Institute of Applied Science


Pacific Natural Products Research Centre

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Section Description

The Centre was established in 2001 under the guidance and leadership of Professor William Aalbersberg as a research branch for the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) involved in bioprospecting work on marine and terrestrial organisms and plants. The Centre has developed in strength and independence, establishing several partnerships over the years. In 2005, the Centre secured an ICBG grant through a consortium of Georgia Institute of Technology, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and IAS. This competitive grant has been successfully renewed twice and we are currently on a new 5 year term (2014-2019) of collaborative research. Success of the ICBG collaboration has brought new grants. The Centre was recently awarded a GEF (Global Environment Facility) grant through the Government of Fiji to work on nature-based products and building capacities for the application of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in Fiji.

The Centre continues to focus its research on the search for antibacterial, antifungal as well as anticancer activity from marine and terrestrial samples. New bioassays and in particular, an anti-dengue test facility is in the process of being set up. The Centre houses a library of actinomycete bacteria isolated from marine sediments and organisms including more than 1900 strains of marine bacteria and more than 3350 marine invertebrate/algae extracts that have been analyzed for general toxicity and against our in-house drug resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi. We are also in the process of establishing libraries of pure compounds extracts from marine macro and microorganisms. There is also a DNA laboratory used in plant and animal/bacterial identification. We also supervise research students at the postgraduate level on   topics relating to natural products chemistry and microbiology.

Bioprospecting Samples Database:

The Bioprospecting Samples Database, the first ever of its kind to be compiled in the Pacific, houses  biodiversity and screening information related to marine samples collected in Fiji over the past 17 years.  Preliminary taxonomic identification (family, genus and species, if known) of marine samples collected in Fiji, images of collection specimens and collection sites are also available from the database. Access the database by clicking here.

Research and Collaboration Opportunities:

The PNPRC is interested in building new collaborations with Academic Institutions, Public-Private Partnerships and Private Companies for the study of natural products to discover new Pharmaceuticals, Agrochemicals, Flavorings & Preservatives or Cosmetic Ingredients.  We can offer the following to our prospective partners:

Government Liaison: 

The PNPRC can liaise with relevant government agencies & local communities to obtain all necessary permits and agreements for the collection and export of natural products within the island nations that support The University of the South Pacific (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu).  The PNPRCís collection policy adheres to the principles laid out in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on equitable Access & Benefit Sharing agreements.

Logistical Support: 

The PNPRC can provide all planning and logistical work required to support field work for the collection of natural products throughout the South Pacific.  This also includes preliminary taxonomic identification of both marine and terrestrial specimens and the deposition and maintenance of voucher samples in the USP Marine Reference Collection or National Herbarium.

Natural Product Libraries: 

The PNPRC maintains growing libraries of diverse high quality natural product extract and pure compound libraries in formats suitable for immediate bioassay and analysis in partnerís bioassays.  In addition, we have a large library of living marine microbial strains (Actinomycetes & Fungi) available for fermentation as well as libraries of extracts prepared from small scale fermentation of these strains.

Natural Products Chemistry: 

The PNPRC has well equipped natural product and analytical laboratories and can perform natural product extraction services, bioassay-guided purification of active metabolites and the isolation of gram quantities of metabolites required for more in-depth biological testing or to support semi-synthetic programs.  We have LC-MS facilities and natural products databases that allow for the rapid discrimination of known compounds.Microbial Services:  The PNPRC can perform new marine microbial strain isolation, characterization and preservation.  We have facilities to support small scale fermentation and strain and process improvement for yield improvement of bioactive metabolites.

Bioassay Support: 

The PNPRC has established in-house bioassays for general toxicity and for identifying extracts/compounds active against drug resistant pathogenic bacteria and fungi.  We can provide extract and compound libraries for bioassay at our partnerís facilities or bring new assays in-house for testing in our facilities.  We are especially interested in collaborations aimed at the discovery of potential new drugs for the treatment of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Contact Us:  To explore further potential Research and Collaboration with the PNPRC, please contact us.

Contact Person:

Name: Dr. Katy Soapi

Title:  Manager

Unit: Pacific Natural Products Research Centre

Contact: +679 323 2941


Pacific Natural Products Research Centre: Research & Postgraduate Studies

The list below contains thesis titles from both Masters (MSc) and Doctoral (PhD) research by the IAS Pacific
Natural Products Research Centre postgraduates, for both completed and current students. Click on thesis titles (blue text) to read more about each research.



Thesis Title





Assessing the Secondary Metabolites and Drug potential of a red-pigmented Bacterium isolated from a Fijian Marine Alga.

Mr. James Sinclair



Isolation of bioactive products from sponge associated bacteria belonging to the genus Pseudoalteromonas

Mr. Ilaisa Kacivakanadina



Isolation of biologically active compounds from two sponges of the order Dictyoceratida

Adi Kula Niradininoco




Extraction, isolation and characterization of anti-cancer compounds from Spongosorites and Stellatta sp. Sponges

Mr. Sanjay Singh




Isolation and structural elucidation of bioactive metabolites from marine bacteria isolated from Solomon Islands sponges

Mr. Wayne Kavora




Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic compounds from marine obligate actionomycte, Salinispara spp.

Mr Satyendra Singh



Bioactive Secondary Metabolites from culturable unusual Actinnomycetes from Solomon Islands Marine Sediments: Isolation and Characterisation of Bioactive Compounds. 

Ms. Ahilya Singh



The Study of Natural products from the sponge Japis coriacea and a New Fijian Ascidian Polyandrocarpa sp. (MSc awarded)

Mr. Semisi Meo



 Isolation and Characterisation of Antibacterial Compounds from Marine Sponge Suburea Clavata

Mr. Luke Mani




A survey of the biodiversity of the benthic marine genus Sarcophyton of collections made in Fiji waters between 2001 and 2005

Mr Klaus Feussner





The Analysis of the Antibiotic Activities of Salinispora Strains from Marine Sediment as a Guide to New Phylogenetic and Chemical Diversity

Mr. Joape Ginigini



Extraction and bioactivity testing of compounds from the marine actinomycete Genus Salinispora

 Mr. Ngetem Amon




Human health security and climate change: Investigation of therapeutic compounds from fungi associated with Fijian marine sponges (European Union Sponsored Project)

Ms Payal Nandini Maharaj



Isolation and Characterisation of bioactive components of the marine sponge, Theonella

 Mr. Pritesh Prasad




Isolation and characterisation of bioactive compounds from marine Actinomycetes

Ms. Kavita Ragini




Isolation and characterisation of cytotoxic components of the marine sponge, Hippospongia sp.

 Mr. Rohitesh Kumar




The Isolation and Biosynthesis of Bengamides in the marine sponges of the Genus Jaspis


Mr. Mukesh Sharma



Pacific Natural Products Research Centre Staff List

Name: Klaus Feussner

Title: Assistant Project Manager (Part Time)

Unit: Pacific Natural Products Research Centre

Email: klaus.feussner(at)

Contact: +679 323 2991

Name: Joape Ginigini

Title: Scientific Officer

Unit: Pacific Natural Products Research Centre

Email: joape.ginigini(at)

Contact: +679 323 2805


Name: Adi Miriama Vuiyasawa

Title: Lab  Technician

Unit: Pacific Natural Products Research Centre

Email: adimiriama.vuiyasawa(at)

Contact: +679 323 2805



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Page updated: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Institute of Applied Science
Faculty of Science and Technology
Private Bag, Laucala Campus,
Suva, Fiji.
Tel: (+679) 323 2965
Fax: (+679) 323 1534