Research Newsletter - Issue 78: Funding Success

SFI Frontiers for Partnership award

Congratulations to Dr Brian Kelleher (School of Chemical Sciences) for being awarded the SFI Frontiers for Partnership award in collaboration with the Atlantic Technological University. 

The SFI Frontiers for Partnership Awards support research proposals led by the Technological University (TU) / Institutes of Technology (IoT) sector with partners from the established University sector. The awarded project “Bioprospecting of novel marine terpenoids with broad commercial applications” will be led by Dr Shane O’Reilly (Department of Life Sciences, Atlantic Technological University) and co-led by Dr Brian Kelleher (School of Chemical Sciences, DCU). 

In this project, the research team will use chemical and genomic tools to study the commercial potential and use of novel compounds called terpenoids, known to be the most diverse chemicals in nature. Terpenoids have important biological and ecological roles and time and time again have been revolutionary as blockbuster anticancer drugs, cosmetic products and in many other commercial applications. Yet, marine terpenoids have received little focus from a bioprospecting perspective, despite their now recognised abundance in many marine organisms. Together with advances in modern chemical, culture independent biological and computational tools, there is a significant opportunity for accelerated discovery of high-value marine terpenoids with broad commercial potential. The research team will use mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance approaches to screen for novel terpenoids from overlooked marine biofilms and sponge-associated microorganisms. The project will advance from Technology Readiness Level 1 to TRL 3 by pilot testing to upscale extraction and confirming bioactivity, and from there help realise the full commercial potential of these unique molecules.

Congratulations on the award and we look forward to hearing more about this exciting project!