2016 Funding Round - Project

Dr David Ackerley
Victoria University of Wellington
Biodiscovery and biosynthesis of new drug candidates
$1,195,266
36 months

Lay summary

Less than one percent of the earth’s microbial diversity has been successfully cultivated in a laboratory setting, however the antibiotics and other natural products produced by this small fraction have provided some of the most important medicines in clinical use today. The emerging field of metagenome-driven drug discovery provides a proven means of accessing the biosynthetic potential of the uncultured microbial majority via the direct extraction, cloning and heterologous expression of environmental DNA. This project will employ cutting-edge metagenomic approaches to access the biosynthetic potential of New Zealand’s terrestrial and marine microbial communities, leading to discovery and high-yield biosynthesis of new bioactive drug candidates.

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