Research Proposal


Natural products have been respected and valued in the field of drug discovery and development for many years, and have been the original source of medicines. Included are marine natural products which have been useful in expanding our idea of what compounds can serve as drugs. Drug discovery from marine natural products surged in the 1970s with the advent of scuba (Lit1, 2, 3 and 4). Although traditional drug discovery from marine natural products is somewhat outdated, huge advances in NMR technology have made this a huge field of research. In terms of the future, natural products have massive potential to be combined with newly developed methods using the human genome; proteomics, genomics and metabolomics.
Owing to millions of years of evolution and natural selection, secondary metabolites from living organisms possess great deal of diversity in structure and biological activity. In particular, marine life has been a promising source of novel bioactive compounds that can serve as leads in drug discovery and development.
New Zealand is a unique source of marine organisms, as New Zealand has developed in isolation from the rest of the world. It has had a very distinct natural selection pressure, leading to a wide diversity in the inhabitants of this country, including its marine life. New Zealand has generated many biologically active and interesting marine natural products which we may not yet know the use for.