GVSU Research on Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes
Digital illustration of a man with glasses in blue scrubs holding a snake that is biting a possum with lab equipment.
Over half a million people are seriously injured or die from snake bites each year around the world. American Opossums have a protein that is able to stop the effects of snake venom. This was found by Dr. Werner Sr. who was a veterinarian and worked with the military to start the research of snake envenomation (the man pictured holding the snake in the one drawing). Our work [at GVSU] focuses mainly on the venom of Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes. GVSU Professor Werner has worked with students to continue his father's research... I've worked with Professor Werner to create bacterial DNA that contains the gene for the opossum protein and grow it in large quantities for further research. The overall goal is that one day the mechanism in which this protein stops the snake venom from doing harmful things will be revealed and can be used in a medical setting as a universal snake bite treatment." - Allison Soffa
This image portrays Dr. Werner Sr conducting the original tests to observe the effects of rattlesnake venom on the possum.