Doctor Venom

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I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before this guy gets a show on cable. Bryan Fry is a biologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and he spends a lot of his time doing this sort of thing–messing with animals you really really shouldn’t mess with. In addition to being telegenic, he rattles off those delicious Australian phrases, like, "No drama, mate." (Translation: No problem.)

While Fry is comfortable milking a king cobra in a jungle, he also has a lab-jockey side, using genomic technology to dredge up vast numbers of new snake venom genes. In tomorrow’s issue of the New York Times, I have an article about Fry’s latest research. He has offered a rough draft of the history of venoms–a 60 million year tale of gene recruitment and gene duplications and high-speed evolution. Understanding this history is a crucial part of Fry’s long-term goal of turning venoms into new drugs–a tradition that has already given rise to billions of dollars of sales each year and many lives saved. That may put him off-limits for IMAX movies, but television seems inevitable.