Paul Alan Cox
|Paul Alan Cox|
October 10, 1953 |
Salt Lake City, Utah
|Known for||Founder of Seacology|
Cox was born in Salt Lake City in 1953. After receiving his B.S. in Botany and Philosophy from Brigham Young University, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to read for his M.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Wales at Bangor. He received a Danforth Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for his Ph.D. studies at Harvard University in Biology where he was twice awarded the Bowdoin Prize. He subsequently was awarded a Miller Research Fellowship at the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science at the University of California, Berkeley and later became a University of Melbourne Research Fellow in Australia.
Although trained in evolutionary ecology, because of his fluency in Polynesian languages, Cox was encouraged by Harvard Professor Richard Evans Schultes to pursue ethnobotanical studies. He became increasingly focused on ethnomedicine after his mother died from breast cancer; he subsequently discovered with his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute the anti-HIV/AIDS properties of prostratin.  He was elected as President of the Society for Economic Botany and President of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology. After serving as professor and dean at Brigham Young University he became the first King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Agricultural University and the Uppsala University, a visiting professorship established by the Royal Academy of Sciences. He is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agricultural and Forestry  and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.
For seven years he was Director of the Congressionally Chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in Hawaii and Florida, and is currently Executive Director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is the author of 200 scientific papers, reviews, and books and was chosen by TIME as one of eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his search for new medicines from plants.
In 1997 he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for the conservation efforts described in his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest ( New York: W.H. Freeman), which has been translated into German, Japanese and Samoan. He speaks a variety of island languages and is internationally renowned for his advocacy of indigenous peoples. Cox lived with his family for years in the village of Falealupo on Savai'i island in Samoa where he helped create a covenant with chiefs to protect their lowland rainforest from logging. In 1988, he was bestowed a matai chief title by Falealupo in honour of his work.
Dr. Cox founded and is chairman of the environmental non-profit organization, Seacology, located in Berkeley, California, named a Laureate for the Prince's Prize for Innovative Philanthropy in 2015 by Albert II, Prince of Monaco. He is also the Director of the Institute of Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he is searching for a cure for ALS.
A prominent Mormon voice for biological conservation, Cox helped defeat the MX missile project proposed for Utah and Nevada, led the successful effort to establish the 50th U.S. National Park, The National Park of American Samoa, and was a delegate to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Lausanne, Switzerland to protect flying fox species in Pacific islands. He served an LDS mission in Samoa and is active in his church.
- Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. New York: Scientific American Library/ W.H. Freeman (1997).
- Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest. New York: W.H. Freeman (1997).
- http://www.ksla.se/en Royal Swedish Academy
- TIME: The Plant Hunter
- Science Magazine: Will Tribal Knowledge Survive the Millennium?
- Congressional Record: Eni F.H. Faleomavaega
- The Emerging Science of BMAA
- Being a Mormon Environmentalist
- Mormon Scholars Testify