Located at the world-renowned Scripps
Institution of Oceanography, the Center for Marine Biotechnology
and Biomedicine (CMBB) is a campuswide UCSD
research division dedicated to the exploration of the novel and
diverse resources of the ocean. Research programs focus on marine
biomedicine and marine drug discovery, with an emphasis on cancer and
both infectious and inflammatory diseases. CMBB scientists
investigate a wide range of biotechnologies, from the special
properties of deep-sea marine microbes to the genetic engineering of
commercially viable marine animals.
CMBB is unique. Nowhere else in the world is research of such
magnitude being conducted on the biomedical potential of marine
resources. The program integrates Scripps's leading expertise in
marine science with the frontline medical research activities of the
UCSD School of Medicine. The combined efforts represent an
unprecedented approach to the development of new drugs and the fight
CMBB has established its remarkable research programs by
encouraging collaboration among scientists from many disciplines and
departments on the UCSD campus. Further, its location near the La
Jolla high-tech community provides exciting opportunities for
interaction with many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. An
important goal is to foster involvement by the local biotech
community in accessing marine resources, in placing CMBB graduate
students within local industry, and in developing joint programs in
marine biomedicine. CMBB is also fostering collaborations with other
cancer research foundations such as the Burnham Institute in La
The New Science of Marine Microbiology
One of the most advanced areas within CMBB is the study of marine microorganisms in a
program of interactive research involving chemistry, molecular biology, and environmental
science. Researchers are engaged in understanding the genetic foundations of organisms
adapted to life in the sea, including the deepest parts of the oceans. Scripps scientists
were among the first to explore the remarkable world of deep-sea hydrothermal vents, where
volcanism produces a unique realm of marine life. Recent studies have conclusively shown that
organisms in these communities are physiologically and genetically unique, leading scientists
to believe that they have great potential for novel commercial applications. Continued basic
research with these organisms is opening an entirely new source for biomedical discoveries.
The Frontier of Biomedical Research
CMBB researchers have developed collaborative biomedical research programs involving studies of
cell processes, molecular events in fertilization, and neurophysiology. These studies are aimed
at acquiring a more fundamental understanding of the basic processes involved, and focus on
understanding the causes of human disease and developing new treatments.
Wise Use of Marine Resources
The sea is a vast storehouse of precious resources with tremendous potential for humanity.
Conservation is the responsibility of all who tap these resources. CMBB collecting efforts
are conducted with the strictest discretion by trained biologists, divers, and technicians.
Although live specimens are collected from the sea, the ultimate objective is not to harvest
organisms, but to obtain the biochemical information they possess. This approach ensures
marine resources that may prove valuable in the fight against disease will be available
for generations to come.
Scripps has a highly rated and comprehensive Ph.D. program
with 190 Ph.D. students.
[ Program Site ]