Catalogue of USM-RIKEN Natural Product (CURINaP) Library for the discovery of bioactive molecules on ageing and ageing related diseases.


School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, USM
Prof. Dr. Habibah A. Wahab (PI)

Dr. Hiroyuki Osada
Dr. Toshihiko Nogawa
Dr. Futamura Yushi
Dr. Makato Kawatani


In 2011, USM-RIKEN Joint Laboratory on Bioprobe Discovery (Joint-Lab) was established to spearhead research in chemical biology, leverageing Malaysia’s rich biodiversity which provides sustainable supply of natural product. Natural products are a unique source of chemical diversity and are an ideal starting point for any drug discovery programme.  Recognising this opportunity, the Joint-Lab has successfully launched a centralized Catalogue of USM-RIKEN Natural Product (CURINaP) Library housed in Institute of Molecular Medicine, USM. CURINaP was developed with close supervision of RIKEN personnel in collaboration with USM team of scientists. The library comprises of extracts, fractions and chemical compounds from medicinal plants of Malaysia as well as from USM microbial culture collections. This rich library has been screened thus far for wide-spectrum anti-microbial activities and some interesting results have been uncovered.

In this project, our first objective is to expand CURINaP and make it accessible and amenable to various biological screenings. Currently, over 300 plant materials extracted to produce thousands of fractions of natural product. We plan to expand the library to consist at least 500 plants as originally proposed. We also propose to develop high quality natural product library of purified fractions for further biological screening.  The fractions will also be subjected to tannins removal and molecular weight filters to separate that with high molecular weight components. The fractions containing detectable compounds will be used in biological screening.

Our second objective in this project is to discover active fractions and/or compounds for various biological activities, particularly those with respect to ageing. After the biological screening, the individual compounds of the active fractions will be rapidly purified to confirm biological activity. The research will also include neurite outgrowth phenotypic assays using neuromelablastoma cells, cytotoxicity assay using cancer cells, in vitro enzymatic assays, animal pharmacological study, structural modification through computational modelling and organic synthesis or chemical biology to probe the mechanism of interactions with the diseases’ targets.

It is hoped that from this study, we could contribute to the development of anti-ageing medicine or improve our understanding in extending healthy lifespan in humans.


Natural products and ageing research