Dr.Theeshan Bahorun

Dr.Theeshan Bahorun |Clyto Access

National Research and Innovation Chair, Mauritius Research Council, Mauritius

Keynote Speaker

Expertise: Marine Pharmaceuticals And Applied Bio Chemistry

Biography: Dr.Theeshan Bahorun is currently National Research Chair in Applied Biochemistry at the ANDI Centre of Excellence for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research, University of Mauritius where he heads the Biopharmaceutical group. He has more than 20 years of experience in biomedical research on bioactive components of dietary/plant based factors/marine pharmaceuticals, oxidative stress mechanisms, molecular nutrition, chemo preventive strategies in diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular dysfunctions and clinical research.He has been the Chairman of the Food and Agricultural Research Council and is currently the President of the Board of Governors of the University of Technology, Mauritius, the President of the Society for Free Radical Research Africa (SFRR-Africa) and Vice President of the International Association of Medical and Biomedical Researchers (IAMBR). He is the author/co-author of 116 peer reviewed publications and74 peer reviewed communications in international conferences. In 2010 he was awarded the CV Raman Senior Fellowship for African researchers by the Government of India. In 2013 he was conferred the title of Fellow of the Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology and received the Best Mauritian Scientist Award. He was elevated to the rank of Grand Officer of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean (G.O.S.K) in 2015 by the Government of Mauritius for his contribution to Scientific Research and Education.


Title: Marine Pharmaceutical Research in Mauritius: New perspective for anticancer therapeutics


The marine biome has recently emerged as an untapped reservoir for the bio-prospection of structurally unique and pharmacologically active natural products. In this vein, ongoing studies aim to explore the prophylactic potentials of selected Mauritian marine floras and faunas that can spawn potential avenues in the global hunt for novel anti-carcinogenic chemotherapeutics. Using an array of established in vitro biological and chemical models, extracts from 26 marine invertebrate (7 sponge sp, 12 mollusc sp, 5 sea urchin sp, 1 ascidian sp and 1 soft coral sp) and 53 algae species (44 seaweed sp, 5 seagrass sp, 2 cyanobacteria sp and 2 mangrove sp) were analyzed for their (i) anti-oxidative propensities,(ii) anti-proliferative effects against a panel of human cancer cell lines ( 4 oesophageal, 1 liposarcoma, 1 colorectal and 1 HeLa cell line), (iii) epigenetic activities through GFP expression and (iii) total polyphenolic content as potential indicators of their biological activities. Remarkable diversity in the level of total phenolic and flavonoid content and antioxidant capacity depending on marine species were observed. Our data showed that seaweed extracts had more pronounced antioxidant capacity and high polyphenolic contents while sponges exhibited significantly better anti-proliferative potentials particularly against FLO-1, and HeLa cell line. Concomitantly sponge extracts also demonstrated the ability to re-activate tumor suppressor genes in a heLa GFP model highlighting their potential role as epigenetic modulators in cancer therapy. Results reported herein suggest that Mauritian seaweeds and sponges have high potential as prophylactic sources of chemotherapeutic agents that warrant further investigation at the molecular level. This initiative is in line with the goal of the Land Based Oceanographic Industry to promote marine bio-discovery research through its vision to make the blue economy one of the economic pillars of the Republic of Mauritius.


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