Chemistry, Hunter College
Development of a Teretoxin Neuropeptide Array for Investigating Neuronal Circuits
Venomous snails may hold the secret to potent, fast-acting pain relief for HIV and cancer patients. Professor Holford investigates how peptides found in their venom manipulate ion channels and cellular communication in humans. Her goal is to discover natural compounds that are efficient at inhibiting this cell signaling. “Our lab is unique in that it combines tools from chemistry and biology. We try to look at the whole story of evolution to help guide targeted discovery of novel therapeutics,” explains Holford. Because each snail can produce 200 or more peptides, her five-year, $550K NSF award, Development of a Teretoxin Neuropeptide Array for Investigating Neuronal Circuits, allows Holford to focus on creating high throughput methods for screening these peptides to quickly identify those that appear to be very selective, potent, and active at controlling the levers of communication on the ion channels.