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Conus Peptides Video Lecture
Although snails do not necessarily come to mind when venoms are mentioned, a large number (about 10,000 species) of different venomous predatory snails exist. The cone snails (Conus), which comprise more than 500 species and which have a large number of peptide neurotoxins present in their venoms, are the most intensively studied. Some cone snail venoms are lethal to man; one species causes a 70% fatality rate. In a 70-minute, three-part lecture, HHMI Professor Baldomero Olivera, Ph.D., discusses how these venoms have been used to understand the nervous system, and how the characterization of the components of the venom has led to the development of certain drugs. He also explains how the biology of the snails is correlated with venom chemistry. He notes that different fish-hunting cone snails have different toxins and consequently have developed different strategies for hunting fish. This resource also contains the speaker’s biography and nine short video clips for use in the classroom. The talk is part of a series of iBioSeminars—video lectures given by many of the world’s leading scientists, with accompanying educational materials.
HHMI Professor: Baldomero M. Olivera, Ph.D.
Award Years: 2006
Summary: Baldomero Olivera, Ph.D., is an HHMI Professor at the University of Utah whose laboratory studies the venom of predatory snails in the genus Conus. His research has discovered many new toxins with novel properties that help advance our knowledge of neuroactive peptides. His HHMI-funded educational initiatives include:
- A program that draws on his own research to teach young students and the general public about the diversity of life. Undergraduate students at universities in Hawaii and the Philippines explore their community’s unique biological resources through direct laboratory research and then become conduits for conveying the excitement of biodiversity research to elementary school children and the general public; and
- A neuroscience minor at the University of Utah in which undergraduate students from diverse scientific and engineering disciplines will study topics in neuroscience and will conduct independent research in a neuroscience laboratory.