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Fabiana Galea (née N. Fonseca) is an independent scientist, artisan, and educator who combines science and art to raise awareness of the earth’s medicinal plants and their cultural legacies. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she researches, writes, and develops educational material about botanicals and their traditional uses. Dr. Galea earned a B.S. in pharmacy and a Ph.D. in chemistry (Yale University/the University of São Paulo). She has held positions in both academia (Yale University, Columbia University, MSKCC) and the biotechnology industry (Proteolix, acquired by Amgen), authored many scientific manuscripts dealing with the chemistry and pharmacology of plants and ethnomedicine, and is also one of the inventors of Kyprolis' formulation, a multimillion-dollar cancer drug. Dr. Galea also learned botanical drawing and now enjoys combining scientific and botanical drawing techniques in her photography. Her photos received local and international prizes.


I am independent scientist, artisan, and educator on a mission to raise awareness of the earth’s medicinal plants and their cultural legacies. As a pharmacist trained in the chemistry of natural products and ethnomedicine, I know they have a lot to offer. But although these plants were a vital part of our medicine chest until not long ago, they are now largely misunderstood. From ineffective placebos, to toxic and dangerous substances, to cure-all magic bullets, it is difficult to know what to think. In our fast-paced society, brimming with new and exciting scientific breakthroughs, we are forgetting what these plants can do to us. Through the lens of art, I give plants a voice, so they can invite us into a more intimate conversation and provoke our curiosity and senses about their real nature. By combining art and science, I build upon photographic styles and processes of days gone by, infusing each piece with an aged yet contemporary undertone. I enjoy combining herbarium specimen preparation, botanical drawing, alternative printing, digital art, and visual storytelling techniques to draw attention to current issues concerning medicinal plants and their roles in our society. Each of my subjects has a strong historical, cultural, and scientific background surrounding its healing and sensory properties.

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