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Personal Information
Russell Hill
IMET Director and Professor
Areas of Expertise: 
Symbiosis between bacteria and marine invertebrates, especially sponges. Marine actinomycete ecology and molecular biology, microbiology of marine natural products. Microalgae and biofuels. Marine biotechnology.
Lab Affiliation: 
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
Campus Location: 
Columbus Center, Room 5083
Mailing Address: 
701 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Office Phone: 
Office Fax: 
Research Interests: 
The major focus of research in my laboratory is the investigation of symbiotic bacteria associated with marine invertebrates, in particular, sponges. Many important compounds with pharmaceutical potential have been discovered in sponges and other invertebrates. In some cases, the compounds of interest are produced, not by the sponges themselves, but by bacteria associated with the sponges. We are identifying many of the bacteria present in sponges even if we cannot grow them, by cloning the genes encoding the 16S ribosomal RNA from these sponges. We can then rationally select culture conditions to be able to grow a higher proportion of the bacteria and, hopefully, find the ones that produce important compounds. We have isolated a Micromonospora sp. strain M42 from the Indonesian sponge Acanthostrongylophora that produces manzamine A, an antimalarial compound found in this sponge. We also succeeded in isolating symbiotic Vibrio sp. that produce kahalalide F, a promising anti-cancer compound first found in the Hawaiian mollusk Elysia rufescens.
University of Cape Town South Africa, 1988, Ph.D., Microbiology


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