The Philippine Mollusk Symbiont ICBG (PMS-ICBG) harnesses the vast biodiversity of the Philippines to discover new drugs to treat bacterial infections, parasitic infections, pain and other neurological conditions and cancer, all of which are serious health problems in both the Philippines and the United States. The Republic of the Philippines represents a unique nexus of exceptional biodiversity, dense human population with pressing societal needs, consequent urgent need for conservation, and government commitment to education and technology to harness national human and natural resources for a sustainable future. Our focus is mollusks and their microbial symbionts;mollusks are one of the most diverse groups of marine animals, and their associated bacteria represent an unexplored trove of chemical diversity. The PMS- ICBG will use our increasing understanding of the interactions between mollusk symbionts and their hosts to discover the most novel and useful molecules. The project will document and describe Philippine mollusk biodiversity and support training and infrastructure that provide the foundation for conservation of Philippine biodiversity. The project is led by Margo Haygood, marine microbiologist, Oregon Health &Science University in association with Gisela Concepcion, marine natural products chemist, University of the Philippines, Diliman;Baldomero Olivera, biochemist and Eric Schmidt, natural products chemist and biochemist, both of University of Utah, Gary Rosenberg, malacologist, of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, Daniel Distel, marine microbiologist, Northeastern University, and Roberta O'Connor, parasitologist, Tufts Medical Center.
Group Plan The vast biological diversity of the Philippines holds promise for discovery of new drugs. The Group Plan describes our overall plan to obtain new compounds that might hold therapeutic potential in treating diseases of the nervous system, cancer, parasitism, and infectious diseases.