<p><br> My name is Zoltan Takacs, and my research focuses on finding novel toxins that can be used to treat diseases. Today, 20 major medicines are derived from animal venoms. For example, two of the three medicines of choice used for the most lethal types of heart attack in the U.S. come from snake venom. Yet there are 20 million toxins in animal venoms that remain unexplored. From the snakes and other venomous creatures we collect, I take small tissue samples that contain the genetic blueprint for the toxin. Back in the lab, the toxins can be re-created in bacteria and screened for potential drug hits by our “designer toxin" library technology.</p>

I Am Zoltan Takacs


My name is Zoltan Takacs, and my research focuses on finding novel toxins that can be used to treat diseases. Today, 20 major medicines are derived from animal venoms. For example, two of the three medicines of choice used for the most lethal types of heart attack in the U.S. come from snake venom. Yet there are 20 million toxins in animal venoms that remain unexplored. From the snakes and other venomous creatures we collect, I take small tissue samples that contain the genetic blueprint for the toxin. Back in the lab, the toxins can be re-created in bacteria and screened for potential drug hits by our “designer toxin" library technology.

Photograph by Zoltan Takacs

An Explorer's Guide to the Amazon

National Geographic Explorer Zoltan Takacs shares insider tips for traveling in the Amazon.

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