Season 1, Episode 1

The Killer Snail Chemist

Mandë Holford, Biochemist

Follow biochemist Mandë Holford as she investigates snails' lethal venom, looking for compounds that could be used to treat pain—and even cancer.

More about this episode

These aren’t your ordinary garden snails. Tiny cone snails may boast delicate and gorgeous shells, but they pack a powerful—and lethal—punch. The snails’ venom can be fatal to various fish and even humans. But it could also offer a potential cure.

Mandë Holford, a biochemist at Hunter College and the American Museum of Natural History, works with a team to investigate the snails’ venom and look for compounds that could be used to treat pain and cancer. Ancient cultures have traditionally used their natural environment to look for cures for the things that ail them, she explains. Now, researchers are investigating how “nature’s deadliest cocktail” could create new pathways for treating old problems.

External Links
Mande Holford's Lab Website
Mandë Holford On Science Friday
Science Friday Educational Resource: How Do ‘Killer Snails’ Kill Their Victims?