The MƒA Thursday Think Speaker Series brings accomplished speakers who dive into cutting-edge topics in STEM education to MƒA. These talks, held once a month throughout the school year, invite MƒA teachers and the general public to learn and engage with these thought leaders and professionals in mathematics, science, and education.

The sting of a jellyfish, the deadly touch of a blue-ringed octopus, and the piercing harpoon of a cone snail—what do these three have in common? Each animal transforms physical warfare into biochemical warfare through the production and use of venom. Venom has evolved in ~15-35% of the animal kingdom—across air, land, and sea. Why is it so pervasive, and what have scientists learned from studying it? 

In this talk, Dr. Mandë Holford presents venom’s scientific path from mollusks to medicine, describing venom’s evolution in terebrid snails and cephalopods and discusses venomic breakthroughs in therapeutic discoveries. Dr. Holford also shares classroom resources to bring science alive and position students as scientists.

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