Institute of Applied Science

IAS




Center of Drug Discovery and Conservation

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Section Description

The Centre was established in 2001 under the guidance and leadership of Professor William Aalbersberg as a research branch for the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) involved in bioprospecting work on marine and terrestrial organisms and plants. The Centre has developed in strength and independence, establishing several partnerships over the years. In 2005, the Centre secured an ICBG grant through a consortium of Georgia Institute of Technology, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and IAS. This competitive grant has been successfully renewed twice and we are currently on a new 5 year term (2014-2019) of collaborative research. Success of the ICBG collaboration has brought new grants. The Centre was recently awarded a GEF (Global Environment Facility) grant through the Government of Fiji to work on nature-based products and building capacities for the application of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in Fiji.

The Centre continues to focus its research on the search for antibacterial, antifungal as well as anticancer activity from marine and terrestrial samples. New bioassays and in particular, an anti-dengue test facility is in the process of being set up. The Centre houses a library of actinomycete bacteria isolated from marine sediments and organisms including more than 1900 strains of marine bacteria and more than 3350 marine invertebrate/algae extracts that have been analyzed for general toxicity and against our in-house drug resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi. We are also in the process of establishing libraries of pure compounds extracts from marine macro and microorganisms. There is also a DNA laboratory used in plant and animal/bacterial identification. We also supervise research students at the postgraduate level on topics relating to natural products chemistry and microbiology.

Research and Collaboration Opportunities:

The CDDC is interested in building new collaborations with Academic Institutions, Public-Private Partnerships and Private Companies for the study of natural products to discover new Pharmaceuticals, Agrochemicals, Flavorings & Preservatives or Cosmetic Ingredients.  We can offer the following to our prospective partners:

Government Liaison: 

The CDDC can liaise with relevant government agencies & local communities to obtain all necessary permits and agreements for the collection and export of natural products within the island nations that support The University of the South Pacific (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu).  The CDDCís collection policy adheres to the principles laid out in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on equitable Access & Benefit Sharing agreements.

Logistical Support: 

The CDDC can provide all planning and logistical work required to support field work for the collection of natural products throughout the South Pacific.  This also includes preliminary taxonomic identification of both marine and terrestrial specimens and the deposition and maintenance of voucher samples in the USP Marine Reference Collection or National Herbarium.

Natural Product Libraries: 

The CDDC maintains growing libraries of diverse high quality natural product extract and pure compound libraries in formats suitable for immediate bioassay and analysis in partnerís bioassays.  In addition, we have a large library of living marine microbial strains (Actinomycetes & Fungi) available for fermentation as well as libraries of extracts prepared from small scale fermentation of these strains.

Natural Products Chemistry: 

The CDDC has well equipped natural product and analytical laboratories and can perform natural product extraction services, bioassay-guided purification of active metabolites and the isolation of gram quantities of metabolites required for more in-depth biological testing or to support semi-synthetic programs.  We have LC-MS facilities and natural products databases that allow for the rapid discrimination of known compounds.Microbial Services:  The CDDC can perform new marine microbial strain isolation, characterization and preservation.  We have facilities to support small scale fermentation and strain and process improvement for yield improvement of bioactive metabolites.

Bioassay Support: 

The CDDC has established in-house bioassays for general toxicity and for identifying extracts/compounds active against drug resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi.  We can provide extract and compound libraries for bioassay at our partnerís facilities or bring new assays in-house for testing in our facilities.  We are especially interested in collaborations aimed at the discovery of potential new drugs for the treatment of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Contact Us:  To explore further potential Research and Collaboration with the CDDC, please contact us.

Contact Person:

Name: Dr. Katy Soapi

Title:  Manager

Unit: Center for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email:katy.soapi@usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2844

Research

Center for Drug Discovery & Conservation Unit: Research & Postgraduate Studies

The list below contains thesis titles from both Masters (MSc) and Doctoral (PhD) research by the IAS Centre for Drug Discovery and Conservation Unit postgraduates, for both completed and current students. Click on thesis titles (blue text) to read more about each research.

A survey of the biodiversity of the benthic marine genus Sarcophyton of collections made in Fiji waters between 2001 and 2005

 

Degree

Thesis Title

Name

Photo

1

MSc

The Isolation and Biosynthesis of Bengamides in the Marine Sponge of the Genus Jaspis.

Mr. Mukesh Sharma

2

MSc

Isolation and characterization of cytotoxic components of the marine sponge, Hippospongia sp.

Mr. Rohitesh Kumar

3

MSc

Isolation and characterization of bioactive compounds from marine Actinomycetes.

Ms. Kavita Ragini

Ms. Kavita Raggini

4

MSc

Isolation and characterization of bioactive components of the marine sponge, Theonella.

Mr. Pritesh Prasad

Mr. Pritesh Prasad

5

MSc

Human health security and climate change: Investigation of therapeutic compounds from fungi associated with Fijian marine sponges (European Union Sponsored Project)

Ms Payal Nandini Maharaj



6

MSc

Extraction and bioactivity testing of compounds from the marine actinomycete Genus Salinispora

Mr. Ngetem Amon


7

MSc

 The Analysis of the Antibiotic Activities of Salinispora Strains from Marine Sediment as a Guide to New Phylogenetic and Chemical Diversity

 Mr. Joape Ginigini

8

MSc

MSc: Klaus FeussnerA survey of the biodiversity of the benthic marine genus Sarcophyton of collections made in Fiji waters between 2001 and 2005

Mr. Klaus Feussner


9

MSc

Isolation and Characterisation of Antibacterial Compounds from Marine Sponge Suburea Clavata

 Mr. Luke Mani

10

MSc

The Study of Natural Products from the sponge Japis coriacea and  a New Fijian Ascidian Polyandrocarpa sp. (MSc awarded)

Mr. Semesi Meo


 

11

MSc

Bioactive  Secondary Metabolites from culturable unusual Actinnomycetes from Solomon Islands Marine Sediments: Isolation and Characterization of Bioactive Compounds

 Ms Ahilya Singh

12

MSc

Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic compounds from marine obligate actionomycte, Salinispara spp.

Mr. Satyendra Singh


 

Staffs

Center of Drug Discovery and Conservation Staff List

Name: Dr. Katy Soapi

Title: Manager

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: katy.soapi(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2844

Name: Klaus Feussner

Title: Assistant Project Manager (Part Time)

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: klaus.feussner(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

          

Name: Dr. Samson Viulu

Title: Fellow

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: samson.viulu(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Joape Ginigini

Title: Scientific Officer

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: joape.ginigini(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2805

Name: Wayne Kavora

Title: Graduate Assistant

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email:

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: James Sinclair

Title: Project Assistant

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: james.sinclair(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Ilaisa Kacivakinadina

Title: Graduate Assistant

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: ilaisa.kacivakinadina(at)gmail.com

Contact: +679 323 2994

Name: Emi Vunisaravi

Title: Lab Technician

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: emi.vunisaravi(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Talemo Waqa

Title: Lab Technician

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: talemo.waqa(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Seruwaia Tuilau

Title: Lab  Technician

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: seruwaia.tuilau(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Dr. Brad Carte

Title: Advisor

Unit: Centre for Drug Discovery & Conservation

Email: brad.carte(at)usp.ac.fj

Contact: +679 323 2805



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Page last updated: Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Institute of Applied Science
Faculty of Science and Technology
Private Bag, Laucala Campus,
Suva, Fiji.
Tel: (+679) 323 2965
Fax: (+679) 323 1534