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Mandë Holford, PhD

Dr. Mandë Holford is as an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. Her joint appointments reflect her interdisciplinary research, which goes from mollusks to medicine, combining chemistry and biology to discover, characterize, and deliver novel peptides from venomous marine snails as tools for manipulating cellular physiology in pain and cancer. Her laboratory investigates the power of venom to transform organisms and to transform lives when it is adapted to create novel therapeutics for treating human diseases and disorders. Mandë believes we need a new deal with nature, where we appreciate it’s intrinsic value and make a serious effort to conserve, protect and restore as much of what remains and has been lost, and at the same time we understand how nature is essentially tied to our health, agriculture and economy. Venomous snails can help give us new medicines, new pesticides for agriculture, and also innovations to drive our economy. She has received several awards including being recently named a New Champion Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum, the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and honored as a Breakthrough Women in Science by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and NPR’s Science Friday. Dr. Holford is actively involved in science education, advancing the public understanding of science, and science diplomacy. She is cofounder of, an award winning EdTech company that uses tabletop, digital, and XR games about extreme creatures in nature, like snails that eat fish, as a conduit to advance scientific learning in K-12 classrooms. Dr. Holford codeveloped a premier Science Diplomacy course at The Rockefeller University to encourage early career scientists to think globally about the impacts of their research as it pertains to international relations and the transdisciplinary and transboundary challenges we have to tackle. Dr. Holford is a Life Member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and a AAAS Science &Technology Policy Fellow. Dr. Holford received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University.

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