Events

Seminar Series

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 3:30 PM

PRESENTATION STUDIO AT SFU'S BIG DATA HUB, ASB 10900

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Dr. Baldomero Olivera, University of Utah

Fish-hunting Cone Snails: Insights into Venom Evolution, the Biology of Natural Products and Drug Discovery

There are over 800 species of cone snails (genus Conus), and all of them use venom to capture prey, defend against predators and for competitive interactions. There are ca. 100 species that specialize on capturing fish (a seemingly unlikely evolutionary trajectory). Unexpectedly, a striking diversity in strategies has evolved in different lineages of fish-hunting cone snails. Our research into mechanisms underlying the bioactivitity of venom components has led to unexpected biomedical applications, and a new rationale for systematically exploring the biology of natural products. The potential relevance of the insights gained to long-term solutions for the opioid epidemic will be presented.