The isolation and characterization of novel bioactive natural products from the marine and terrestrial environments leading to the development of linkages in industry to facilitate the commercialization of promising leads.The identification of potential nutraceutical products from marine organisms.
Research in Dr. Winklet Gallimore's group is focused on marine natural products chemistry. The group examines marine plants and animals for the types of compounds they produce with a view to identifying possible uses in the nutraceutical and cosmetics industries. Marine samples are collected mainly from seas on the North Coast and in Port Royal, in collaboration with the Port Royal and Discovery Bay Marine Laboratories.
With research still at the testing stage, investigations are underway on marine plants such as algae and marine animals - sponges, gorgonians and ascidians. The group is also trying to propagate sponges by aquaculture. The main focus, however, is the isolation of compounds to determine their particular biological activity. In this regard, samples are tested for antioxidant, anti-cancer, insecticidal and anti-microbial activity (for example, anti-fungal activity).Tests are also done using fishes to determine if the compounds are toxic to the fish. The group collaborates with the Natural Products Institute at Mona for their anti-cancer testing and the Scientific Research Council to test samples for insecticidal activity.
Current work revolves around the discovery of biological activity in an algal species and studies are being pursued to determine if related compounds will improve the biological activity of the natural product. Additionally, examinations are underway on the compounds produced by another common algal species to identify possible applications for the dried algae as animal feed or a component of animal feed. Primary research methods employed are column chromatography, mass spectroscopy, NMR and gas chromatography.
As a minor research interest, the group examines compounds produced by microorganisms which grow on algae.