Texas A&M University-Kingsville

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

KINGSVILLE - January 28, 2009

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4143

More than 425 students from seven South Texas high schools will be on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus Friday, Feb. 6, for Viper Day.

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, Bishop, Bruni, Carroll in Corpus Christi, H.M. King in Kingsville, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo and San Diego.

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. Roger Campos will serve as the keynote speaker at the event. An alumnus of Texas A&M-Kingsville and former student of NTRC director Dr. John C. Pérez, Campos is president of Campos Family Dental, based in San Antonio and Boerne.

Campos is a past president of the Texas A&M-Kingsville Alumni Association and current president of the Greater San Antonio Hispanic Dental Association. He also serves on medical mission trips to Mexico in conjunction with Christus Santa Rosa Hospital, and is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Following 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 the game, students will have the chance to win a $500 A&M-Kingsville book scholarship in a random drawing.  

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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