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Marine Biomedicine

Marine Biomedicine Website
Graduate Faculty Research Interests

The Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences track provides training for the Ph.D. degree in numerous aspects of marine molecular biosciences that relate to various aspects of environmental and human health. Key to the program is the active collaboration of our other on-site partner institutions: National Ocean Service (NOAA), Grice Marine Lab (College of Charleston ), Marine Resources Research Institute (SC Department of Natural Resources) and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. These institutions and MBES occupy a 90 acre campus at Ft. Johnson, site of the beginning of the Civil War.

Arial view of the Fort Johnson campus Arial view of the Fort Johnson campus

Together these institutions provide a rich collection of varied research mentors and training opportunities for MBES students in federal, state and academic institutions. In addition to separate laboratories on the same campus, these partner institutions occupy space in the newly constructed Hollings Marine Laboratory, an 80,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to molecular biology and structural chemistry of the marine environment.

The purpose of the MBES curriculum is to combine a solid background in molecular and cellular biology with flexible, individually-tailored programs in which students use cutting edge molecular skills to solve environmentally relevant questions including those affecting human health. Thus students are prepared for future leadership roles in marine environmental and health-related sciences. Areas of focus within MBES include marine genomics, marine proteomics, bioinformatics, ecotoxicology, marine natural products and biotoxins, marine mammals as sentinel species of human health, marine animal immunology, coral health, and anti-microbial peptides . Examples of current student doctoral research include microbial degradation of crude oil, nickel and tricholoethylene, functional genomic approaches to environmental stress and infection in shrimp, identification of antibiotic peptides in shrimp and oysters, molecular mechanisms of disease resistance in dolphins, molecular mechanisms of stingray adaptation to changing external salinity, molecular mechanisms of heavy metal detoxification in oysters and the pesticide, atrazine, in phytoplankton, identification of lung surfactant molecules in healthy and diseased dolphins, and the role of bacteria in coral bleaching.

The curriculum for first-year students involves comprehensive and integrated studies of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology with journal clubs, seminars, and workshops. The second year consists of specialized courses in which the principles of the first year are applied to focus topics such as Marine Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics, Biogeochemistry of the Oceans, Pollution Microbiology, and Molecular Immunity in Marine animals.