NEW RESEARCH OFFICER
Centre for Chemical Biology (CCB) would like to wish a very warm welcome to our new Research Officer, Miss Chiang Pui Nyuk for joining CCB team starting from 15th April 2016. She will focus on research at CCB and also maintaining and expanding the Microbial Natural Product Library (MNPL).
FAREWELL TO MR. SAIFULZAMAN SABRAN
CCB hosted a farewell lunch to Saiful, who is leaving USM to join the private industry. Saiful joined CCB in 2010 as an IT officer, and was part of the team that set up and maintained the CCB servers. The bioinformatic-related research will not be possible without his support. There were speeches from him and CCB members in our farewell lunch. We also presented Saiful with a book and a beautiful Islamic calligraphy frame.You will be missed, Saiful. We do hope to see you back in USM!
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NATURAL PRODUCT
Three CCB M. Sc students, Hainisah Johan, Siti Nur Fatin and Farizah Hanim presented their discovery on potential application of microbes at the International Conference on Natural Product (ICNP) 2016 held in Kuala Terengganu on 15-17th March 2016. The conference provide a platform for scientific community that involves in natural products or natural products related disciplines to discuss and share their latest findings. Of particular interests are microbes from CCB’s Microbial Diversity Library collection that has pharmaceutical prospects due to its ability to produce bioactive natural products.
VISIT TO RIKEN
23 February 2016 — Dr Teh Aik Hong visited RIKEN as a member of the USM–RIKEN International Centre for Ageing Science (URICAS), which held fruitful talks between USM and RIKEN regarding their joint URICAS projects. The visit was led by Vice-Chancellor Dato’ Omar Osman, who also paid an official call on RIKEN's new President Professor Hiroshi Matsumoto.
GENOME ANALYSIS UNCOVER MARINE BACTERIA CRAVING FOR XYLAN/ARABINAN
Dinesh Balachandra, a Master’s student from CCB together with two postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Lau Nyok Sean and Dr. Go Furusawa have successfully published elucidate the genomes of a new a comparative genomics paper entitled “Comparative genome analyses of novel Mangrovimonas-like strains isolated from estuarine mangrove sediments reveal xylan and arabinan utilization genes”. This is the second genome paper related to the genus Mangrovimonas that have been published. The three Mangrovimonas-like strains, TPBH4T, ST2L12T and ST2L15T were isolated from Taman Paya Bakau and Matang Mangrove Forest in Perak, Malaysia. Through bioinformatics analysis, it was found that two of these strains possessed an array of xylan and arabinan degrading enzymes which includes endo-1,4-β-xylanase A and arabinan endo-1,5-alpha-L-arabinosidase. The functionality of these enzymes was further validated through a plate assay. This study has exhibited the ability of marine bacteria to utilize specific carbon sources from mangrove tree leaves present in their habitat. Currently, further work is being carried out to characterize and identify these strains taxonomically.