CORVALLIS - Bill Gerwick, a professor of pharmacy at Oregon State University, has been named to a National Academy of Sciences panel that will examine marine biotechnology and the development of marine natural products.

This national marine biotechnology panel, which meets for the first time in July at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, is comprised of a dozen scientists with varying backgrounds.

Gerwick is known internationally for his research on extracting from marine algae different compounds that exhibit promising cancer-fighting properties. Such compounds may eventually result in new products, or they may help scientists better understand some of the underlying mechanisms that cause different cancers.

"That's really what this panel is all about - to look at where we are at in marine biotechnology, see where future opportunities are, and estimate what kind of resources are necessary to achieve such goals," Gerwick said.

The panel will meet a second time this fall in Washington, D.C., then produce a report for the National Academy of Sciences that will be shared with members of Congress.

The scientists will provide an overview of marine biotechnology issues and research; outline current products in the marketplace and under development; and describe the potential impacts of new research on cloning and "transgenics," or the manipulation of genes, as they relate to marine biotechnology.

Gerwick has been on the OSU faculty since 1984.

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Bill Gerwick, 541-737-5801