Carolyn Dadabay, Ph.D. » The College of Idaho

Mentor Information

Name: Carolyn Dadabay, Ph.D.
Institution: The College of Idaho
Department: Chemistry
Phone: (208) 459-5228


My primary research interest is in the family of plant derived compounds known as flavonoids.  Dietary flavonoids, such as found in tea chocolate, berries and brightly colored vegetables, are associated with lowered susceptibility to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other degenerative diseases.  While flavonoids are known to be powerful antioxidants in vitro, their mechanism of action at the cellular level remains unclear.   We have found that the sagebrush populations in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon produce high levels and a wide variety of flavonoids.  My interest is in characterization  of the flavonoid production profiles of local sagebrush populations, and to identify unusual or novel flavonoid compounds through analysis of plant extracts.   The sagebrush-derived flavonoids fractions are screened for bioactivities that have the potential for therapeutic development:  antioxidant activity; affect on cellular GSH levels and detoxification pathways, and ability to inhibit proliferation.  These bioactivities were chosen because of the known beneficial relations between flavonoids and diseases with a component of oxidative stresses (heart disease) and cellular proliferations (cancer).  In addition to value in understanding the health benefits of flavonoids, the characterization and comparison of flavonoid production proflies in sagebrush could be a useful tool for identification and interpretation of infragenic relationships in closely related subspecies.

Minimum Classes:

General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry , Introductory Biology


1.  Gather various sagebrush specimans from communities growing in southwestern Idaho and northeastern Oregon.  Prepare polyphenolic extracts.  Compare polyphenol production in different species and tissues using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).  Carry out statistical evaluation of similarities and differences in polyphenol production in different sagebrush species.

2.  Identify polyphenolic compounds produced in sagebrush using a variety of analytical techniques:  Ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and HPLC.

3.  Determine whether polyphenolic compounds extracted from wild sagebrush exhibit biological activity when used to treat cultured cells.  Biological activities to be tested include effects on intracellular oxidation state and cell proliferation.