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UNCW MARBIONC Program Breaks Soil this Month

By Roderick McClain

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/whqr/local-whqr-979860.mp3

Wilmington, NC –

Construction is set to begin this month on a dedicated marine biotechnology facility for UNCW's MARBIONC program. WHQR'S Roderick McClain reports the program's aim isolates organisms used in the production of food, energy, and pharmaceuticals.

Research areas include drug discovery, and algae farming for bio-fuels and mariculture the cultivation of marine life in tanks, for food. The 69-thousand square foot facility will double current program research space. Steven Fontana with UNCW's Center for Marine Science says the Millennial Campus will facilitate research partnerships with the private sector.

"We're looking for long-term collaborative research and development opportunities. People can come in and stay as long as they wish. If they want to stay ten, fifteen, twenty years fantastic; we'd love to have them, we'd love to work with them."

The project is funded by $15-million through the American Recovery Act and is slated for completion late next year. The global biotechnology market was expected to top $226 billion by 2010. Ten percent of that includes various areas of marine biotechnology - from toxins and therapeutics, such as shellfish poisoning and cystic fibrosis, to mariculture.

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