PhD Student (Tony Ryan Research Fellowship)

Maria Vittoria MarraSelective bioactivity has been indicated in several marine sponges collected in Ireland. In an effort to understand the origin and role of bioactive compounds in these sponges my project has the following aims in five Haliclona species of known phylogenetic relatedness (Haliclona indistincta, H. viscosa, H. simulans, H. cinerea and H. oculata):

  • Characterize through multiple approaches including electron microscopy & next generation sequencing, possible prokaryotic and eukaryotic sponge symbionts in these target species in time and space.
  • Investigate the functional role of suspected symbionts and of sponge “cells with inclusions”, especially as regards the production of compounds of interest.
  • Investigate the bioactivity of the sponge (against biofilm, pathogenic and drug resistant bacteria and drug resistant cancers).
  • Apply my experience with in situ culturing of sponges to design an innovative method to farm at least one of the target Haliclona species in the shallow environment of Corranroo Bay (Co. Clare).

 Contact Details

Zoology, Ryan Institute & School of Natural Sciences
Phone: 353 (0)91 493195
Fax: 353 (0)91 525005