Charles A. Veltri, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Midwestern University
College of Pharmacy
Pharmaceutical Sciences
Glendale Hall 236-14
19999 N. 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (623) 572-3589


Ph.D. Medicinal Chemistry University of Utah 2009
B.S. Biology University of Puget Sound 1998


In the simplest terms, Natural Products are chemicals made by organisms. There is a class of compounds known as primary metabolites, such as amino acids and sugars which are obligatory for life. However, Natural Products do not appear to be fundamental for the survival of the organisms; therefore, they are referred to as secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are expensive to make because they require utilization of multiple enzyme systems and consist of complex chemistry. There are many theories as to why organisms would invest in expensive metabolites not necessary for survival. These range from disposal of waste materials from primary metabolism, to chemical defense strategies, to pheromones for social and reproductive behaviors. It is generally accepted that Natural Products convey a survival advantage to the producing organisms. If Natural Products are synthesized to gain a survival advantage, it is reasonable to assume they have a natural target.

Throughout human history, Natural Products have played an enormous role in medicine and health. Since our earliest ancestors chewed on herbs to relieve pain or wrapped leaves around wounds to improve healing, Natural Products have often been the sole means to treat diseases and injuries. It has only been during the past few decades that Natural Products have taken a secondary role in drug discovery and development; however, nature continues to provide excellent drug leads and should be continued to be explored for drug leads. The plants found in the Sonoran Desert are excellent sources of a variety of chemistry and need to be explored further for drug development. The ultimate goal of my research is aimed at exploring phytochemistry and ethnopharmacology derived from the Sonoran Desert flora to discover and develop novel therapeutic agents from Natural Products for the treatment of human diseases.

Research projects


Students in my lab work on extracting and purifying Natural Products from a variety of plant samples. They are developing a rapid and streamlined method for the extraction and purification of Natural Products by tying together multiple methods found in the literature. Students are utilizing microwave assisted extraction to decrease the time of extraction and allow for extractions to be performed using a variety of solvent systems. The goal of this portion of their projects is to decrease the extraction time and also attempt to extract new and interesting chemistry that has been missed due to the limitations of other extraction techniques. The students then develop a 4-step HP20 chromatography method to perform a crude separation of the phytochemistry. These four fractions are then further purified using LC-MS. Currently students are working on a variety of plant samples ranging from Hops varieties, to herbs, to Sonoran Desert plants.

Award Honors

Professional Organizations

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE)
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Advancing Science Serving Society (AAAS)
American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)
American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP)
Phytochemical Society of North America (PSNA)
Society of Ethnobiology (SoE)


Pharmacy & Pharmacology International Journal-Associate Editor

Selected Publications