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Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (CENTEX SHRIMP)

Centex Shrimp, which is an abbreviation for the Center for Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. It is a multidisciplinary laboratory that was formed in October 2001 by the amalgamation of research laboratories from the Departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Biotechnology of the Faculty of Science and It is jointly supported by the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University and the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC).  

Vision :

Our vision for the year 2007 is that Thailand will be the world leader in production of healthy & healthful, domesticated shrimp cultivated in biosecure pons with no negative environmental impact. This could be summarized by the motto, “Premium shrimp from paradise”.

Mission:

The mission statement for Centex Shrimp is "Premier science for premium shrimp". This means that its aim is to carry out academically excellent research on molecular biology and biotechnology of shrimp for application in the production of the highest quality of consumer shrimp. 

"Premier Science for Premium Shrimp"

Strategy :

• To serve as a coordination center for cooperative research on shrimp amongst, Mahidol University, BIOTEC and other national and international institutions
• To become a national and regional focus for research and training in molecular biology and biotechnology for the shrimp industry
• To operate in close consultation with the Thai shrimp industry so that our work will be not only academically sound but also relevant to industry needs

Current Research Projects :

Centex research projects are driven by a combination of current needs of the shrimp industry and expertise of the staff. Research priorities are set by urgency of industry needs, and these can change with time. Thus, the interests listed below reflect the situation at the time this webpage was printed.

Molecular study of shrimp pathogens including viruses, bacteria and parasites
Development of diagnostic probes and kits for shrimp diseases
Shrimp humoral and cellular defense mechanisms
Shrimp genome analysis
Shrimp nutritional research particularly for improved reproduction
Development and improvement of domesticated, specific pathogen free (SPF) black tiger shrimp

 

 

Research Highlights :

• Development of DNA diagnostic procedures for several viral diseases: White-Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV), Yellow-Head Virus (YHV) and Hepatopancreatic Parvo Virus (HPV) in shrimp. These are now available together with reagents for all these viruses from the Shrimp Biotechnology Business Unit (SBBU) under the Ezee Gene brand.
• Development of nested RT-PCR diagnostic detection for yellow head virus that is now licensed to Farming IntelliGene Technology Corporation, Taiwan.

Staff :

As of October 2005, there are 17 staff members at Centex Shrimp (15 scientists and 2 office staff). Of these, 8 hold Ph.D., 2 hold M.Sc. and 5 hold B.Sc. degree. Since 2001, Prof. Dr. Timothy W. Flegel has been a Director of the Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Awards :

Science and Technology Award in 2000, Thailand Toray Science Foundation, in recognition of the group’s work on shrimp viral disease diagnosis and control. (Prof. Dr. Vichai Boonsaeng, Prof. Dr. Timothy W. Flegel and Prof. Dr. Boonsirm Withyachumnarnkul).
Outstanding Technologist Award in 2003, Foundation for Promotion of Science and Technology under the patronage of His Majestry the King, Applications of Biotechnology for Shrimp Industry (Prof.Dr. Vichai Boonsaeng, Prof. Dr. Timothy W. Flegel and Prof. Dr. Boonsirm Withyachumnarnkul in collaboration with researchers from other departments of Mahidol Univesrsity, Chulalongkorn University and Srinakharinwirot University.
Fellowship of Young Women in Science 2005 from L’Oreal Thailand Company Limited for the project entitled “Identification and characterization of Taura syndrome virus (TSV) carriers by RT-PCR and development of a new sampling procedure for shrimp haemolymph on filter paper, this causes disease in shrimp’ (Mrs. Wansika Kiatpathomchai)

Services :

Yearly regional training courses on shrimp pathology
Active post-graduate training program with 15-20 M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and one or more post-doctoral fellows
Providing consultants for the Thai Shrimp industry on disease diagnosis and control and on broodstock development
Occasional courses on specialized topics according to demand



Facilities :
• Cell and tissue culture facility
• Facility for shrimp histopathology and transmission electron microscopy
• PCR analysis and proteomics
• Wet laboratory


Collaboration :

In Thailand
• The Thai Department of Fisheries in the areas of disease control and shrimp domestication
• Chulalongkorn University in the area of shrimp genetics
• Rangsit University in the area of pathogen isolation, characterization and diagnosis
• Srinakharinwirot University in the area of diagnostic tool development
• Prince of Songkla University in the area of disease diagnosis and control Maejo University in the area of shrimp genes involved in apoptosis

Abroad
• Zoology Department, National University of Taiwan on shrimp disease and genetics
• CSIRO Livestock Industries, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Australia on shrimp disease diagnosis and control.
• Department of Comparative Physiology, Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University, Sweden on the shrimp defense system
• James Cook University, Australia on shrimp pathogen characterization
• Oceanic Institute, Hawaii on shrimp maturation and genetics

Funding :


Centex Shrimp is operated by funds from six sources: Mahidol University, BIOTEC, research grants, contract research, royalties on intellectual property (IP) and revenue from training and analytical services. In the 2001-2002 fiscal year, total input from Mahidol University was approximately 15.4 million baht (excluding faculty salaries and overhead) and grant funding was approximately 7.7 million baht, for a total of approximately 23.1 million baht (about US$500,000). Approximately half of this amount was in the form of capital expenditures of start-up equipment and this will be repeated for the second and third years of operation. Thereafter, capital expenditures will decrease substantially, but it is expected that grant income will increase with the increasing size of the group.


With respect to income from services and IP, Centex Shrimp collaborates closely with the Shrimp Biotechnology Business Unit (SBBU), established by BIOTEC to bring the results research to the marketplace. For example, SBBU currently markets PCR test kits under the Ezee Gene brand for a number of shrimp pathogens, including white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and hepatopancreatic parvovirus (HPV). It also markets a monoclounal antibody kit for yellow head virus that resulted from research within Centex Shrimp through collaboration with other institutions.


In addition, SBBU also offers training and support services for shrimp disease diagnosis both locally and internationally. Revenue from sale of the kits yields returns to support further research by BIOTEC (the original research sponsor) and royalties to Mahidol University, Centex Shrimp and its collaborators. Income increased exponentially in the first three years of SBBU operation beginning in 2000, with total income from kits and services for 2001-2002 reaching 4.5 million baht by the third quarter. This yielded a return of approximately 2.5 million for BIOTEC and 0.4 million in royalties. Further information about SBBU, its products and services can be found at www.shrimpbiotec.com


For further information about Centex Shrimp, please contact us at the following address :

CONTACT ADDRESS :
Centex Shrimp, Chalerm Prakiat Building, Floor 4,
Faculty of Science, Mahidol University,
Rama VI Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Tel : 66-2-201-5870-72 Fax : 66-2-247-7051
website : http://www.biotec.or.th/centex


Prof. Timothy W. Flegel (Head) e-mail: sctwf@mahidol.ac.th
Secretary : tetlt@mahidol.ac.th