Meet Cynthia Hunefeld—Momentum Student Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist

HerbScience: Back to the future

Cynthia Hunefeld is on a mission to bring herbal medicine into the 21st Century with the help of modern science. With 20 years of experience in the field of integrative medicine and an academic background in ethnobotany, clinical herbal medicine and clinical research she identifies potential new medicines from a unique perspective.

Helping her father overcome an antibiotic resistant infection with the support of a plant extract was a defining moment for her, which has led to the discovery of an active constituent that can kill bacteria, and secondarily express poly-pharmacological actions to minimise the occurrence of single-step bacterial resistance, inhibit biofilm and bacterial adhesion, and ameliorate tissue damage at the same time.

Cynthia is currently studying towards her Masters in Innovation & Commercialization to establish the road for a novel plant-based for E. coli induced urinary tract infections (UTIs). She is aiming her innovation and commercialization pathway towards the development of a dietary supplement by 2020 and is working towards an evidence- based integrative medicine within the next 3 years.

UTIs are the most common bacterial infection world-wide that affects over 150 million people each year with a market value of 4.69 Bn. The World Health Organisation has indicated that there is a significant shortage of new medicines for E. coli induced UTIs and states that "Novel treatment regimens that are assembling non-toxic medicines are desperately needed".

The project has received recognition with a regional AMP scholarship and was awarded pre-seed funding by the Momentum advisory board.