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Could snail venom someday save your life?

Updated November 23, 2022 at 10:53 AM ET

Part 4 of TED Radio Hour Episode A Love Letter To The Ocean

Cone snails are deadly sea predators; their venom can kill fish and even humans. But chemical biologist Mandë Holford says that powerful venom can actually be used for good — to treat human diseases.

About Mandë Holford

Mandë Holford is a chemical biologist and venom scientist, and an associate professor in chemistry and biochemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center.

She also has scientific appointments at The American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. Her interdisciplinary researchfocuses on venomous marine snails, and how their venom can be used to treat human diseases and disorders.

She is also the co-founder of Killer Snails, an edtech game company that has created award-winning games like Assassins of the Sea and Killer Snails All Around.

Holford received her B.S. in mathematics and chemistry from York College, City University of New York, and her Ph.D. in synthetic protein chemistry from The Rockefeller University.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Rachel Faulkner and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHourand email us at

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Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Rachel Faulkner White
Rachel Faulkner is a producer and editor for TED Radio Hour.
Sanaz Meshkinpour
[Copyright 2024 NPR]