1 Oct 2022

Sam Afoullouss: searching for medicinal secrets in the deep sea

From Saturday Morning, 9:40 am on 1 October 2022
Underwater chemist Sam Afoullouss

Sam Afoullouss Photo: Supplied

Descending deep down into the waters off the west coast of Ireland, to where there is no light, underwater chemist Sam Afoullouss has a robot collecting marine organisms in his search for new medicines. Giant sponges, dumbo octopuses, and bubblegum coral are among the materials he has used.

Afoullouss believes the sea offers untapped medicinal potential, able to be harvested whilst retaining its wild ecosystems. Childhood memories of his Moroccan aunty making remedies from a variety of flowers and leaves sparked his passion, which grew during his chemistry studies at the University of Galway — where he was also introduced to another passion: scuba diving.