K (Kylie) Hesp MSc

K (Kylie) Hesp MSc


Immortalizing marine sponge cell culture


Marine sponge cells are the richest natural source of compounds with potential therapeutic or commercial applications. In order to produce these compounds in sufficient quantities for these purposes, attempts have been made at culturing sponge cells under laboratory conditions. However, no major breakthroughs have been achieved in this regard. Over the last two decades, novel tools such as RNA interference and gene editing techniques have become available that allow precise influence over genes and their expression. These developments provide new opportunities to tackle the bottlenecks in marine sponge cell culture.

The goal of project is to obtain stable and/or immortalized sponge cell lines required to harness the enormous potential of sponge-derived chemicals through the use of novel biotechnological techniques such as RNA interference and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing.