From Toxins to Therapeutics

A number of animals use venoms to capture their prey. These venoms are a mixture of toxins which attack critical life-supporting systems including nerve transmission and blood circulation. Studies of individual toxins help us not only to understand how they assist in prey capture, but also to use them in developing new drug leads for the treatment of some of the leading causes of human death. In this module students will explore the beneficial side of animal toxins. They will find out information about how some of the life-saving drugs were designed and developed based on toxin structure through case studies in groups. They will also participate in discussions on toxinbased drugs for some of devastating diseases such as heart attack, stroke and cancer. Students will have opportunities to make individual and team oral presentations and written reports. This freshman seminar is suitable for both life science and non-life science majors.

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