Biodiversitet och kemodiversitet hos Sri Lankas marina svampdjur. En möjlighet att utforska nya farmakologiska användningsområden

Tidsperiod: 2018-01-01 till 2020-12-31

Projektledare: Sunithi Gunasekera

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Stöd till forskningsmiljö

Budget: 1 170 000 SEK

Sponges (phylum Porifera) are unquestionably the most promising source of new marine compounds and yet, they are quite often neglected in the field of natural products research because of the extreme difficulty to identify the species. For this reason research on sponges is currently undeveloped in Sri Lanka. The 3-year collaborative project we propose to build between scientists at University of Colombo and Uppsala University will investigate the marine sponge biodiversity of Sri Lanka and identify bioactive sponge natural products against infectious diseases and cancer cell lines. The aims of this project are to 1) transfer our knowledge on sponge sytematics to Sri Lankan students/researchers in order to help them assess the Sri Lankan sponge biodiversity and 2) develop a protocol to study sponge natural product and genetic diversity. We believe both of these aims will unlock the potential of Sri Lankan sponges towards bioactivity assays and drug discovery. To achieve this we will conduct a multidisciplinary collaborative project combining our mutual expertise in pharmacognosy, chemistry, structure elucidation, systematics and molecular biology. This project will fill the knowledge gap on Sri Lankan sponge biodiversity in order to spur high-standard sponge research in this country. The findings will contribute to Sri Lankan education, marine biodiversity conservation and economic development but also to the Swedish/Sri Lankan drug discovery program.