Could ocean-dwelling creatures lead us to powerful new medications?

OHSU researcher Margo Haygood, Ph.D., and collaborators from the Philippine Mollusk Symbiont International Cooperative Biodiversity Group have recently discovered two unexpected sources for new antibiotics and painkillers.

In a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe how the bacteria used by shipworms to convert wood into food produce a powerful antibiotic. According to Dr. Haygood, finding new sources of antibiotics is critical because current antibiotics are becoming less effective with widespread use.

The second paper, published in Chemistry & Biology, demonstrates that bacteria carried by cone snails produce a chemical that may be useful in treating pain.

View the full OHSU News release for more.