The overarching goal of the Marine Biomedical & Biotechnology Research Program (MBBR) is to harness the power of marine biotechnology to improve the human condition through the discovery of natural products that are useful in the development of improved medicines or as molecular probes to better understand disease. We also have interests in the use of microbes in the production of alternative fuels and industrial chemicals. Our research is an integrated effort among four faculty members who work as a team with interrelated research objectives. MBBR collaborates extensively with researchers outside of FAU Harbor Branch to extend the scope of investigation on its natural products library and welcomes new collaborative efforts.
• The Microbiology program led by Dr. Peter McCarthy develops and maintains a microbial culture collection that is used as a resource for the discovery of novel natural products, new enzymes and microbes that produce industrially useful chemicals
• The Cancer Cell Biology program led by Dr. Esther Guzmán develops and performs cutting-edge assays to discover marine natural products with therapeutic potential and conducts secondary testing to understand their mode of action
• The Natural Products Chemistry program led by Dr. Amy Wright purifies natural products, defines their structures and prepares analogs for biological evaluation
• The Sponge Biotechnology program led by Dr. Shirley Pomponi develops methods for in vitro production of bioactive compounds as a supply of chemically complex natural products
FAU Harbor Branch is also the home to the Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology, which is led by Dr. Amy Wright. This Center of Excellence was created to support multi-disciplinary research projects across Florida that are exploring ocean-based drug discovery, create synergies and collaborations between Florida-based researchers from public and private research institutions and biotechnology companies, stimulate team applications for future federal extramural funding and support frequent workshops and informal social gatherings where researchers can share their research questions to build trans-Florida collaborations.