Abstract Title

Natural Product Drug Discovery Through Crowd-Sourcing and Crowd-Funding

RAD Assignment Number

1012

Presenter Name

Viviana Mancilla

Abstract

Natural products continue to be a major source of human medicines. We hypothesize that the diverse geographic features and soil types of Texas harbor diverse microorganisms (bacteria and fungi), from which potent natural products may be discovered for the development of new drugs to treat cancer, infectious diseases, parasites or other medical conditions. We designed a crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding project to test this hypothesis. We have conducted a Phase I Feasibility Study using 5 soil samples collected by us within the Tarrant County and the preliminary results are encouraging. For a Phase II Pilot Study, we are reaching out to a high school in each of the carefully selected 11 counties in Texas. We request interested high school science teachers and students to collect 4 to 5 distinctive soil samples within the boundary of their respective counties and send the samples to UNTHSC for processing. In the future Phase III Comprehensive Study, we hope to cover all 254 counties in Texas. Thousands of distinctive microbial isolates will be obtained from those soil samples and will be fermented in different media to produce natural product crude extracts. Those crude extracts will be fractionated through flash chromatography. Tens of thousands of natural product fractions will be arranged systematically in 96-deep well plates to constitute a natural product fraction library. Subsequent screening of this library is predicted to generate dozens of natural product drug leads that possess activities against cancer cells, pathogenic bacteria or fungi, parasites or other medical conditions. An interactive website will be created to provide an effective communication platform between citizen scientists and campus researchers and to solicit donations to support this innovative research project.

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Natural Product Drug Discovery Through Crowd-Sourcing and Crowd-Funding

Natural products continue to be a major source of human medicines. We hypothesize that the diverse geographic features and soil types of Texas harbor diverse microorganisms (bacteria and fungi), from which potent natural products may be discovered for the development of new drugs to treat cancer, infectious diseases, parasites or other medical conditions. We designed a crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding project to test this hypothesis. We have conducted a Phase I Feasibility Study using 5 soil samples collected by us within the Tarrant County and the preliminary results are encouraging. For a Phase II Pilot Study, we are reaching out to a high school in each of the carefully selected 11 counties in Texas. We request interested high school science teachers and students to collect 4 to 5 distinctive soil samples within the boundary of their respective counties and send the samples to UNTHSC for processing. In the future Phase III Comprehensive Study, we hope to cover all 254 counties in Texas. Thousands of distinctive microbial isolates will be obtained from those soil samples and will be fermented in different media to produce natural product crude extracts. Those crude extracts will be fractionated through flash chromatography. Tens of thousands of natural product fractions will be arranged systematically in 96-deep well plates to constitute a natural product fraction library. Subsequent screening of this library is predicted to generate dozens of natural product drug leads that possess activities against cancer cells, pathogenic bacteria or fungi, parasites or other medical conditions. An interactive website will be created to provide an effective communication platform between citizen scientists and campus researchers and to solicit donations to support this innovative research project.