Ocean Biotechnology Center and Repository (OBCR)
The OBCR repository includes about 5000 marine extracts from the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans.Samples are primarily from shallow coral reefs, kelp forests and deep sea vent communities. In addition, OBCR personnel use cutting edge technical diving to access deep reefs and marine caves for discovery and development of unique extremophile biodiversity samples and data.
The overall goal of the OBCR program is to create a national repository of biochemical / biomolecular products of marine organisms from US and international waters for use by the biotechnology research sector.
1) The application of new technologies to better understand, predict, and mitigate natural and anthropogenic disturbances in marine ecosystems, and ocean-related risks to human health and well being
2) Develop new products from marine ecosystems to enhance human health and well-being
The former goal is being met through a new initiative focused on biosensor development, while the latter goal continues to address discovery of new pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, fluorescent probes, and enzymes from unique marine habitats.
OBCR focuses on NOAA research priorities including the development of new value from the sea (primarily drug discovery and agrochemicals) for commercial use. In addition, new technologies have been applied to questions related to healthy coasts, sustainable fisheries, predicting environmental change, corals, reefs and marine ecosystems.
The OBCR Repository is unique in its integrated, multidimensional design and technical capabilities. Traditional repositories are collections of cells or extracts, with limited specific data relevant to particular samples (e.g., culture conditions, site of origin). OBCR collects a broad set of Environmental data, in conjunction with every field sample [Cells or Tissues], in order to maximize insights into selective pressures that regulate expression of important biomolecules. At our University of Mississippi laboratories, Extracts of cells or tissues are produced and Chemical profiles of these extracts are archived within our database. In addition, Genomic DNA is collected from every sample and archived in a cryofreezer for further genetic research. The value of this intensive data collecting, in addition to the traditional resources of a repository, is the enhanced datamining opportunity. Using advanced statistical Meta-Analyses, OBCR can correlate two or more datasets simultaneously to provide insights into interdisciplinary research areas. For example, analyzing environmental data with genomic data may provide new perspectives on marine Evolution. Alternatively, environmental data can be examined in the context of specific extracts to identify unique Biomarkers that are particularly relevant to marine toxicology and ocean health. In addition, Metabolomics is one of the most important biomedical technology advances; it is based equally on chemical profiles and genomic information. OBCR's innovation and leadership in marine biotechnology has resulted in a novel repository for the 21st century.
- Dr. Marc Slattery
- Director OBCR