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Medicinal necklaces

Camila Manoel Crnkovic and Rojin Ahadi

Among the earliest life forms on Earth, cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxic molecules called cyanotoxins. “What if we turn the tables and use these toxins for pharmacological purposes?” asks Camilla Crnkovic, who found beauty as well as promising substances when examining the algae under a microscope. “Species of the genus Nostoc are very beautiful—they look like pearl necklaces,” she says. Crnkovic studied microalgae in fresh water as part of her PhD research, which involved bioprospecting for compounds that could help fight cancer.

Image submitted by biochemist Camila Crnkovic, obtained during her PhD, which she completed in 2018 at the University of Illinois in Chicago, USA