Spiderman - Dr Volker Herzig
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, February 13, 2020

Full article issued by the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The world’s biggest collection of arachnid venoms will be used to help find pesticides that don’t harm bees, in new ARC-supported research at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Dr Volker Herzig, who recently moved to USQ, was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship valued at $755,000 in 2019 when he was based at The University of Queensland, to protect crops by finding toxins that target destructive pests such as caterpillars.

“Caterpillars are a big problem in agriculture, as they can consume a lot of plant matter in a short period of time,” Dr Herzig said.

The goal will be to find and isolate the toxin that has a desired effect such as paralysis or death in caterpillars that eat the crops, while not affecting the bees that pollinate them.

Dr Herzig’s previous work has included using spider venoms to identify opportunities for human therapeutics and molecular research tools, and in 2016 his work using a spider toxin to understand the mechanisms of mechanical pain perception was published in the journal Nature.

Photo credit: 

Image: "Spiderman"—Dr Volker Herzig. Credit: USC.