Bioprospecting of Marine Organisms

Research Area 4: Bioprospecting of Marine Organisms


Marine organisms are considered a rich source of new bioactive molecules. While numerous promising candidates have been isolated from marine organisms, large areas of the world's oceans remain unexplored. In particular, the Red Sea is a largely untapped, uncharted source of bioactives. In this research area, we are conducting cytological profiling of pre-fractionated extracts from marine organisms including algae, sponges, bacteria and deep-sea invertebrates of the Red Sea by imaging-based High Content Screening (HCS) to a full spectrum of cellular markers. Our data show that HCS is a suitable approach for the characterization of biological extracts of unknown chemical composition and allows quantitative measurements at the single-cell level, which will facilitate rapid identification of promising sources for bioactive molecules.

Library of sponge extracts. Photography by Aubrie O'Rourke.


​Prof. Ruth Brack-Werner, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Health, Germany
Prof. Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Health, Germany
Prof. Bill Gerwick, University of California at San Diego, USA
Prof. James Inglese​, National Human Genome Research Institute, USA

Currently involved from our lab
Aubrie O'Rourke (Ph.D. student)


Aqueous Extracts of the Marine Brown Alga Lobophora variegata Inhibit HIV-1 Infection at the Level of Virus Entry into Cells.

S. Kremb, M. Helfer, B. Kraus,H.  Wolff,C.  Wild, M. Schneider,C.R.  Voolstra, R. Brack-Werner

PLoS ONE, Volume 9, Issue 8, e103895, (2014)​