Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Keys To Cures" -- An Online Expedition To The Frontier Of Biomedical Research

Date:
August 9, 1999
Source:
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Summary:
How far would you go to find a cure for cancer? How far would you go to discover new species and to preserve a unique ecosystem? Dr. Shirley Pomponi and an international team of scientists faced these questions and came up with an answer: 3000 feet...straight down. That's how deep they'll be diving into the waters of the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico, prospecting for powerful new drugs and performing a pioneering submersible-based biodiversity survey of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

FT. PIERCE, FL - How far would you go to find a cure for cancer? How far would you go to discover new species and to preserve a unique ecosystem? Dr. Shirley Pomponi and an international team of scientists faced these questions and came up with an answer: 3000 feet...straight down. That's how deep they'll be diving into the waters of the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico, prospecting for powerful new drugs and performing a pioneering submersible-based biodiversity survey of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The rest of us will only have to travel as far as the nearest computer to join in this noble scientific adventure.

@Sea, (http://www.at-sea.org), a website sponsored by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI), will have a correspondent on board the Research Vessel EDWIN LINK, transmitting daily dispatches from Dr. Pomponi's ambitious science cruise. From August 5 - 25, @Sea will provide a window into the world of science during every stage of this complex field operation--each submersible launch, each scuba dive, each breakthrough discovery or unexpected challenge.

Coral reef ecosystems provide a compelling setting for biomedical research. Many adult reef inhabitants spend their lives permanently affixed to the spot where they settled as juveniles. Since they cannot move to escape predators, to accommodate new neighbors, to seek out mates, or to avoid disease, these animals have evolved complex arsenals of chemical agents to compensate for their immobility. Indeed, life on a coral reef has been likened to nonstop chemical warfare. Among the millions of untested, powerful chemical compounds used by reef animals, scientists hope to find potent new medicines to kill tumors, dull pain, fight inflammation and ward off infections.

In addition to their search for new medicines from the sea, mission scientists will be cataloging sea life, using Harbor Branch's JOHNSON-SEA-LINK (JSL) submersible to study underwater habitats never witnessed by human eyes. "We will be carefully observing, documenting, and collecting samples and assessing their potential to yield new drugs for human benefit" explains Dr. Pomponi. "But once we find an interesting compound, our emphasis shifts toward creating the compound in the lab so that wild populations of the source species will be protected. While we are doing our collection work, we will be simultaneously gathering important data about the deep-sea environment that will be used for conservation. Our work is about health...both for people and for the ecosystems that support our continued research." Nowhere on earth is biodiversity greater than in tropical rainforests and coral reefs. Reefs, like rainforests, are threatened by human activities. However, reefs remain hidden underwater--out of sight and often out of mind. The biodiversity survey by Pomponi and her colleagues will be the first ever at depths attainable by the Harbor Branch JSL submersible. It will provide a "snapshot" of life in the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary--a baseline that resource managers can use to evaluate future threats and prevent damage to these unique and valuable ecosystems.

@Sea's "Keys to Cures" mission coverage will chronicle a wide range of marine science activities, compliments of the multidisciplinary nature of biomedical marine research. Two submersible dives are planned daily to a variety of exotic underwater locations. Scuba teams will depart from the main research vessel in small boats to stage their own shallow-water collection missions. Samples will be processed in high-tech labs on board the R/V EDWIN LINK and analyzed separately by chemists, microbiologists, molecular geneticists, and cell culture experts. Set against a tropical backdrop, this mission is set to deliver a unique mix of adventure and educational insights from the leading edge of human discovery.

The @Sea website seeks to open a window on the ocean realm for students, educators, scientists, the media, funding agencies, and policy-makers. Online expeditions raise public awareness of threats facing the marine environment, illustrating how the health of our planet is inextricably linked to the state of our oceans. @Sea is a production of The Media Lab of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. The Media Lab develops innovative, educational multimedia programs. Their web sites and interactive CD-ROMs focus on marine science and the environment.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc. is one of the world’s leading not-for-profit oceanographic research organizations, dedicated to the exploration of the earth’s oceans, estuaries and coastal regions, for the benefit of mankind.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. ""Keys To Cures" -- An Online Expedition To The Frontier Of Biomedical Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990809081501.htm>.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. (1999, August 9). "Keys To Cures" -- An Online Expedition To The Frontier Of Biomedical Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990809081501.htm
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. ""Keys To Cures" -- An Online Expedition To The Frontier Of Biomedical Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990809081501.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins