Institutes and Other Units

National Natural Toxins Research Center

Student Programs


Here at the NNTRC we have the largest diversity of venomous snakes for research in North America.  We train undergraduates and graduates majoring in chemistry, biomedical sciences, or animal science.  We create competitive students for whatever field they wish to join including medical school, pharmacy school, veterinarian school and many other professional schools. You will be provided a mentor and work closely with them in our research facilities.  

Advantages to Chemistry Degrees

A chemistry graduate can find themselves a higher paying salary, typically, than many other degrees.  A chemistry degree in the NNTRC will provide you with excellent research skills that will translate well later in your career, wherever you decide to take it. This includes furthering your education, going into industry and everything in between. 


The National Natural Toxins Research Center (NNTRC), a component of Texas A&M University–Kingsville (TAMUK), is a unique animal and biological material resource center organized to support basic and translational research on venomous snakes and their venoms. The NNTRC is dedicated to the advancement in the understanding of the therapeutic value of venom molecules and to the training of research scientists in the field of toxinology. The NNTRC is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH)

Here at the NNTRC labs, we are currently working on various projects that involve both graduate and undergraduate students. These projects consist of:

  • The biochemical characterization of new toxins
  • The cloning of venom toxins that show promising therapeutic effects and are difficult to acquire
  • The effects of many toxins on various cancer cell lines in regards to inhibiting cell adhesion, metastasis and angiogenesis
  • We are also working on how specific molecules affect vascular and lymphatic permeability as a result of snake envenomations
  • And in addition, we are trying to design more efficient, safe, and low cost antivenoms that could alleviate the global health problems due to snakebites

Medical Applications 

Many of the same properties in venoms that make them so damaging during envenomation, once controlled, have potential to be used in treatments for stroke, heart attacks and cancers.

Imaging Probes 

This research procedure identifies venom molecules that target integrins on plaque, which may lead to finding cures for Alzheimer's disease and heart disease.

Antivenom Therapy

Over 400,000 people per year are envenomated and suffer disabilities world-wide.  We are dedicated towards researching antivenom efficacy and producing antivenom efficacy and producing antivenom.

Marketable Skills 

  • Life Sciences
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Climate Sciences
  • Research Skills
  • Lab Testing
  • Continuance into professional school

What classes are offered by the staff?

The NNTRC faculty offer courses in venom toxinology, proteomics and mass spectrometry.