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A holistic approach to training a new generation of scientists in marine biodiscovery

Project description

Marine microbial natural products: from seabed to bedside

Biologically active compounds produced by microorganisms that live in marine environments have the potential to be developed into new drugs and treatments for various diseases. These marine microbial natural products often have unique structures and biological activities. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the HOTBIO project will train early-stage scientists to bring these products from discovery to commercialisation. This involves every stage of the drug discovery pipeline, including microbial isolation, compound purification, identification, analogue synthesis and drug development. The project’s goal is to create a new generation of scientists that can bring these promising compounds to the bedside, where they can have a positive impact on human health.


The HOTBIO consortium will train a new generation of early-stage scientists to take marine microbial natural products from the seabed to the bedside. They will be involved in every stage of the pipeline from microbial isolation through compound purification and identification to making analogues with desirable drug-like properties. They will gain associated skills in access and benefit sharing, intellectual property and entrepreneurship. Students graduating from HOTBIO will be in a unique position to enter a challenging labour market as they will have received multidisciplinary training at world leading research groups in academia as well as at industry partners. Mentorship will be provided by industrial scientists and recent graduates from the MSCA ITN MarPipe.

The HOTBIO consortium consists of eight beneficiaries from seven European countries, including two members from non-academic sectors, that will host ten PhD students. Three more PhD students hosted by two Swiss associated partners will be funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation. In addition to secondments at the partners in Europe, students will also get the opportunity to do secondments in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs) in Africa and Asia to get a deeper understanding of how modern research can be done in resource-limited setting.

HOTBIO expands a conventional marine biodiscovery pipeline by including computer aided drug design (CADD), chemical synthesis of optimized compounds (i.e. medicinal chemistry), target deconvolution and extensive ADMET profiling. This will advance the bioactive microbial secondary metabolites to the later stages of preclinical development, and it will also inform the decisions and priorities of what kind of compounds that should be targeted in the initial phase of the drug discovery process. The downstream development will include hit compounds from earlier projects.


Net EU contribution
€ 595 497,60
9019 Tromso

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Norge Nord-Norge Troms og Finnmark
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Participants (6)

Partners (11)