Snake venoms represent one of Nature’s most diverse arsenals of potent bioactive compounds. The toxins present in these venoms target a myriad of different physiological processes with high specificity and selectivity.
In the Tropical Pharmacology Lab, we investigate the toxic effect of different venoms against different parasite species. Following fractionation, we study the effects of different venom toxins by culturing parasites in their presence. Changes in parasite morphology, phenotype, or behavior can then be studied by a range of different techniques, such as microscopy, electrophoresis, and flow cytometry. The hope is to identify toxins that are potent against parasites, but harmless against human beings, since such toxins may be used as novel scaffolds for drug discovery and development.