Drugs From The Deep?
The deep sea is the largest biosphere on the earth yet it remains largely unexplored. Deep sea-life is highly diverse having evolved over billions of years. These organisms harbour a complex and varied array of substances with high potential for use in drug development. This however requires a complex biodiscovery process with numerous policy, technical, environmental and other factors to be considered.
This research will look at issues such as access, governance, collaboration and sustainability to identify the scope for successful and sustainable deep-sea drug discovery in Australia. With the third largest marine jurisdiction in the world, Australia boasts rich deep-sea biodiversity. Currently more than one quarter of the described deep-sea natural products are from Australian waters.
As part of a new international legal instrument to better conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, one of the United Nations’ key priorities is to address the governance of marine genetic resources. The key focus is on access to marine genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use.
It is envisaged that this project will engage discussions at both national and international levels with far reaching impact.
Improved understanding of deep-sea biodiscovery will support the development of new drugs, help inform approaches to conserve deep-sea ecosystems and protect Australia’s blue economy and a global resource that covers half the planet.
This interdisciplinary project brings together researchers from science, law, marine, and business backgrounds.
Harriet Harden-Davies (ANCORS, Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts), a PhD candidate and Global Challenges PhD Scholar. Harriet’s research focus is the governance of marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Dr Albert Munoz (School of Management, Operations & Marketing, Faculty of Business), holds a PhD in Supply Chain Management. Albert has extensive experience in discrete event and system dynamics simulations of manufacturing systems and supply chains.
Dr Danielle Skropeta (School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science), a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry and Pre-Med Course Director (SMAH, CMMB, IHMRI). Dr Skropeta leads an active research program in medicinal chemistry, in particular the discovery and development of new drugs from deep-sea sources, involving collaborations with industry.
Dr Tamantha Stutchbury (Global Challenges Program), the Research Strategy Leader for the UOW Global Challenges Program. Tamantha holds a PhD in biochemistry and has more than 10 year's research experience into the pre-clinical assessment of novel cancer therapeutics.
Professor Robin Warner (ANCORS, Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts), an international lawyer with research interests in the law of the sea and marine environmental law. The principal focus of her research is on the evolving law and policy frameworks for conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Dr Grant Ellmers (Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts)