HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveExploring Biodiversity: The Search for New Medicines

BioInteractive

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Series
Exploring Biodiversity: The Search for New Medicines

Summary

What medical secrets do venomous snails hold? How can listening in on bacterial conversations help develop new antibiotics? In four presentations, Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler and Dr. Baldomero M. Olivera reveal how a deeper understanding of nature and biodiversity informs their research into new medicines.

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At first glance, the research of Bonnie Bassler and Baldomero “Toto” Olivera might not appear to be medical at all. Dr. Bassler works on marine bacteria that glow in the dark, while Dr. Olivera studies venomous snails that hunt by harpooning fish. Yet their findings show what science has revealed time and again—knowledge that can be used to unlock medical secrets is often hidden in unlikely places. Nature has much to teach us, as long as we know where to look and what to look for. Join us for a four-lecture series as Bonnie and Toto guide us through intriguing slices of the natural world revealing how a deeper understanding of nature and biodiversity informs their research into new medicines.

"My students were throughly engrossed and amazed to hear that the cone snail, a slow-moving critter, is actually a predator equivalent to a shark. For all of these info-bits and equally great content about drug discovery, I highly recommend the inclusion of this entertaining and informative DVD as part of a K-12 or college introductory biology curriculum."

—Roberta Batorski, American Biology Teacher, March 2011

In This Series (7)

by Baldomero M. Olivera, PhD

Venomous carniverous cone snails are a rich source of molecules for scientific research and potential drug development.

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 29 sec)
by Bonnie L. Bassler, PhD

Bacteria are capable of communicating and coordinating their activities with a molecular signaling system called quorum...

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 29 sec)
by Baldomero M. Olivera, PhD

Cone snails have evolved many different toxins for different uses. Total molecular biodiversity may number in the millions.

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 29 sec)
by Bonnie L. Bassler, PhD

The quorum sensing system is a target for a new class of drugs that interfere with virulence without killing bacteria.

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 29 sec)
by Bonnie L. Bassler PhD, Baldomero M. Olivera, PhD, Robert Tjian, PhD, E.O. Wilson, PhD, and Eric Chivian, PhD

A discussion on biodiversity, endangered habitats, and how best to preserve the Earth's ecosystems, presented by the lecturers...

Read More › (Duration: 1 hr 16 min 30 sec)
by Bonnie L. Bassler, PhD

In this 13-minute Q&A session, Dr. Bonnie Bassler answers questions on quorum sensing and other topics related to bacteria...

Read More › (Duration: 12 min 59 sec)
by Baldomero M. Olivera, PhD

In this ten-minute Q&A session, Dr. Olivera answers questions on cone snail behavior, venoms, and biodiversity.

Read More › (Duration: 9 min 18 sec)

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DVD

In four presentations, Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler and Dr. Baldomero M. Olivera reveal how a deeper understanding of nature and biodiversity informs their research into new medicines.

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Bulletin Article