Marine cone venomous snails are predators that use a purely chemical mechanism for catching their prey. There are over 700 types of venomous snails, each of which has a unique venom that can help the cone snail capture fish, worms, and even other venomous snails. In this talk, Dr. Baldomero “Toto” Olivera describes different types of venomous snails, and how his lab purified venom from one cone snail species and found that it was composed of a variety of small peptide toxins that induced specific neurological responses in the prey. One of these small peptides has since been approved to treat humans for severe pain.
Baldomero “Toto” Olivera received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of the Philippines, a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from Caltech and did his postdoctoral work at Stanford University. His early research contributions included the discovery and biochemical characterization of E. coli DNA ligase. His laboratory initiated the identification and characterization of the biologically… Continue Reading