Dr. Mandë Holford is a Professor in Chemistry at CUNY Hunter College and The 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 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 named a 2020 Sustainability Pioneer and 2015 New Champion Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum, a California Academy of Sciences fellow, 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 Killer Snails, LLC, 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 an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Dr. Holford received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University.
Venom can kill... or it can cure. Marine chemical biologist Mandë Holford shares her research into animal venom, from killer sea snails to platypuses and slow lorises, and explores its potential to one day treat human diseases like cancer. Someday, snail venom might just save your life.
This talk was presented at a TED conference (2020).
New technology is allowing scientists to look into venoms from small, rare, and hard-to-keep critters as sources for new therapeutics.
This video was put together by Science Magazine (2018).
Injecting flies with snail venom could help us discover molecules for developing new drugs.
This video was put together by A*STAR Research (2019).