Marine Biodiscovery Centre

Marine Biodiscovery Centre

Biodiscovery is the discovery of compounds from natural sources with biological applications, particularly novel biomedicines.

Biodiscovery generates chemical diversity that is used to find initial biological activity in disease focused screens ('hits'). The broad concept of biodiversity also includes the use of these compounds and ideas as biomedical research tools, antifoulants, catalysts, nutritional supplements (nutraceuticals) and personal care products (cosmeceuticals).

The drug discovery pipeline

The drug discovery pipeline. Natural products provide chemical diversity
to increase success rates in the early stages of this process.

Why Marine?

The marine environment provides a broad range of diverse habitats from which novel sources of natural products can be derived. Studies from around the world have shown that marine organisms produce a diverse array of metabolites with novel chemical structures and potent biological activities as well as other desirable properties.

The Marine Biodiscovery Group

The biodiscovery centre has a large library of extracts and pure compounds from marine biota. This library is available to be used for biological research and drug discovery under licence. The centre also brings together complementary expertise in biology, chemistry, chromatography and spectroscopy.

Sources of Chemical Diversity

Sources of Chemical Diversity

All material is obtained under the tenets of the Convention on Biodiversity


Library Construction: Generating Chemical Diversity

Library Construction: Generating Chemical Diversity

Uses of Chemical Diversity
Uses of Chemical Diversity
What is Available?

For screening

  • Purified extract library
  • Pure compund library
  • Structurally defined pure compound library


  • Structural characterisation of organic compounds and element/isotope-tagged biomolecules
  • Spectroscopic expertise:
    • Nuclear magnetic resonance
    • Liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry
    • Inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (ICPMS)
    • Elemental Imaging: laser ablation ICPMS
    • Gas chromatography - ICPMS


  • 600 and 400 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • High and low resolution LC-MS
  • High and low resolution ICP-MS
  • Parallel HPLC - ESMS/ICPMS
  • Fully equipped microbial culture suite
  • Separations/chromatography suite (eg SPE, SEC, HPLC)
Research Areas
  • Pharmacognosy and tools for biomedical research
  • Marine invertebrates/ Cyanobacteria/ Marine bacteria
  • Assays: Cancer, NF-kB, trypanosome, chitinase, phosphatase
  • 1,3-APS as molecular delivery agents
  • Marine bioinorganic chemistry
  • Molecular approaches to access marine natural products
Core Skills and Tools

Core Skills

  • 2D and solution 3D structure determination of organic molecules
  • Understanding and studying a wide range of biological phenomena eg
    • Membranes and ion channels
    • Cancer
    • Immune function
    • Biosynthesis


  • Separation techniques: LC, GPC, HPLC etc
  • Spectroscopic techniques: 1D and 2D NMR, MS, IR, UV-Vis, CD, ICP-MS etc
  • Theoretical methods: Molecular mechanics/dynamics (DFT)
  • Synthetic methods
  • Molecular genetic methods

Microbiology and Molecular Biology Lab

Including clean bench, -80 degrees centigrade freezer and any standard equipments for microbiological work

Marine Biodiscovery Centre Lab

With direct view to King's college church, the organic lab brings out great research atmosphere to students, post doctoral researchers and visiting researchers Every lab bench has been designed to get the most of the organic chemistry work
12 lab benches with 3 cooling system for rotary evaporator

Liquid Chromatography

High Performance Liquid Chromatography has been used as final purification process Orbitrap Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry analysis has always been a powerful tool to search any compounds

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Lab

NMR Lab has been designed to keep Safety Health and Hazard issue in compliance

400MHz Varian NMR with automated robotic hand which can be programmed up to 50 samples consecutively
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 600MHz
600MHz Varian NMR for gaining the higher resolution spectrum