The Science Hour with Dr. Mandë Holford: A Warm Up

Known as: A Venom Scientist

Based out of: New York, New York (Hunter College, The American Museum of Natural History and CUNY Graduate Center)

What she does, in short: Uses venom to connect nature and humanity to treat human disease.

Why what she does is important to you: Dr. Holford and her team are working to harness the incredible (and sometime lethal) power of venom into safe and effective drug therapies that benefit human health. There are currently six FDA approved drugs in the United States that are derived from venom. These types of naturally derived therapeutics are an important tool in drug development, and have enabled both new compounds for treating diseases and disorders, and new strategies for doing so.

Examples of venom and its drug application:

Cone snail venom: used in treatment of chronic pain of HIV and cancer patients

Gila monster venom: used in treatment of type 2 diabetes

Jararaca pit viper venom: used in treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure

Fun fact: Mandë co-founded Killer Snails, LLC, an award winning EdTech learning games company that uses extreme creatures, like venomous marine snails, as a conduit to advance scientific learning in K-12 classrooms.

What you’ll learn from the talk: How venom evolved in a family of marine snails and why venom has the potential to be incredibly productive in developing novel treatments for human ailments.

This event is for you if: Ever wondered if something that kills you could be used to cure you? Tune in to learn a new way of appreciating snakes, snails and other (sometimes-scary) venomous creatures.

When: This talk has passed.  You can watch the recording here

This Science Hour is generously sponsored by the 1911 Trust and the James and Gale Bacon Family Trust.


Photo credit: The CUNY Graduate Center