Journal of Undergraduate Research


bioactivity of secondary metabolites, Alaskan Fungus, Phellinus igniarius


Life Sciences


Plant and Wildlife Sciences


Drug testing is one of the most important activities of the Life Sciences. As biotechnological resources like genetically modified mice or artificial skin become more commonplace and accessible to drug researchers, testing has become more efficient. One of the reoccurring problems, though, is that for new drugs to be tested they must first be found. Research has shown that plants and fungi are the best places to look: over 70 percent of drugs that have been introduced in the last quarter century have been derived from natural resources (Newman& Cragg 2012). Notable examples such as Taxol from the Yew tree, Aspirin from the Willow tree, Codeine from the Opium poppy, and Digitalis from the European foxglove prove that it is productive and beneficial to consider natural resources for drug discovery. Drug discovery to combat cancer is a current “hot spot” of research, and because many treatments for various types of cancer have come from natural sources, our study aimed at doing the same. Some studies had shown that an Asian/European fungus, Phellinus igniarius, had potential to stop cancerous cells from growing (Song, Lin, Yang, & Hu 2008). The overall goal of this study was to explore the biological effects of the Alaskan variety of Phellinus igniarius by testing it to determine activity against cancer cells to prompt further research in the fungi.