Dr Grant Garren January
Profiles

Dr Grant Garren January

Research Fellow in Natural Product Discovery

School of Biomedical Sciences (Faculty of Health)

Research Fellow in Natural Product Discovery on the Newton Fund/MRC/SAMRC - South Africa-UK Antibiotic Accelerator https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/uk-nil-south-africa-research-team-to-establish-hub-for-discovery-of-new-antibiotics with Prof. Mathew Upton of the Antibiotic resistant pathogens research group https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/biomedical-research-group/antibiotic-resistant-pathogens-research-group.

This research project in Marine biodiscovery forms part of an exciting initiative between the United Kingdom and South African Medical Research Councils', with the principle aim of setting up an SA-UK Antibiotic Accelerator Initiative or Discovery Hub; particularly, investigating SA, UK, and Polar marine environments for novel antimicrobials. 

Prior to taking up this position at the University of Plymouth, I did a short-term postdoctoral research fellowship on the SA-leg of the project, working with Prof. Rosemary Dorrington at Rhodes University (Marine Natural Products), whilst being seconded to CPUT, with Dr. Marilize Le Roes-Hill at the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute (Actinobacterial Research).

Qualifications

October 2020 - Research fellow in Natural Product Discovery, University of Plymouth, UK

March 2017 - EU Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) PhD fellow, National Research Council of Italy, Italy & EU

September 2015 - Manufacturing Scientist at Roche Sequencing Solutions, South Africa

October 2014 - Erasmus Mundus exchange student, MSc Bioinformatics programme, Italy

January 2013 - MSc (Marine) Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

January 2012 - BSc (Hons) Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

February 2008 - BSc Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Teaching interests

During my postgraduate studies I previously held a position as Biotechnology tutor and practical demonstrator. 

My duties consisted of assisting students and practical co-ordinators during practical sessions and included scientific writing, conceptualisation, and communication; tutoring, marking of tests, assignments, and examinations; and invigilating tests and examinations. 

The modules I tutored were: Introduction to Microbiology (BTN 211), Quantitative Methods in Biotechnology (BTN 215), Environmental and Food Microbiology (BTN 213), Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (BTN 312) and Plant Biotechnology and Proteomics  (BTN 324). 

Research interests

My interests include marine genetic resources, marine biodiscovery, novel antimicrobials, and antimicrobial resistance. 

In my postdoctoral project, I will be exploring biodiversity-rich marine environments to combat the pressing need for new antibiotics to treat antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, funded by the Newton Fund/MRC/SAMRC - South Africa-UK Antibiotic Accelerator Initiative.

During my PhD, I worked on previously unexploited Antarctic deep-sea sediments to discover novel species of marine bacteria that could possess new antimicrobials against multidrug-resistant pathogens.

In my MSc, I investigated endemic species of seaweed from South Africa for sulphated polysaccharides including fucoidan and determined their therapeutic potential including anticancer activity in vitro.

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Journals

Tortorella, E. Tedesco, P., Palma Esposito, F., January, G.G., Fani, R., Jaspars, M., and de Pascale, D. 2018. Antibiotics from Deep-Sea Microorganisms: current discoveries and perspectives. Marine Drugs.

January, G.G., Naidoo, R.K., Kirby-McCullough, B. and Bauer, R. 2019. Assessing methodologies for fucoidan extraction from South African brown algae. Algal Research, 40, p.101517.

Vitale, G.A., Sciarretta, M., Palma Esposito, F., January, G.G., Giaccio, M., Bunk, B., Spröer, C., Bajerski, F., Power, D., Festa, C. and Monti, M.C., 2020. Genomics–Metabolomics Profiling Disclosed Marine Vibrio spartinae 3.6 as a Producer of a New Branched Side Chain Prodigiosin. Journal of Natural Products, 83(5), pp.1495-1504.

Articles
January GG, Naidoo RK, Kirby-McCullough B & Bauer R 2019 'Assessing methodologies for fucoidan extraction from South African brown algae' Algal Research 40, 101517-101517 , DOI

Reports & invited lectures

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. From deep-sea exploration to deep sequencing: The lost world of bioactive compounds. EMBRIC Transnational Access program. 15th January 2019. DSMZ, Brunswick, Germany.

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. Marine genetic resources in South Africa – current status, challenges, and ideas to build for the future. “Marine Genetic Resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction: bridging policy, law, science and research and development” Workshop in Brussels, 22nd May 2019, EU Commission - DG MARE, Brussels, Belgium.

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. From deep-sea exploration to deep sequencing: The lost world of bioactive. XVI International Symposium on Marine Natural Products (MANAPRO) and XI European Congress on Marine Natural Products (ECMNP). September, 2019. Peniche, Portugal.

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. Marine genetic resources in South Africa – current status, challenges, and ideas to build for the future. Paris Biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) Workshop, 8th November 2019. Paris, France.

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. Exploitation of new strains for drug discovery from Antarctica deep-sea sediments. Seminar series (MNF-bioc-374) – GEOMAR BIOTECH, 18th November 2019. University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Grant Garren January. INVITED SPEAKER. Access and Benefit Sharing of Marine Genetic Resources. Seminar series (MNF-bioc-374) – GEOMAR BIOTECH, 18th November 2019. University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.