R04: Ocean Innovation

How can ocean biological substances and material be used to support technological innovations for a range of applications benefitting human society?

Ocean Innovation brings together researchers from biology, medicine, and materials science to identify chemical, structural, and physical principles that act or could potentially be implemented in form of specific biomimetic materials, surface microstructure, coatings for medical products and dietary additives.

 

The diversity of marine life forms harbors an invaluable resource of biological substances, materials, and principles that may potentially be exploited for medical and technological applications. The resource comprises a wide range of molecular structures from small diffusible molecules with signaling, antibiotic, and other functions to large biopolymers, materials from bioceramics to hydrogels, and surfaces from adhesive to anti-fouling ones. Despite the theoretical wealth of these principles, only very few marine bioactive substances, materials, surfaces, and/or their biomimetics have found their way into application. Recent technological advances (e.g. automated diving and sampling units, NMR spectroscopy, advances in imaging techniques and high-throughput genomics) have enabled a streamlined discovery process that may allow for a rationale target prioritization scheme.
In an effort to unite research in Ocean Innovation and Evolving Ocean, projects are particularly welcome that address mutual signaling between marine hosts and their microbes, and the role of this interaction for adaptation to global change.

Objectives

  • Biomimetics of materials and surface – studies biological surfaces, which represent the interface between living organisms and the marine environment and among other functions may serve as ay barrier against settlement of other marine organisms
  • Antibacteriel substances – investigates small bioactive molecules that are important mediators of cell-cell communications, as signaling substances, as antibiotic actors and in inflammatory processes.
  • Nutrive substances – focuses on nutritive substances with high biological activity, such as highly unsaturated n-3 fatty acids.