the interface of plant biotechnology and medicine. His research involves the use of hairy roots for the production and discovery of natural products with important applications in human health.

Hairy roots are “immortalized” plant tissue culture systems that reproduce the biosynthetic capacity of intact plants. Using a combination of approaches, his research team has developed strategies to increase the levels of selected bioactive natural products in hairy roots by more than 1,000 times when compared to the parental plant.  This patented technology allows for the sustainable production of compounds that are being tested for different bioactivities including anticancer, antiviral and anti-obesity properties.

For more information about Dr. Medina-Bolivar’s research, check his TEDx talk:


Current Research Projects

  • Elucidation of the biosynthesis of bioactive prenylated stilbenoids in peanut
  • Metabolic engineering of muscadine grape and tobacco for the production of prenylated stilbenoids
  • Prenylated stilbenoids as potential chemopreventive and therapeutic agents for breast cancer
  • Anti-obesity properties of prenylated stilbenoids from peanut
  • Anti-rotavirus properties of prenylated stilbenoids (collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Parr at Stephen F. Austin State University)
  • Plant tissues as scaffolds for human cells (collaboration with Dr. Glenn Gaudette at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Dr. Bill Murphy at University of Wisconsin-Madison)