Professor Marcel Jaspars

PharmaSea project leader, Director Marine Biodiscovery Centre Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen, King's College Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

Marcel Jaspars

Marcel Jaspars is Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen. Research in the Jaspars group focuses on the functions and applications of natural products, particularly those from marine organisms. The goal of the work is to determine the biological role of selected natural products as well as using them as pharmaceuticals and tools for biomedical research. The core skills in the group are natural product isolation and structure determination using spectroscopic methods.

Marcel Jaspars joined the faculty at Aberdeen in 1995 and was promoted to full professor in 2003. He was awarded the 2003 Matt Suffness award by the American Society of Pharmacognosy and has recently completed a Research Development Fellowship from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council on 'Biosynthesis and Exploitation of Marine-Derived Post-Translationally Modified Ribosomal Peptides'. Marcel was Chair of the editorial board of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal 'Natural Product Reports' from 2007-2010, is a visiting Professor at MabCent at the University of Tromsø, and consults for a number of UK marine biotechnology companies. Marcel sits on the Industrial Biotechnology Sector group of the Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network, and as part of the network has led scientific missions to Japan, the US and New Zealand. Marcel Jaspars is part of the European Science Foundation Working Group that prepared the position paper 'Marine Biotechnology: A New Vision and Strategy for Europe' released in Oct 2010. 

Marcel has recently established the Marine Biodiscovery Centre, a £1.6 M investment bringing together scientists from different disciplines to focus on marine resources for novel pharmaceuticals, and to investigate fundamental questions in chemical ecology and biosynthesis. The Centre contains facilities for chemistry, chromatography, spectroscopy, molecular genetics and microbiology and is the first interdisciplinary centre of its kind in the UK. Academic staff associated with the centre are in natural products chemistry, biosynthesis and molecular genetics (Deng) and in chemical analysis. Part of the MBC’s remit is to host researchers from developing countries with an interest in investigating their own bioresources.

Significant career milestones

Since 1995
University of Aberdeen, Senior Lecturer (since 2000) and Professor for Organic Chemistry (since 2003)

PDRA, Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, USA

1991 - 1992
PDRA, Department of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire

Ph.D. with Anthony P. Davis. Department of Chemistry, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire

Fellowships/ Visting Professorships and Consultancy

2007 - 2012
Visiting Professor at the University of Tromsø, Norway

2009 - 2011
Consultant to Aquapharm Biodiscovery

2007 - 2009
Science manager for marine and aquatic biotechnology for 'Bioscience for Business' Knowledge Transfer Network

2006 - 2009
BBSRC Research Development Fellow

On the Scientific Advisory Board of MabCent, Tromsø, Norway

2004 - 2005
Visiting Academic at The Australian Institute of Marine Science