From a fascination to specialization

Authored by David Salazar-Valenzuela, Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica

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In my years doing fieldwork, some people in rural communities have taught me that negative attitudes towards snakes can be diminished as they discover fascinating aspects of these reptiles’ natural history. Early on my career as a biologist, this fascination also led me to pursue a specialization in the study of venomous animals, their toxins and impact on public health.

David Salazar-Valenzuela in the field in Ecuador.

Nowadays, our research group tries to help tackle the snakebite envenoming problem by applying novel approaches in evolutionary biology, toxinology, and epidemiology. In countries like Ecuador, where limited support for science and technology translates into a lack of basic elements to fight this disease such as no local production of snake antivenom, we believe that these efforts can provide the backbone of scientific knowledge needed to promote the control of snakebite envenoming.

David Salazar-Valenzuela of Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica in Quito, Ecuador.