Connecting Nature, Humanity, and Classrooms with Killer Snails

Part of Speaker Series for Teachers

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Cone snail peeps out of its shell. Venomous cone snail, Conus betulinus.
Courtesy of Pengchao-BGI /Wikimedia Commons

Join us for a special evening for educators with Mandë Holford, Ph.D., a marine chemical biologist and research associate in the Museum's Division of Invertebrate Zoology.

Fish-hunting snails harpoon their prey with barbs containing complex mixtures of peptide venoms. Venoms—molecules that evolved as toxins—have the power to transform lives. Dr. Holford studies snail venom and its ability to disable prey by interfering with cell signaling. These peptides can provide insights into cellular physiology, informing efforts to develop new medical therapeutics, new agricultural pesticides with gentler environmental impacts, and myriad other innovations yet to be discovered. Dr. Holford will also discuss her newest immersive educational experience, VenomCoLab, which places grade 6-8 students in the role of scientists collaboratively solving an exciting real-world science problem: finding new drug therapies based on the venom of extreme creatures like scorpions, snakes, and cone snails. She will share cost-free opportunities for educators to take part in trying this National Institutes of Health-funded experience with their students.

This is a free online event for teachers. One hour of CTLE credit is available.