Home Back Issues May 2013 OHSU researchers make medicine from mollusks

OHSU researchers make medicine from mollusks

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER

0513 NextDespite their name, shipworms are not worms but mollusks: small, clam-like creatures that cause no end of headaches for boat owners by drilling their hard shells into ship hulls, then consuming that cellulose as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now a team of OHSU researchers, in partnership with scientists from other institutions, has discovered an upside to the hungry worm. To convert wood into nutrient-rich fuel, the shipworm relies on symbiotic bacteria that secrete a powerful antibiotic — one that holds promise for battling human disease, says Margo Haygood, an OHSU marine microbiologist. In humans, antibiotic resistance has become a serious health threat. Not so for the lowly shipworm, which never develops resistance to the organisms involved in the cellulose-conversion process. The mollusk doesn’t appear to suffer from side effects, either, Haygood says. Part of a larger biodiversity initiative underway in the Philippines, the mollusk research may also yield new applications for biofuels production, which typically involves the breakdown of woody matter for the creation of ecologically friendly energy sources. Tapping the treasure trove of marine life for new medications and natural energy sources is a no-brainer, observes Haygood. “Guess what,” she says, “life evolved in the ocean.”

 

More Articles

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS