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Mandë Holford, Ph.D.

Hunter College


Dr. Mandë Holford is a tenured Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at The American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. Her research combines biological and chemical techniques to examine venoms and venomous animals. She is particularly interested in using venoms to study rapidly evolving genes and to examine the cellular physiology of malfunctioning signals in pain and cancer. Dr. Holford’s lab applied an evolutionary venomics approach, integrating phylogenetic, transcriptomics, and proteomics, to investigate the evolution of venom in terebrid snails and to characterize their venom peptides. She was first to reconstruct the molecular phylogeny of the group and demonstrate the analgesic and antitumor activity of terebrid peptides. More recently, Dr. Holford has focused on developing invertebrate venom gland model systems that can be genetically manipulated to study the molecular innovation of venom. She is active in science education, advancing the public understanding of science, and science diplomacy. She co-founded Killer Snails, LLC, an award winning EdTech company that uses tabletop, digital, and XR games about nature as a conduit to advance scientific learning in K-12 classrooms. Her honors include being named: a Sustainability Pioneer and Champion Scientist by the World Economic Forum, Breakthrough Women in Science by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and NPR’s Science Friday, a Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Fellow, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, an NSF CAREER awardee, a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, and Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She received her PhD from The Rockefeller University with Tom Muir.

Science Programs at Allen Institute