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)

Staff Working in this Theme