Pharm.D. (six years)


Leadership Studies


Leibovitz, Elizabeth

Advisor Department

Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences




medicine, fungi, pharmacy, plants, pharmacognosy, natural products

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


The Heber W. Youngken Jr. Medicinal Garden is a one-of-a-kind resource that houses close to 300 medicinal plants and is filled to the brim with educational opportunities. For the College of Pharmacy, this garden has been the centerpiece of many classes taught here at the University of Rhode Island and has roots as a physical teaching space. While the garden contains a plethora of plant species, medicinal fungi have yet to have been included in the garden, despite their relevance as both sources of pharmaceutical drug discovery and as natural products with inherent physiological benefits themselves. The purpose of my project is to integrate medicinal fungi species into the Heber W. Youngken Jr. Medicinal Garden in the College of Pharmacy, and to shed light on the importance and current day relevance of medicinal fungi when it comes to dietary supplements as well as both holistic and alternative health practices.

For integration, I selected five different species of fungi with unique medicinal properties to research including Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Beard Lichens (Usnea sp.), Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi, G. lucidum/tsugae), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). Individual scientific monographs were constructed, detailing various aspects of each species including their pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, ecology, description, primary and traditional uses, and more. Species were then either collected, foraged in nature, or grown through pre-inoculated kits to create samples of each fungus. Wooden garden signs were also designed and created to denote future location in the physical garden space. Lastly, dietary supplement forms of each species were obtained as examples of commercial products that are readily available on the shelves of local community pharmacies for educational purposes. All information will be stored and accessible through a future medicinal garden web application that is currently in development.