Dr. Barbara Schmidt has a BS in Horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University and a MS in Plant Biology from Arizona State University. Her PhD is from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she studied phytochemistry with a focus on anticancer and antioxidant compounds from berries.
As a Postdoctoral Associate at Rutgers University, Dr. Schmidt worked on the International Cooperatives Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Central Asia project, performing bioassays on plant extracts from the region and identifying active compounds. Other collaborations included work with the University of Capetown investigating antimalarial compounds and testing extracts from Chile for wound healing properties.
Her ethnobotanical experience and phytochemical expertise lead to a position as Global Leader for Plant Biotechnology at a French cosmetics company. In this position, Dr. Schmidt searched the globe for new botanical raw materials and natural products that could be useful for the personal care industry. The diverse projects included production of Chinese mushrooms with anti-aging properties, polyphenolic pigments for hair dyes from Native American plants, chemical and genetic differences in Lavandin clones from France, investigating oils from Hawaiian microalgae as palm oil alternatives, Centella asiatica production and cultivar selection in Madagascar, fragrant resins from Mexico and the Philippines, and skin treatments from Ayurvedic medicine.
Dr. Schmidt has authored several peer-reviewed articles in the area of phytochemistry and ethnobotany including a commentary in Nature Chemical Biology. She is a contributing author to The Encyclopaedia of Obesity and Medicinal and Aromatic Crops: Production, Phytochemistry, and Utilization. She is the chief editor and author for the textbook Ethnobotany: A Phytochemical Perspective published in 2017 by John Wiley and Sons. She has been consulting for the personal care industry for the past six years as a project manager and regulatory consultant.