• Message from the Director
  • Mission & Vision
  • Objective & Strategies
  • Research Themes
  • Facilities
  • Visitors

Dr. Sergey Dobretsov

Welcome to the website of the Center of Excellence in Marine Biotechnology (CEMB)

There is widespread and ever-increasing interest in marine biotechnology and its socio-economic impacts. Oman’s exploitable economic zone covers some 400,000 square kilometers of ocean, which has a rich biodiversity. Living marine resources are Oman’s major renewables and have remarkable potential for commercial exploitation beyond the present capture fishery. Aquaculture is at the core of future development plans and must be supported by the application of appropriate genetic, cellular and molecular technologies, which enable fish farmers to produce more abundant, resilient and healthier supplies of seafood. Extreme environments occur within oceans, which have led to the evolution of marine organisms with unique structures, metabolic pathways, reproductive systems and sensory and defense mechanisms. In the future, within these molecular structures and processes will be found new materials, bioactive compounds and biochemical systems and processes that will have applications in human health, nutrition and future supplies of energy.

The multi-disciplinary nature of biotechnology research fits well into a university environment, with its ability to engage researchers from life sciences to engineering to business development on single projects. With foresight, Sultan Qaboos University has actively supported marine biotechnology through the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in 2004 and a research center in 2005. CEMB was opened with the stated aims of capacity building and implementation of new research programs in marine biotechnology. Since 2005, CEMB has served as the Sultan Qaboos University focal point for marine biotechnology, through multi-disciplinary research programs, post-graduate training and dissemination of information. Areas of current research include marine microbiology and biofouling, isolation and identification of potentially useful compounds from marine invertebrates, heavy metal content of shellfish and aquaculture biotechnology. Research links have been established with leading centers overseas and CEMB is bringing its expertise and linkages into close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth in support of national plans for aquaculture development.

The wide range of research topics covered within the past five years are reflected in the listing of peer-reviewed publications, which are all available from the center, as PDF files, on request.

  1. Create a strong infrastructure and develop an integrated research program in marine biotechnology.
  2. Facilitate interdisciplinary and multi-institutional efforts to bridge gaps in research and encourage partnerships between academia, government and industry to commercialize scientific findings.
  3. Apply advanced molecular biology techniques and information technology to a carefully selected suite of marine habitats and organisms.
  4. Discover genes and processes that can be used to develop innovative products and approaches to benefit biomedicine and industry.
  5. Use and management of marine resources in a sustainable manner.
  1. To establish an internationally recognized research center for marine biotechnology which will exploit marine resources sustainably, resulting in the development of innovative compounds and processes.
  1. To serve as the Sultan Qaboos University focal point for marine biotechnology.
  2. To seek and administer internal and external research funding for multi-disciplinary marine biotechnology research programs.
  3. To support post graduate training and education.
  4. To support visiting research scientists and facilitate their research in marine biotechnology in Oman.
  5. To facilitate interactions between Sultan Qaboos University and government ministries, international organizations and the commercial sector for conducting research and development in the field of marine biotechnology.
  6. To create awareness of the potential developments and commercial opportunities for marine biotechnology through the use of scientific and popular media and by the organization of local, regional and international meetings.
  1. Advanced aquaculture
  2. Biofouling and antifouling
  3. Genetics of commercial species
  4. Bioinformatics
SQU has a wide range of excellent facilities to support advanced research and post-graduate training in marine biotechnology.  These include laboratories, field stations and research vessels.

CEMB works closely with the College of Marine Science and Agriculture, which operates a Central Instrumentation Laboratory with advanced analytical capabilities, including high-performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometer and ultra-violet/visible spectroscopy.  The Department of Marine Science and Fisheries operates a marine microbiology laboratory and has facilities for DNA analysis and marine algal culture.  Practical facilities include a marine station at Al-Hail, equipped with fish and shellfish culture facilities and a coastal research vessel ‘Al-Jamiah’, equipped for specimen collecting and oceanographic survey.

Elsewhere in SQU, the College of Medicine and Health Sciences operates scanning and transmission electron microscopes, a molecular genetics laboratory and a magnetic resonance imaging unit.  The College of Science offers advanced analytical facilities through its developing Central Analytical and Applied Research Unit.  These include X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescent spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, scanning and atomic force electron microscopy and flow cytometry.












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