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Interview with Dr.Russell Chapman- Scripps Institute of Oceanography 1

Scripps institute of Oceanography (http://sio.ucsd.edu/) which is based out of San Diego is the world's preeminent center for ocean and earth research, teaching, and public education.

Here is the interview of Dr. Russell Chapman with the students of Scripps Institution of Oceanography Dr. Russell is the executive Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography .

Q: What started your interest in algae?

A: As an undergraduate biology major at Dartmouth College, I had a specific interest in marine biology and it made sense to take the phycology course to learn about algae. The professor was Dr. Hannah T. Croasdale and she was one of the most outstanding educators, and outstanding individuals, I have ever met. She was one of the cofounders of the Phycological Society of America (the PSA, publishers of The Journal of Phycology) and was a Past President of the PSA. She taught a course that was as wonderful as it was unique and I quickly became interested in algae (the world?s most important ?plants?) in general and the ultrastructure of algae in particular.

Q: So, what exactly do you mean by ultrastructure?

A: Ultrastructure refers to the level of observation that was made available when the electron microscope was developed. And in order to study biological samples with an electron microscope you have to section the material very thin. In fact, the sections are so thin that if you looked at them on edge, you couldn?t see them at all because they are below the resolution of a typical light microscope. So this whole process was, in a sense, made viable for biological research in the 1960s when the electron microscopes and the cutting devices were readily available and people went wild looking at tiny details within cells that had never been seen before. For example, a lot of people who have read about biology know about ribosomes. But ribosomes were never seen in a light microscope as such. Similarly, the chloroplast in algae is something that was seen at the light microscopic level, but the internal structures of the chloroplast were not very well understood until the electron microscope allowed us to see a lot more detail.

Q: Is this what you are most interested in as an application for algae?

A: Having been influenced by wonderful colleagues, like Dr. Bill Gerwick, here at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I am most interested in, and excited about, the medicinal uses of algal compounds. There has been enough research to demonstrate that useful compounds are present in algae waiting to be found and developed into critically needed medicines. These exciting results are based on a tiny sampling of all the different species of algae that are out there in the real world. So, one can imagine hundreds of new, powerful pharmaceuticals. Alas, as I understand, finding an algal compound with antiviral or anticancer activity is one thing; and getting a pharmaceutical company to undertake the long and costly process of getting that compound on the market is another thing. But what an exciting opportunity for science to help humankind!

For those of the scientific bent- the competele convresation between the interviewer and Dr.Russell can be seen here - http://bit.ly/dcKCsO

Source: AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com.
Video :
Thu July 15 2010 07:03:54 AM by Sumukhi algae  |  fuel  |  research  |  energy  |  Biofuel 1849 views
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