Venoms and Toxins

Venoms and toxins include some of my favorite biomolecules. In previous posts I presented a couple of examples, the truly magnificent conotoxins and the really mysterious cembranoids. In the 1990s I was a coauthor of a couple of papers on the former and I have practically based my scientific career on molecules similar to the cembranoids.

Venoms and toxins are the protagonists of some of the most fascinating stories in biomedicine. In addition to the intellectual interest and sense of wonder that such substances give people like us, there are many cases in which these type of chemicals have been developed into medications for conditions as dissimilar as high cholesterol or otherwise intractable cancer pain. Then there is also the promise of new and improved antibiotics in these terrifying times of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

I have been thinking about writing a series of blog posts on selected venomous animals, the special characteristics of such venoms and their possible applications in biomedicine. What do you think? Any ideas?


Picture credit: Here




  1. I’d love to hear an explanation on why venoms are so astonishingly potent. The Australian Inland Taipan can kill 100 men with 110mg of venom in a single bite. We get schooled in what to do if bitten: bind the wound, send for help, sit/lie down. Don’t run or even walk. Do everything you can to slow the spread of the venom until medical help arrives. They even say, don’t drive to a hospital, let an ambulance come to you as the motion of the car can cause the poison to move through the lymph system. It’s immobilize, immobilize, immobilize and get medical attention.


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