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Nature’s Laboratory at The International Propolis Research Group Conference in Istanbul

06 December 2023

What is the International Propolis Research Group (IPRG)?

The IPRG is an international organisation with the aims of guiding the work of researchers, apiculturists, manufacturers and formulators to explore the many properties of propolis in human and bee health and in agriculture and to organise international conferences dedicated to the further understanding and exploration of propolis.

The IPRG 2023 Conference – Propolis, Past, Present & Future Medicine

The International Propolis Research Group (IPRG) held its 3rd physical conference in Istanbul, Turkiye on 9th, 10th and 11th November this year. In 2021 & 2022, due to the pandemic, the conference was held online, facilitated by Nature’s Laboratory. This year, the conference was sponsored by Balparmak, a Turkish company which researches and manufactures honey and other bee products.

The theme of this international conference was “Propolis, Past, Present and Future Medicine” and over 40 papers were presented, to 100 attendees in person and another 20 online participants.

Picture: Some of the participants at this year’s IPRG conference

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Picture: Members of the IPRG Board of Directors ( front row) , with representatives from this year’s conference sponsor, Balparmak

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Nature’s Laboratory team present several papers at the conference

Nature’s Laboratory was well represented at the conference, where CEO James Fearnley gave two presentations, and the following Nature’s Laboratory team members gave a presentation each: Dr. Shankar Katekhaye (Director of Quality and Research) , Dr. Bhagyashree Kamble, (Senior Researcher - Knowledge Transfer Partnership Propolis Research Associate, in conjunction with Bradford University) and Samra Ihsan, who is working with Nature’s Laboratory, studying for a PhD with the University of East London.

James’s first talk was “Propolis, Past, Present and Future Medicine” in which he described our changing understanding of what medicines really are, and the role that propolis has played since ancient times as a medicine. His second talk was “Building the BeeArc” in which he discussed a project he is leading, to build a centre which can understand both the plight of the honeybee and the social, economic, cultural & spiritual crisis of humans.

Picture: James Fearnley, CEO of Nature’s Laboratory, gives his first presentation at the 2023 IPRG conference

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Shankar’s presentation was “Multivariate Analysis of Correlation Between Chemical Composition & Biological Activity of Propolis”, Bhagyashree’s presentation (given online) was “Quality Assessment of Global Propolis Samples using Chemical Profiling through HPLC & GC-MS". Samra’s presentation (given online) was “Comparative Flavonoid Profiling of Middle Eastern, African & European Propolis Samples and its Correlation with their Therapeutic Potential".

Picture: Dr. Shankar Katekhaye of Nature’s Laboratory gives his presentation at the conference

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The presentations were very well-received and will be available soon for anyone to watch, along with the other conference presentations, on the IPRG website.

Professor Vassya Bankova awarded a lifetime achievement award by the conference

Picture: James Fearnley CEO of Nature’s Laboratory presents Professor Bankova with a lifetime achievement award. Left to right: James Fearnley, Ozen Altiparmak, (founder of Balparmak), Professor Vassya Bankova.

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Vassya Bankova, Full Professor of the Institute of Organic Chemistry, Centre of Phytochemistry, Bulgaria Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria, was a Guest of Honour and awarded a lifetime achievement award by the conference, presented to her by Nature’s Laboratory’s CEO James Fearnley. Professor Bankova has worked in propolis research for 40 years, and is undoubtedly the world’s leading researcher into the chemistry of propolis. Professor Bankova has collaborated with academics and universities globally to understand the unique chemical properties of propolis in differing geographical locations. In recognition of her work, in 2018, she was awarded the Elsevier Award for Excellence in Global research.

Professor Bankova Award for Best Young Propolis Researcher

An inaugural award was made to the Best Young Propolis Researcher, in honour of Professor Bankova. Professor Bankova chose Kai Wang, a Chinese researcher, to receive the award. Kai was at the conference giving a presentation and received his award in person.

James Fearnley, CEO of Nature’s Laboratory receives a lifetime dedication award

James Fearnley, CEO at Nature’s Laboratory was delighted when he was awarded a lifetime dedication award by the conference, in recognition of over 30 years of increasing the awareness of propolis.

James has been involved in propolis research for over 30 years and has collaborated with many UK and international universities. He has contributed to over 40 propolis research publications and continues to do so through the research arm of his company BeeVital, which is part of Nature’s Laboratory.

Picture: James Fearnley receiving his lifetime dedication award from the IPRG conference, presented by Ozen Altiparmak, founder of Balparmak.

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Highlights of the conference

When asked for his highlights of the conference, James, CEO of Nature’s Laboratory, explained that the most stimulating aspects were the continuing development of a community of researchers from all over the world, and also the commitment of key members of the board of IPRG to the BeeArc project.

Shankar, Director of Quality & Research at Nature’s Laboratory also outlined his highlights from the conference: The exploration of lots of green, sustainable solvents, for making propolis products and developing new propolis products. He also was excited that research was becoming more diversified, with researchers emerging from smaller places and countries where propolis research had not previously been taking place. His final highlight was the exploration of propolis in new technology, and new applications, such as medical devices, where propolis is being used in dental and other implants.

Congratulations to the Nature’s Laboratory Team

Congratulations to our Nature’s Laboratory contingent at this important international conference, and many thanks to everyone who worked to make it a success.

Future IPRG Conferences

The next IPRG physical conference will be held in Brazil in 2025, followed by Indonesia in 2027, with online conferences each year in-between. The next online conference will be held in May 2024.