Monash Chemical Society

The Monash Chemical Society (MCS) was founded in 1965 by the School of Chemistry at Monash University. It hosts speakers from within the membership, other Monash departments, and Melbourne, interstate and international institutions. A wide range of topics are included within each year's seminar program.

2018 Lecture Series


Monash Chemical Society Lecture

Prof Mary Garson

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

“Game of Terpenes: Structures, Stereochemistry and Chemical Ecology of Nudibranch Metabolites”

Wednesday 3rd October, 2018

@ 4:00 pm in lecture theatre S2

Nudibranchs, the “butterflies” of the ocean, are a group of brightly-coloured marine molluscs that are the source of diverse bioactive natural products. This talk will describe how an ecological study on chemical defense in nudibranchs led to the isolation and characterization of new terpene metabolites with extensively-rearranged carbon skeletons. Case studies that will be discussed include new isocyanoterpenes from Phyllidia ocellata and from Phyllidiella pustulosa, and epoxy-substituted norditerpenes from Goniobranchus splendidus. NOESY data run at 700 or 900 MHz, together with detailed conformational analysis informed by molecular modeling and DFT calculations, enables assignment of individual configurations. The antimalarial, antifungal and cytotoxic activities of selected metabolites have been explored. The chemistry data are reviewed in an ecological context.

Prof Garson was an Overseas Research Fellow of the Royal Society in Rome, Italy (1977-1978), a Research Fellow at New Hall, Cambridge (1978-1981) and a Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow at James Cook University of North Queensland (1983-1985). She has worked in the UK pharmaceutical industry (Smith Kline Beecham) and previously held a lecturing position at The University of Wollongong (1986-1990). She joined The University of Queensland in 1990. Her research explores the chemistry and natural bioactivity of secondary metabolites from both the marine and terrestrial environment. A key area of interest are the biosynthetic processes by which terpene metabolites are formed in marine sponges, and particularly in the role of inorganic cyanide and thiocyanate in the generation of the isocyano and isothiocyanato motif found in a number of these metabolites. Her research also explores the chemistry and chemical ecology of bioactive 3 alkylpiperidine metabolites from marine sponges, and the chemistry of nudibranchs, notably those from the genera Phyllidiella and Chromodoris, that associate with sponges. A recent interest has been the structure elucidation of metabolites from marine fungi and bacteria.

All welcome

Refreshments will follow the lecture in the Foyer.


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