Environmental Factor, July 2006, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Young Investigator Wins Award
By Jerry Phelps
Andrea Bourdelais of the University of North Carolina Wilmington won the Jack L. Beal award for the best paper by a young investigator in the Journal of Natural Products in 2005. The paper entitled "A New Polyether Ladder Compound Produced by the Dinoflagellate Karenia brevis" describes a compound called brevenal. The compound has generated a great deal of interest because of its unique action as an antagonist to the family of neurotoxins known as the brevetoxins. Brevenal also may be useful as a treatment for mucociliary disorders such as cystic fibrosis. It has been shown to increase mucociliary transport in sheep.
Named in honor of a former distinguished editor of the journal, the Beal award is given to investigators within twelve years of receiving their Ph.D. The award is made by the Foundation Board of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and includes a prize of $1,000, a commemorative plaque, and travel reimbursement to attend the Society's meeting in Washington, D.C.
August 5-9. Pharmacognosy is the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources.
Bourdelais is a research Associate Professor at UNCW. She is the lab director in NIEHS grantee Dan Baden's lab and also a group leader in the Marine Biotechnology Program at the Center for Marine Science. Her research interests include isolating and identifying new toxins from Karenia brevis which may aid in understanding the human health impact of Florida red tides and isolating novel natural products from culturable marine organisms that may have therapeutic potential.