Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Viper Day Uses Speakers, Games and Posters to Introduce Venom Research to Area High School Students

KINGSVILLE - February 14, 2008

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Noted chemist, A&M-Kingsville alum Dr. Ed Neas to serve as guest speaker

More than 250 area high school students will spend a day learning about one of the world’s leading venom research centers at Viper Day, held at Texas A&M University-Kingsville Friday, Feb. 22. from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hosted by the Natural Toxins Research Center (NTRC), Viper Day is an event that gives high school students a sample of the biomedical research conducted at the NTRC and shows them the benefits of pursuing a degree in sciences.

High schools scheduled to participate include Benavides, H.M. King, San Diego, Falfurrias and Tuloso-Midway. In addition, students from the Corpus Christi Independent School District Migrant Resource Center also will be in attendance.

Viper Day participants will learn about NTRC venom research from posters designed by NTRC graduate and undergraduate researchers, and from presentations by NTRC staffers and guests.

Dr. Ed Neas, director and founder of chemical solution manufacturer Chata Biosystems, Inc., will serve as the keynote speaker at the event. Neas earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a student under NTRC director Dr. John C. Pérez.

Pérez also will be addressing the students, along with Dr. Terisa C. Remelius, vice president for student affairs.

Following the presentations, the students will have their newly acquired biomedical knowledge tested by participating in a retooled version of the TV game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” One student from each of the participating districts will compete for cash prizes of up to $100.

After a break for lunch, the students will have the option to take tours of A&M-Kingsville biology facilities and the NTRC serpentarium, the largest research collection of venomous snakes in the United States.

The NTRC is the only federally funded viper research center in the United States and is one of the leading research centers in the world for discovering toxins that can be used in biomedical research. The center develops collaborative research programs and provides global training and resources to identify medically important toxins found in snake venoms. The research complex has 7,000 square feet and state-of-the-art instrumentation for biomedical research. The NTRC serpentarium has 6,300 square feet of space with 450 venomous snakes from 24 different species consisting of 32 subspecies and will eventually include all venomous snakes in North America.

For more information on Viper Day, call 361-593-3082 or go online at http://ntrc.tamuk.edu/viperday.htm.

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