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9/26/05 12:42 PM
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tuckami
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Edited: 26-Sep-05
Member Since: 04/07/2003
Posts: 17123
 
www.venomdoc.com/ Apologies if this website has been posted before. Some of the stories are interesting though.
9/26/05 12:46 PM
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tuckami
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Edited: 26-Sep-05
Member Since: 04/07/2003
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AN EARLY BITE A "well, I screwed up, but look what I discovered" situation happened early on during my PhD. studies. My thesis was to be on novel molecules from Australian elapids. A pretty generalized brief and one that gave me full license to play with whatever took my fancy. It was an intellectual fishing expedition of sorts. I targeted the rarer of the Australian elapids and set out to collect them. The first Stephen's banded snake (Hoplocephalus stephensi) that I collected promptly bit me the first time I attempted to milk it. I looked up the clinical effects but not much was known as there were no well-documented cases of such a snakebite. As far as anyone knew, Stephen's banded snakes were not considered dangerous. I clearly discounted this as my body hit the ground seconds after the bite. I regained consciousness quickly, got a pressure bandage on and took off for the hospital. Upon arrival 15 minutes after the bite, my blood was completely unable to clot, my blood pressure was 87/36 and my heart rate was 42. Despite this, I was completely conscious. Twelve hours after the bite, my blood pressure and heart rate were unchanged and my blood still wouldn't clot. This was despite the administration of many vials of tiger snake antivenom (the closest match because there was not and still is not a specific antivenom for Hoplocephalus envenomations). This had all of us quite worried. Eighteen hours after the bite, however, the symptoms finally began to reverse. While many Australian elapids have devastating effects upon the blood chemistry, rapid and sustained hypotension has not been attributed to any of the species. I ended up focusing upon this for my PhD. It turns out that the snakes have packed their venom with a blood pressure regulating hormone that is almost identical to one that is used in the human body. This was a remarkable find that came about, like all great scientific discoveries, by pure chance.
9/26/05 12:52 PM
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tuckami
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Edited: 26-Sep-05
Member Since: 04/07/2003
Posts: 17125
For our studies, we needed to collect saliva from the Komodos. As they salivate profusely when feeding, we settled on a simple but effective technique. We just dangled rats above them and collected the drool from their mouths. Too easy. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com However, I had just milked a cobra and one of the komodos took a particular 'interest' in me, pondering for the entire time we were in there as to whether or not I was food! I didn't even realise I was protecting the family jewels until we got the pictures back!! Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com
9/26/05 11:39 PM
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Edited: 26-Sep-05
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 31532
Brian has been posting on the venomous forums on kingsnake.com for years. I've emailed him a few times and he always responds. He did some groundbreaking research on colubrids, which were generally considered non-venomous, with a few exceptions.
9/27/05 2:29 AM
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tuckami
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Edited: 27-Sep-05
Member Since: 04/07/2003
Posts: 17136
Trust - him and I work in the same faculty of the same university. I had never seen his personal venomdoc website until I stumbled upon it yesterday.
9/27/05 2:49 AM
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tuckami
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Edited: 01-Oct-05 04:06 AM
Member Since: 04/07/2003
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Funnily enough - my professor from my alumni university was also a venom expert, in the pharmacology dept of the only other major university here, and he's got the exact same skinhead look as well. If I had stayed at my alumni university I would've probably gone into venom/toxinology research. My old professor A/Prof Wayne Hodgson: Image hosted by Photobucket.com Dr Bryan Grieg Fry: Image hosted by Photobucket.com Which one is the evil twin??
9/30/05 8:53 PM
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Edited: 30-Sep-05
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 31633
pretty cool.

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