Of Mayhem and Medicine: A Brief History of Nature’s Poisons and Venoms

Upcoming virtual lecture:
Mon., Aug. 5
7–9 pm

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Carla Littleton, M.Ed. (They/Them/Hen/Hän)
Master Herpetologist and Animals and Habitats Manager, Carnegie Science Center

Carla Littleton, M.Ed. (They/Them/Hen/Hän)

Nature has always been an arms race. In this virtual talk, we will explore the way venoms, poisons, and toxins have shaped nature from the beginnings of life on Earth to the current race to find medical marvels in vanishing ecosystems. Dig into the questions of why nature is full of so many toxic species and why some people estimate that 20-40% of all life on Earth may be poisonous or venomous. Join Carla in a Q&A as they define these often-confused terms while coming face-to-face with living specimens of some of the most poisonous plants and animals on Earth.

About Carla Littleton

Carla Littleton is a master herpetologist and current manager of Carnegie Science Center’s Animals and Habitats Department as well as an adjunct cyber school instructor in several science subjects, including forensics.

Their passion started early while growing up in the Cleveland Metroparks Park system, and despite exploring other career options, always seemed to come back to informal science education and biodiversity conservation. As a lifelong learner, Carla earned an associate degree in art and design, a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Education from Duquesne University and is currently pursuing a master’s certificate in hydroponics from ACS of Australia.

In addition to degree work, Carla has completed certificates in paleontology in association with the University of Alberta, an invertebrate disease management course, and conservation training from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) surrounding the evaluation and conservation of endangered species and ecosystems. Despite a plethora of experience, some of Carla’s favorite living things (Toads, Cycads, and Euphorbias) all share one thing in common: they’re toxic. It was an early fascination with toads, snakes, nudibranchs, and plants in the nightshade family that led Carla to an interest in the poisons and venoms of the natural world.

Register for Café Sci

The event is FREE to attend virtually, but preregistration is required opens in a new window! Carnegie Science Center would like to continue to offer programs like Café Sci, Women in STEM, and others. Please consider making a donation when you register. Once you sign up, you’ll get an email confirmation. Have a question for Carla? You’ll be able to type your questions in the Q&A section during the presentation!

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What impact has Café Sci had on you? Are you a scientist interested in speaking at Café Sci? Do you have a recommendation for a speaker or topic? Contact us at info@carnegiesciencecenter.org.

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