Dr. Paul Cox

10 Jun 2021

Dr. Paul Cox

Posted By



Time Magazine previously honored Dr. Cox as one of 11 “Heroes of Medicine” for his ongoing search for new medicines and plants.

It is rare for a scientist to be renowned in both indigenous and western cultures. Throughout the islands of Polynesia and Southeast Asia, Dr. Paul Alan Cox is known as “Nafanua.” “Nafanua” is one of the highest chief titles of Samoa, conferred upon Cox in 1989 by the Samoan people for his diligence and work in rain forest preservation. Cox is also known as one of the world’s top ethnobotanists—scientists who study the use of plants by indigenous people.

As an expert in the eld of ethnobotany, Cox has served as a professor and Dean at Brigham Young University, and is currently Distinguished Professor at BYU–Hawaii. He has also held visiting professorships at the University of Melbourne, Uppsala University and at Umeå University; and was honored by King Gustav and Queen Sylvia of Sweden, who invited him to present a command lecture in Stockholm. He was later invited to serve as the rst King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science, a gift from the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences for the King’s 50th birthday. From 1998 through 2004 he served as Director of the Congressionally-chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii and Florida.

Cox currently serves as Director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, a not-for-pro t organiza- tion with the mission of discovering new medicines from plants used by indigenous peoples. During his career, he has published more than 150 scienti c articles and three books.

Dr. Cox received his undergraduate degree in botany and philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1976, graduating Summa Cum Laude and class valedictorian. In 1977, he received his M.Sc. in ecology at the University of Wales as a Fullbright Fellow. In 1978, Dr. Cox entered Harvard as a Danforth Fellow and National Science Foundation Fellow, and in 1981 he received his Ph.D. in biology. He was later awarded a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award by President Ronald Reagan.

Currently, Dr. Cox serves as Chairman of the Seacology Foundation, an organization he founded to assist in preserving island rain forests and cultures. The Seacology Foundation has built schools, hospitals, and water supplies for indigenous peoples on the islands throughout the world, saving hundreds of thousands of acres of precious rain forest and coral reef com- munities. Nu Skin Enterprises has teamed up with Dr. Cox and the Seacology Foundation to fund many of these projects.

Leave a Reply