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Marine Natural Products Researcher wins award at International Marine Biotechnology Congress

Date Released: Mon, 19 September 2016 12:16 +0200

Samantha Waterworth receives the award for Best Oral Presentation at the International Marine Biotechnology Congress from Dr Joy Watts, member of the IMBA Board.

Microbiology PhD student, Ms Samantha Waterworth recently attended the 11th International Marine Biotechnology Conference in Baltimore, USA alongside delegates from 22 different countries. Ms Waterworth, a member of the Marine Natural Products Research Group led by SARChI Professor, Rosemary Dorrington, presented a talk on her research into the microbial symbionts of marine sponges entitled: “Evidence for Vertical Transmission of bacterial symbionts in South African Tethya sponges”.  Her presentation was judged the “Best Oral Presentation” at the conference.  Samantha was also awarded a WhiteSci travel award to attend the conference and is the first recipient of this award in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rhodes University.

After the IMB Congress, Samantha visited the laboratory of Dr Jason Kwan at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The Kwan research group specializes in isolating novel marine natural products and elucidating their biosynthetic pathways through mining of metagenomic sequence data. Samantha’s PhD research is focussed on identifying the biosynthetic pathway responsible for the production of pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloids by indigenous South African latrunculid sponges. Under the guidance of Dr Kwan and his group, Samantha was introduced to the complex bioinformatics world of data mining; tools that she will be using during her PhD research to identify putative pyrroloiminoquinone biosynthetic pathways. The collaboration between the Kwan and Dorrington research groups is part of a joint initiative between Rhodes University and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity to establish a state of the art aquatic genomics research platform in the Eastern Cape.

 

Source:Marine Natural Products: Prof R Dorrington