Walking the halls of the Oxford Convention Center (OCC) for the annual International Conference on the Science of Botanicals (ICSB) one quickly learns that the community gathered by Dr. Ikhlas Khan, Director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, is both incredibly intelligent and completely dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of botanicals. Among the academics, clinical researchers, regulatory agencies, and lab instrumentation experts this year were five of doTERRA’s own scientists. They took center stage on day three of the conference to discuss the science behind essential oils and what doTERRA is doing to take purity, quality, and consistency to a new level.
ICSB is an annual meeting in Oxford, Mississippi that brings together industry and scientific experts to discuss approaches for post market surveillance, risk and safety assessment, quality control and adverse event reporting (AER) for botanical dietary supplements (BDS) and natural products, as well as regulatory aspects with perspectives from government, manufacturers, and trade associations.After COVID-19 impacted in-person attendance the past two years, the 20th annual ICSB welcomed hundreds back to the OCC and the University of Mississippi.
Bringing real science to the conference
doTERRA’s presence at ICSB became a key strategic initiative under the leadership of doTERRA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Russell Osguthorpe, with the focus on one goal:to showcase the company’s real science and scientists.
“In order to be seen as a science-centered organization within the community, we realized that we needed to bring real science to ICSB,” said Dr. Osguthorpe. “Given significant time on stage in front of this type and quality of audience required us to look at how we can add value to an event like this. Ultimately, we are a science-based company and we brought people who can speak the language and contribute to the overall industry conversation. We delivered on our goal at this year’s conference.”
Becoming a respected scientific voice in the botanical industry
The agenda for the conference included sessions on dietary supplements in sports, perspectives from the Federal Drug Administration, plant sustainability and conservation, and botanical safety. Day three highlighted three doTERRA presenters during an exclusive session on essential oils. Dr. Osguthorpe kicked off the session, followed by Nicole Stevens, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Research; and Prabodh Satyal, Ph.D., Head of Essential Oil Science. For an hour, the three presented back-to-back-to-back on the main stage talking specifically about the need for purity, consistency, and scientific validation in the essential oil marketplace, and highlightedspecific clinical research and adulteration research conducted by dōTERRA scientists. There was not another company or organization that equaled the amount of stage time.
In addition to the on-stage presentations, Brittany Graf, Ph.D., doTERRA Managing Scientist over essential oil development and Cecile Bascoul, Ph.D., Director of Product Safety, presented research as part of scientific poster abstract night. The poster featured research on trends in Furanocoumarin—a class of organic chemical compounds produced by a variety of plants—profiles among commercial-scale essential oils and allowed doTERRA’s scientists to engage with other researchers, science students, and industry professionals. Stevens also served as one of the poster judges for the event that awarded prizes to student scientists for their research posters.
For Dr. Osguthorpe and the doTERRA team, the presentations and participation were critical steps in becoming a respected scientific voice within the industry’s scientific community.
“To witness our scientists present relevant and timely information about essential oils; to hear the reaction of the audience to the data; and to have the types of questions and comments following the presentations was really validating for our team and for doTERRA,” he added. “We took major steps forward as a company by having a presence at ICSB and then delivering on our commitment to science. As one of only a few private companies in attendance, we strengthened doTERRA’s position as a leader and as a company that really does walk the talk. We showcased great work and great science.”
To top off the event, among all the attendees, Graf took first place in the conference’s National Science Foundation quiz, with Bascoul and Stevens tying for second.