Diverse drug lead compounds from bacterial symbionts in Philippine Mollusks project receives Fogarty Grant

A 5-year Fogarty grant was awarded to the project “Diverse drug lead compounds from bacterial symbionts in Philippine Mollusks”, a research that is aimed at biodiversity conservation and the discovery of new therapeutic products from animals and microorganisms. The project is led by Dr. Margo Haygood, marine microbiologist, Oregon Health & Science University in association with Dr. Gisela Concepcion, marine natural products chemist, University of the Philippines, Diliman; Dr. Baldomero Olivera, biochemist and Dr. Eric Schmidt, natural products chemist and biochemist, both of University of Utah, Dr. Gary Rosenberg, malacologist, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, Dr. Daniel Distel, marine microbiologist, Northeastern University, and Roberta O’Connor, parasitologist, Tufts Medical Center.

The Fogarty International Center website describes the project as: “Through an ongoing research initiative in the Philippines examining mollusks and the interactions with their associated bacteria, a team headed by grantees from the Oregon Health and Science University, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines,  seeks to discover therapies for bacterial infections, as well as parasitic diseases such as toxoplasmosis and cryptosporidiosis, cancer, pain and other neurological conditions. Mollusks are one of the most diverse groups of marine animals and their associated bacteria represent an unexplored trove of chemical diversity. The biologists carrying out the study will focus on venomous gastropods and wood-inhabiting bivalves known as shipworms. By examining the symbiotic microbes associated with these two types of invertebrates, they hope to discover the most biologically active molecules in the interaction process that might also act as drugs. Additionally, the project aims to foster training, conservation and the development of drug discovery in the Philippines.”

More information about the project can be read here .