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Biography and Contact Information

Stephen P. Mackessy is currently Professor of Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. His research broadly encompasses the biology of venomous snakes and the biochemistry of snake venoms, and he has published over 100 scientific papers, book chapters and natural history notes, a book (Handbook of Venoms and Toxins of Reptiles - CRC Press) and a special edition of the Journal of Toxicology-Toxin Reviews. His research has included many graduate and undergraduate students, as well as collaborations with colleagues from Singapore, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, France and various other universities in the United States. Several ongoing projects are centered on understanding the evolution of venom systems in snakes and the biological significance of venom compositional variation, with a particular interest in the interface of snake ecology/evolution and venom biochemistry/ pharmacology. To this end, broad sampling of venoms from many species of rattlesnakes (Crotalus, Sistrurus) and numerous species of rear-fanged snakes has resulted in extensive fieldwork in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Guam and Southeast Asia. Recent projects have focused on the effects of venoms and toxins on metastatic cell proliferation and the investigation of novel toxins for new drug leads. His research program has been supported by many local, state and national funding agencies.

            Dr. Mackessy also teaches numerous graduate and undergraduate courses in biomedicine (Toxinology, Current Topics in Biomedical Research, Parasitology) and vertebrate biology (Herpetology, Comparative Anatomy, Mammalogy) at UNC, where he has received awards in recognition of outstanding research and teaching (1999 – Distinguished Scholar Award; 2006-7 – NHS Excellence in Scholarship; 2011-12 – NHS Faculty Mentor of the Year – Graduate; 2012 – M. Lucille Harrison Award). He earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Biology (Ecology and Evolution section) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Biology (with Dr. S. S. Sweet), and his Ph.D. (with a minor in Biochemistry) was received from Washington State University, Department of Zoology (with Dr. K. V. Kardong). He was a postdoctoral Research Associate at Colorado State University, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (with Dr. A. T. Tu) before joining the School of Biological Sciences at UNC. He was the managing editor of the Journal of Natural Toxins for seven years and is currently on the editorial board of the journals Toxins, The Scientific World Journal and Journal of Venom Research. Personal interests include fieldwork with venomous snakes, music and motorcycles, as well as traveling and camping.

Contact information:

Dr. Stephen P. Mackessy
School of Biological Sciences
University of Northern Colorado
501 20th St., CB 92                
Greeley, CO  80639-0017  USA

Tel: (970)-351-2429

Fax: (970)-351-2335

Email: stephen.mackessy@unco.edu