Director and Wm. L. Brown Curator:

Rainer Bussmann is an ethnobotanist, vegetation ecologist, and conservationist. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Bayreuth, and a M.S. from University of Tübingen (Germany). Before coming to the WLBC, Dr. Bussmann held academic appointments as a Research Fellow in Geography and the Environment at UT Austin, Associate Professor and Scientific Director of Harold Lyon Arboretum at University of Hawaii, and as Assistant Professor at University of Bayreuth. Currently, Dr Bussmann focuses his efforts on ethnobotanical research and the preservation of the ecological diversity and cultural heritage in threatened regions of South America, East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
webpage: click here



Staff Photos

Alice H. Brown Curator of Ethnobotany:

Jan Salick, Ph.D., works on ecological ethnobotany, in situ indigenous management and conservation of cassava germplasm, and in situ sustainability of Tibetan plant genetic resources in southwestern China. She is a Past President of the Society for Economic Botany and on the boards of the Association for Tropical Biology and International Union of Biological Sciences, and on the Committee on Traditional Knowledge and Science of the International Council of Scientific Unions.
webpage: click here



Jan Salick





Armand Randrianasolo, Ph.D., is an authority on the flora of Madagascar, particularly members of the cashew family, the Anacardiaceae.
webpage: click here



Associate Curator:



Wendy Applequist, Ph.D., works on the authentication, taxonomy, conservation, and chemical variability of medicinal plants and conducts systematic studies of endemic plants of Madagascar.
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Research Specialists:



Tefy H. Andriamihajarivo facilitates all conservation activities at Analavelona, a sacred forest. He works also on the forest's botany, while maintaining good relationships with the local community and others working at the site. He is interested in taxonomy and the endemic plants of Madagascar.

Tefy H. Andriamihajarivo


Miandry Fagnarena manages the fieldwork for the Analavelona project. He is a native of Analavelona, and he maintains the relationship with the elders, helps all students and researchers in the field. He assures the monitoring of all community based activities.

Miandry Fagnarena


Eric Feltz recently joined the Brown Center. He has 10 years experience at MBG and will be managing the WLBC DNA Bank, several of our collections, and doing fieldwork.


Eric Feltz


Ashley Glenn received a B.S. in Botany from Colorado State Univ. She manages the WLBC's Sacred Seeds and American Indian Ethnobotany programs.
webpage: click here


Ashley Glenn


Jessica Griffard received her B.A. in English, Anthropology, Spanish at University of Missouri, St. Louis. She manages WLBC's Andean and Amazonian Ethnobotany program.





Jessica Griffard


Robbie Hart earned his B.A. in Linguistics at Swarthmore College. He's conducted fieldwork in Nepal, and studied how systems of traditional ecological knowledge are packaged in indigenous languages. Robbie manages the WLBC's Himalayan and Caucasus Ethnobotany programs.
webpage: click here


Robbie Hart


Alyse R. Kuhlman, B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, manages the DNA Bank, organizes the ICBG Madagascar collection in the herbarium, and coordinates the Madagascar Ethnobotany program with the MBG-Antananaraivo office. Through the Madagascar Ethnobotany program, Alyse supports graduate students from the Univ. of Madagascar in ethnobotanical field training. She is interested in the use of plants in traditional medicine and home gardens, small scale agriculture, and food recipes.
webpage: click here


Alyse R. Kuhlman


Fortunat Rakotoarivony manages the WLBC’s project at Ambalabe, Madagascar. He also facilitates good relations between MBG, local government, and partner organizations. Fortunat also supervises local students studying ethnobotany.

Fortunat Rakotoarivony

Lucien Rasoaviety coordinates all the field work for the Ambalabe project in Madagascar and maintains the WLBC's good relationship with the community and others working at the site.


Lucien Rasoaviety


Aina Razanatsima is a field botanist monitoring the permanent plot in Ambalabe forest and conducting the plant inventory.



Aina Razanatsima


Andrew Townesmith, MS in Botany. The focus of his work has been the relationship between people and plants. He is also interested in biodiversity informatics., esp. enhancing access to the biodiversity data that is currently available. He has done field work in the Northwestern US, New England, and Central America.

Andrew Townesmith


Research Associates:


Trish Flaster is the Executive Director of Botanical Liaisons, LLC, and is a professionally trained ethnobotanist. She has worked in the natural products industry since 1973 and has been a pioneer in implementing botanical standards and integrating cultural knowledge into Dietary Supplements and Pharmaceutical research.



Trish Flaster


Dr. Sarah K. Khan is the director of Tasting Cultures Foundation, and has for years closely cooperated with us in the development of programs and activities in relation to traditional food use.

Sarah K. Khan


Dr. Will McClatchey. A colleague of Rainer Bussmann's at the University of Hawaii, Will is now the Vice President of Science at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, and is also a member of the WLBC advisory board. He is currently working with the Brown Center on a proposal for a comparative study of traditional health practices, sustainability of plant use, and neglected crops in Central and Southeast Asia.


Will McClatchey


Betty Millán Salazar. The WLBC is closely collaborating w/Betty Millan and the Museo de Historia Natural in Peru to establish a permanant ethnobotany course in the graduate curriculum of UMSA.

Betty Millán Salazar


Narel Yaroslava Paniagua Zambrana is a doctoral student at the Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia. She has worked in close collaboration with the WLBC on several ethnobotanical research projects in southern Peru and Bolivia.


Narel Paniagua


Dr. Doug Sharon is one of the foremost experts on South American Shamanism. He and Rainer Bussmann have worked together for decades, and are continuing to research medicinal plant use in Peru and Ecuador.



Doug Sharon


Carolina Téllez is a botanist and conservationist. Carolina participates in WLBC’s field collection program and coordinates the collection activities of WLBC in Peru, including specimen processing and identification, as well as the permitting process.


Carolina Téllez


Dr. Will Tuladhar-Douglas studies ecosocial anthropology, ethnobiology, and the conservation of biocultural diversity; he is working with Rainer Bussmann in the Himalayan region and Nepal.


Will Tuladhar-Douglas


Dr. Ina Vandebroek is a colleague from New York Botanical garden, and has done great work on traditional plant use in the Andes and amongst the Caribbean communities in NY, as well as on the interface of traditional medicine and public health. We have worked together for years, and are currently working on a proposal for a comparative study of traditional health practices, sustainability of plant use, and the incorporation of medicinal species in health programs in Peru, Bolivia and possibly Ecuador.

Ina Vandebroek


Carlos Vega coordinates all the field logistics for the Chilchos floristics and conservation coffee project and maintains the WLBC's good relationship with the community and others working at the site. As president of WLBC’s partner NGO INBIAPERU, Carlos is implementing WLBC’s conservation efforts in the Amazonas and San Martin regions, and is responsible for the market development of conservation products.

Carlos Vega


Karen Meyer Walker received a B.S. in Botany from BYU and an M.S. in Biological Sciences from SD State Univ. She has conducted field research in the Kingdom of Tonga, West Africa, and Bolivia. At the WLBC, she will be identifying and collecting plants of North America for the ongoing collaboration projects with NCNPR at the Univ. of Mississippi.
webpage: click here


Karen Meyer


Malagasy Graduate Students:

Nivo H. Rakotoarivelo is a PhD student at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar. She earned her DEA (French system) in Ecology there, where she studied the endemic species of the genus Nesogordonia. Now, she is conducting an ethnobotanical study on the useful plants of Vohibe forest with a focus on the most important plants that have multiple uses to ensure their sustainable use and their future conservation.


Nivo H. Rakotoarivelo


Tabita Randrianarivony, Phd student at University of Antananarivo. She earned her DEA diploma there as well, studying the ecology and habitat of Madagascar’s Vaccinium. She has a MS in biotechnology from the University of Aix Marseille. Her interest in people's use of plants grew out of a course in ethnobotany at the university. She currently studies the various ways people use plants in the Analavelona sacred forest, a newly protected area in southwestern Madagascar. She is a member of a Malagasy ethnopharmacological association.

Tabita Randrianarivony

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