June Scientist of the Month: Mandë Holford

By: Shreyoshi Chakraborti

Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell School of Medicine. Her research in interdisciplinary field spans mollusks to medicine and comprises of chemistry and biology and aims to discover, characterize and deliver novel peptides from venomous marine snails as tools for manipulating cellular physiology in pain and cancer.

Mande Holford sitting in a chair in her office.


Holford received her BS in mathematics and chemistry from York College, City University of New York and her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University. She did her postdoctoral research at The University of Utah and have been Science and technology Policy Fellow through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). During her fellowship she worked under Kerri Ann Jones in the National Science Foundation’s Office of
the International Science and Engineering.

She summarizes her research interests as moving from mollusks to medicine for drug discovery and delivery. She and her research team extract peptides from venomous snails to identify possible treatments for pain and cancer. Her work comprises of biochemistry, genomics, proteomics, evolution and cell biology to isolate, identify and characterize the drug
delivery methods by peptides.

Holford was first trained in science diplomacy as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Since then, she has worked on several projects and initiatives to encourage early career scientists to think globally about their research impacts. Her writing on the importance of training young scientists to leverage their expertise to build
global connections has been featured in the World Science Forum and Scientific American.

Dr. Holford has been very involved in science education and is the co-founder of KillerSnails.com, a learning games company supported by the National Science Foundation and the Small Business Innovation Research Fund. She received several award including 2020 Sustainability Pioneer Award, a 2015 New Champion Young Scientist by World Economic Forum, a California Academy
of Sciences fellow award, the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, an NSF Career Award and was honored as a Breakthrough Women in Science by Howard Hughes Medical Institute and NPR’s Science Friday.

Author: sbugwise

We are the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering group at Stony Brook University and we are dedicated to supporting women in STEM fields.

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