“Cone Snail Venom Peptides: From Biodiversity to Drug Development” will be the focus of the annual Kimball Lecture on April 23 at Wilkes University. It will be presented Baldomero M. Olivera, distinguished professor of biological sciences at The University of Utah. Olivera will speak at 8 p.m. in Stark Learning Center, Room 101. The event is free and open to the public.
Olivera’s research is focused on venomous marine snails, specifically those known as cone snails. The snails are highly venomous predators found in the tropical waters of the Philippines. The biomolecules are widely used in neuroscience today in the study of ion channels and neuro-muscular synapses. His research examines the characterization of their venom components, identification of their molecular targets and exploration of potential biomedical applications.
Olivera graduated summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines. He received his doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral work at Stanford University School of Medicine. He returned to the Philippines to become a research associate professor of biochemistry at the University of the Philippines before coming to the United States and taking a position at Kansas State University. He then became a professor at the University of Utah where he has held the title of distinguished professor of biology since 1992. Olivera has more than 158 publications on the various classes of conus sp. toxins.
The Kimball Lecture Series is named for Grace Kimball, former professor of microbiology at Wilkes. The Kimball lecturer is chosen by the Wilkes biology department as a scientist who has distinguished themselves in evolutionary biology.