Speaker: Dr. Stephen P. Mackessy, professor of Biology, School of Biological Sciences, College of Natural and Health Sciences, University of Northern Colorado
Moderator: Prof.ª Dr.ª Mirian Hayashi, associate professor, Department of Pharmacology, EPM/Unifesp
Stephen P. Mackessy is Professor of Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. His research broadly encompasses the biology of venomous snakes and the biochemistry of snake venoms, and he has published over 200 scientific papers, book chapters and natural history notes, several books (Handbook of Venoms and Toxins of Reptiles - CRC Press; Handbook of Venoms and Toxins of Reptiles, 2 nd ed. - CRC Press; The Biology of Rattlesnakes II - ECO Herpetological Publishing), and special editions of the Journal of Toxicology-Toxin Reviews, Toxicon and Toxins. His research has included many graduate and undergraduate students, as well as collaborations with colleagues from Singapore, Spain, México, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil, France, India, University of Texas and various other universities in the United States. Several ongoing projects are centered on understanding the evolution of venom systems in snakes and the biological significance of venom compositional variation, particularly in areas of introgression/hybridization, with an overarching interest in the interface of snake ecology/evolution and venom biochemistry/pharmacology.
Broad sampling of venoms from many species of rattlesnakes (Crotalus, Sistrurus), other vipers, seasnakes and numerous species of rear-fanged snakes has resulted in extensive fieldwork in the western United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guam, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Other projects have focused on the effects of venoms and toxins on metastatic cell proliferation and the investigation of novel toxins for new drug leads, structure/function relationships among venom toxin families, and more recently have included the application of genomic and proteomic approaches toward understanding venom biochemistry and pharmacology. His research program has been supported by many local, state and national funding agencies.
Dr. Mackessy also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in biomedicine (Toxinology of Snake Venoms, Current Topics in Biomedical Research, Parasitology, Human Anatomy) and vertebrate biology (Herpetology, Comparative Anatomy, Mammalogy) at UNC, where he has received awards in recognition of outstanding research and teaching (1999 – Distinguished Scholar Award; 2004 – The Joseph Lazlo Memorial Award for research – HIS; 2006-7 – NHS Excellence in Scholarship; 2011-12 – NHS Faculty Mentor of the Year – Graduate; 2012 – M. Lucille Harrison Award (UNC’s top faculty honor); 2020 – Meritorius Teaching & Mentorship Award – Herpetology – JMIH). He earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Biology (Ecology and Evolution section) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Biology (with Dr. S. S. Sweet), and his Ph.D. (with a minor in Biochemistry) was received from Washington State University, Department of Zoology (with Dr. K.V. Kardong). He was a postdoctoral Research Associate at Colorado State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (with Dr. A.T. Tu) before joining the School of Biological Sciences at UNC. He was the managing editor of the Journal of Natural Toxins for seven years, and he has served as a scientific peer reviewer for hundreds of papers and over 70 different journals. His research has been featured in films by the BBC and Discovery Channel and has been the subject of many media publications (TV, radio, magazines and podcasts). Personal interests include fieldwork with venomous snakes, music and motorcycles, as well as traveling and camping.