Workshop by IAS on the structural elucidation of chemical compounds for the GEF bio-prospecting project.

Workshop participants with Dr Serge Lavoie (centre), the workshop facilitator.

The Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS), USP held a workshop from the 21– 23 June at the USP Lower Campus on better understanding tools used to interpret chemical data to reveal the structure of compounds obtained from natural products research.  The workshop was a component of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded 3-year project held by the IAS Pacific Natural Products Research Centre (PNPRC) and titled “Discovering nature-based products and building capacities for the application of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in Fiji”.  As the project implementing agency, IAS is required under the project to build the capacity of National Authorities and Institutions in bio-prospecting related work.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr Serge Lavoie, a current post-doctoral researcher from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA with over 10 years of experience in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The objective of the 3 day workshop was to increase the participants’ understanding of interpreting NMR data and to enable them to determine the chemical structures of unknown compounds. Among the participants who attended the workshop were representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, USP and the Fiji National University as well as some Master’s students in the related fields.

A few participants shared their experience at the workshop and mentioned that information gathered at the workshop would benefit their research work greatly. The Manager of the IAS PNPRC, Dr Katy Soapi stated that the Institute of Applied Sciences will continue to actively contribute to building the capacities of the people of Fiji and the region in the areas of bio-prospecting and drug discovery.

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