John de la Parra

Open Agriculture (OpenAg)
  • Research Lead, Open Ag

Dr. John de la Parra grew up on a farm in rural Alabama, with his family originating from México. His grandmother’s early teachings on plants inspired him to become an ethnobotanist working with indigenous populations to understand how phenotypic selection influences plant-based drug discovery and food choice.

John currently holds an appointment as an Associate at Harvard University, within the Harvard University Herbaria where he heads up the Harvard Herbariome Project. He is also a Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program at Tufts University where he teaches Environmental Fieldwork and the course “Medicinal Plants: From the Sacred to the Scientific.” He is the author of a forthcoming book by the same name (Springer Nature, 2019). In addition, he holds a research appointment and lecturer position within the Biotechnology Program at  Northeastern University's Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northeastern University.

John believes that the Open Agriculture Initiative stands at the vibrant intersection of the interdependent study of plants, cultures… View full description

Dr. John de la Parra grew up on a farm in rural Alabama, with his family originating from México. His grandmother’s early teachings on plants inspired him to become an ethnobotanist working with indigenous populations to understand how phenotypic selection influences plant-based drug discovery and food choice.

John currently holds an appointment as an Associate at Harvard University, within the Harvard University Herbaria where he heads up the Harvard Herbariome Project. He is also a Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program at Tufts University where he teaches Environmental Fieldwork and the course “Medicinal Plants: From the Sacred to the Scientific.” He is the author of a forthcoming book by the same name (Springer Nature, 2019). In addition, he holds a research appointment and lecturer position within the Biotechnology Program at  Northeastern University's Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northeastern University.

John believes that the Open Agriculture Initiative stands at the vibrant intersection of the interdependent study of plants, cultures, and the environment. The mission of the project is an excellent addition to what John has recently coined "ethnophytotechnology" in the journal Trends in Biotechnology. As such, it stands to ensure that future generations—of diverse backgrounds—will have access to a platform that provides meaningful engagement with the practice of ethnobotanical research.