Texas A&M University-Kingsville

National Natural Toxins Research Center Receives $2.5 Million Grant

KINGSVILLE - June 26, 2014

Contact: Adriana Garza-Flores
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4979

            The National  Natural Toxins Research Center (NNTRC) at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) that will fund the center’s operations for the next five years.

            It is the third time the Center receives the 5-year cycle grant and marks the 11th year of federal funding. The center remains the only federally funded viper research center in the nation.

            The mission of the center is two-fold—provide venom and venom products for use in medical research around the world while conducting biomedical research on venoms to gain a better understanding of toxins and how they may be used to design new drugs.

            According to Dr. Elda E. Sánchez, the grant’s Principal Investigator and NNTRC Executive Co-Director, the NIH Viper Resource grant will support a team of skilled and experienced scientists and research staff with specialized expertise in the management of venomous snakes and the collection and characterization of snake venoms. It will also support a comprehensive collection of North American venomous snakes of more than 450 animals representing 21 different species, consisting of 35 subspecies.

            “The NNTRC is recognized as a reputable and reliable source for both venom-related products and specialized services that are used by academic and commercial research programs to support basic biologic research as well as translational research on the development of pharmaceutical and anti-venom therapeutics,” Sanchez said. “The NNTRC has also implemented a program of molecular technologies to create cDNA libraries that serve as a renewable resource for the production of recombinant venom peptides and proteins.”

            Toxins found in snake venom are associated with various biological functions.  While these toxins can cause medical emergencies in humans who are on the receiving end of a snake bite, the same molecules, once purified, characterized and cloned, may be useful in treating strokes, heart attacks, preventing the metastasis of tumors, and many other medical conditions.

            For more than 40 years, researchers at A&M-Kingsville have studied snake venom and the possible use of venom toxins in biomedical research. The Natural Toxins Research Center was created in 2000 and became the National Natural Toxins Research Center in 2010. The NNTRC currently houses nearly 450 venomous snakes at the John C. Perez Serpentarium.    


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This page was last updated on: June 26, 2014