Lifelong Snake Lover Researches Venom Variations

By: Graduate Studies on

Jason StricklandWestern diamondback, rock, black-tailed, Mojave…these are just a few of the 11 possible species of rattlesnake that Jason Strickland hopes to find during his eight-week trip through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to collect rattlesnake venom and blood samples for his latest research. Strickland is working with his mentor Christopher L. Parkinson, PhD, a professor at UCF and Darin Rokyta, PhD, from Florida State University to conduct genetic analyses, gene sequencing and transcriptome analysis of rattlesnake venom glands. His primary focus is on determining the main evolutionary forces which drive variations in snake venom.

After obtaining all the required state permits as well as UCF IACUC approval, Strickland and his research partner Gregory Territo (Biology MS, 2013) left on June 24, to begin their search for rattlesnakes in the Southwest. There are many potential benefits to this research. “Currently, all snake bites are treated with the same anti-venom,” explains Strickland. “It’s not specific to any species. If we have a better understanding of the causes of variations in snake venom, we can create more effective anti-venom. Venom proteins also have anti-bacterial and disease treatment applications in drug research.”

Strickland has had a lifelong interest in snakes. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Angelo State University in Texas, he came to UCF for the PhD program in Conservation Biology specifically to work with Dr. Parkinson. This spring, he served as co-chair of the 2013 Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference hosted by UCF’s Biology department. After completing his doctorate, Strickland hopes to obtain a faculty teaching position at a university.

Share This Article

Featured Content image

UCF Recognizes 6 Top Scholars as 2022 Luminary Award Winners

Six faculty members were lauded for being leaders and making impacts in their fields during UCF’s annual Luminary Awards on Tuesday at Leu Gardens in Orlando. The Luminary Awards are...

Read More

Featured Content image

New $1.25 Million Research Project Will Map Materials at the Nanoscale

A University of Central Florida researcher will lead a recently announced $1.25 million project to map and manipulate materials at the nanoscale. The project’s funding is through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation,...

Read More

Featured Content image

New NASA-funded Study Hopes to Put Risks of Space Junk on People’s Radar

Space may seem infinite but the real estate in Earth’s orbit is filling up fast with junk. The debris orbiting the Earth consists of human-made objects that no longer serve...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF is Developing Materials to Stop Hydrogen Leaks Like the Ones Delaying Artemis Launch

The University of Central Florida researchers are developing materials for stopping hydrogen leaks, like the ones that have halted the launch of Artemis 1. Their work just received a significant...

Read More