Definitive series on toxinology in the works

Professor P. Gopalakrishnakone holding a container of freeze-dried venom.
PHOTO: Definitive series on toxinology in the works

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean is heading a massive worldwide project to produce the last word on toxinology, the study of animal, plant and microbial toxins.

Professor P. Gopalakrishnakone of the National University of Singapore will be editor-in-chief of all 10 volumes of The Handbook On Toxinology, slated to be issued by American publishing firm Springer between this year and 2018. The series is intended as an authoritative reference resource for the field.

"It will present a complete overview of toxinology right from the basic concepts to new developments and applications in the field," said Prof Gopal, who was chosen in 2011 to lead the project. It will have more than 350 authors for all 10 volumes.

The first two volumes are expected on shelves by the end of this year and will cover biological toxins, bioterrorism and clinical toxinology.

Future volumes will span topics such as scorpion and spider venom, microbial, marine and plant toxins and drug discovery from natural toxins.

Prof Gopal, who is in his 60s, is also chair of the Venom and Toxin Research Programme at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

He said he was honoured and humbled to be chosen for the job, which included selecting 35 section editors for the magnum opus.

"It is a monumental task but I hope it will become a 'gold standard' in toxinology as a major reference work," he said.

It is not the first time he has led his peers. He was the president of the International Society of Toxinology between 2008 and 2012.

With more than three decades in the field under his belt, he has published more than 160 papers, presented his research at more than 350 conference presentations and published four books.

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