Pharmacy History in Wisconsin: Science, Society, & Psychedelics; Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Human Rights

Explore the Unknown!   
For October 20, 2021
Hi WN@TL Fans,
It’s mid-October, the time when the cornucopia of the gardener, the farmer, and the forager runneth over with the fall harvest.  The fruits of the vine and the work of human hands fill our cellars and larders, our wine bottles and canning jars.  This plenitude flows in part from the hands of the plant breeders, the horticulturalists and the agronomists who work in the experimental fields and the research laboratories of the agricultural experiment stations, including the one here founded in 1883 by statute of the Wisconsin Legislature.
Those denizens of the Capitol nearly 140 years ago also had another copia in mind:  the pharmacopeia.  The same pen strokes that inked to life the UW Ag Experiment Station in one phrase compounded the UW’s first chair of pharmacy and materia medica in the next. 
In my lifetime the word ‘pharmaceuticals’ has come to conjure visions of synthesized, chemically-defined drugs. But in 1883 the mortar and pestle wasn’t just for pepper and pesto:  the pharmacopeia often drew upon extracts of plants and, on occasion, of fungi.
Thirty years later, in 1913, the Legislature established the Pharmaceutical Experiment Station patterned after the Ag Experiment Station and featuring a medicinal plant garden that in its first rendition in 1909 had been located at Camp Randall, before football took to rooting there.
While the School of Pharmacy has been in continuous operation since 1883, the Pharmaceutical Experiment Station lapsed in 1933 when during the Depression the state funding dried up. The timing is ironic: this was the same year that Karl Paul Link of the Ag Experiment Station began his studies on extracts from moldy hay that led to Warfarin, one of the most widely-used drugs in the world.
Happily, the Pharmaceutical Experiment Station revivified in 2003.  Notably, the authorizing statute still calls for the cultivation of medicinal plants as a leading object of the Station.
In another twist of the great helix of life, this summer the School of Pharmacy launched the Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances to study, among other drugs, psilocybin (the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms) and MDMA (‘ecstacy’; synthesized starting with safrole extracted from the sassafras plant).
And so the sagas continue.  This week is National Pharmacy Week, and to help celebrate the occasion, Lucas Richert of the School of Pharmacy will speak this evening (October 20) on “Pharmacy History in Wisconsin: Science, Society, and Psychedelics.”
Description:  The history of pharmacy tradition in Wisconsin, which was initiated over a century ago, began with a belief that science should be taught alongside the humanities. This talk will share the unique story of innovation, interdisciplinarity, and the struggle to blend scientific training with the liberal arts at the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy. In the face of contemporary developments in psychedelic science and medicine on the UW campus, it is a tradition that continues to have relevance today. This talk will also provide an understanding of the Madison-based American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) and share some of the most interesting collections and specific items that might help scientists and historical researchers make strides together in the years ahead.

Bio:  Lucas Richert is George Urdang Chair in the History of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is also the Historical Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. His recent publications include Cannabis: Global Histories (The MIT Press, 2021) and Break on Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture (The MIT Press, 2019).

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We finish up October on the 27th with Sumudu Atapattu of the Law School speaking on “Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Human Rights.
Description:  From severe weather events to sea level rise, climate change is causing massive disruption around the world. While no nation or community will be spared these adverse consequences, not all nations and communities will experience these adverse consequences equally. 
Historically marginalized communities, poor people and poor countries will experience these consequences disproportionately, even when their contribution to climate change is relatively small, raising justice concerns. In the meantime, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, raising doubts about meeting the global commitment of limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In light of the need to take unprecedented, drastic and urgent action, Indigenous leaders recently called upon President Biden to declare a climate emergency.
Bio:  Sumudu Anopama Atapattu is the Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at UW Law School. She teaches in the area of International Environmental law and climate change and human rights . She holds an LL.M. (Public International Law) and a Ph.D. (International Environmental Law) from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.  
Her books include:  “Human Rights Approaches to Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities” (2015, Routledge, U.K); “International Environmental Law and the Global South” (2015, Cambridge University Press) (co-editor); and “Emerging Principles of International Environmental Law” (2006, Transnational Publishers, New York). 
She is affiliated with UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Global Health Institute, the Center for South Asia, and the 4W Initiative and was a visiting professor at Doshisha University Law School, Japan, in summer 2014 and Giessen University, Germany in summer 2016. She is also the Executive Director of the Human Rights Program at UW-Madison. 
We launch into November on the 3rd with a remarkable presentation that braids together three fields on a topic that’s new to me.  Taylor Seale, who recently completed her MPH, will speak on “Positive Youth Development at the Intersection of Arts and Public Health.”  
Description:  Taylor Seale identifies youth as key stakeholders for healthy community design efforts.  For her Master of Public Health thesis, Taylor worked with the newly developed Madison Youth Arts Center (MYARTS) and developed a toolkit called “Arts Access Toolkit: Building Resiliency Through Youth-Centered Creative Placemaking.” Join Taylor as she discusses evidence-based research, resiliency frameworks, and youth-centered design solutions of how organizations like MYARTS can best support youth health and well-being.
Bio:  Taylor (Nefcy) Seale is a recent graduate of the Master of Public Health program at UW-Madison, and simultaneously received an Arts in Public Health certificate from the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida. In addition, she has a BA in Theatre and Business Administration from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

She is passionate about how the arts intersect public health initiatives, particularly how the arts can be used as evidence-based methods for healthy community design and building resiliency in youth. For her MPH thesis, she worked with the newly developed Madison Youth Arts Center (MYArts) and developed a toolkit called Arts Access Toolkit: Building Resiliency Through Youth-Centered Creative Placemaking. She provided evidence-based research, resiliency frameworks, and youth-centered solutions and recommendations of how MYArts can best support youth health and well-being through the arts.

Before becoming a Community Youth Development Educator at UW’s Division of Extension, Taylor worked with various community organizations such as Achieving Collaborative Treatment, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Children’s Theatre of Madison. Most recently, she served as a research associate for the Center for Arts in Medicine where supported a CDC senior advisor in creating field guides for how to utilize arts and culture for COVID-19 vaccine confidence and health communication strategies. She is excited to join the Extension team, and looks forward to building community collaborations that align youth advocacy, the arts, and public health.

Remember, we’ve now shifted to Hybrid so we can both Zoom and gather in one Room—Room 1111 Genetics Biotech Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison WI.
Please share this missive with your friends & neighbors. 
If you’ll be watching for the first time, please register for the WN@TL Zoom at 
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Continue to use the link found in the confirmation message Zoom sent you when you first registered.
WN@TL begins at 7:00pm Central
You can also watch the web stream at for one last time on October 20.  The web stream thereafter will redirect viewers to the WN@TL YouTube livestream.
Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H