Researcher biography

Venoms play a range of adaptive roles in the animal kingdom from predation to defense to competitor deterrence. Remarkably, despite their biological importance and uniqueness, the evolution of venom systems is poorly understood. New insights into the evolution of venom systems and the importance of the associated toxins cannot be advanced without recognition of the true biochemical, ecological, morphological and pharmacological diversity of venoms and associated venom systems. A major limitation has been the very narrow taxonomical range studied. Entire groups of venomous animals remain virtually unstudied. My research is inherently interdisciplinary, integrating ecological, evolutionary, and functional genomics approaches in order to understand the evolution of venom systems. Studies range from discovering the shock-inducing hypotensive and anticoagulant venom of the iconic Komodo Dragon through to exploring the unique temperature specific adaptations of Antarctic octopus venoms.