A B O U T / C O N T A C T
Scientist-adventurer Dr. Zoltan Takacs has been researching, publishing, and lecturing about the world of venomous snakes for most of his life. After studying at the Albert Szent-Gyorgyi School of Medicine, Semmelweis Medical School and University of California (UCLA), he obtained his Ph.D. on evolutionary studies on cobra venom from Columbia University. Later he carried out various research projects on snake venom pharmacology and evolutionary genetics at Rockefeller University, Columbia University, and Yale University. At Columbia, he established and co-taught the school's first Herpetology course. Zoltan combines field and lab work to study the neurotoxins of some of the world's most deadly snakes. He is a co-inventor of the proprietary Designer Toxin technology, a novel technique to generate millions of toxin variants and select the ones (drug leads) that specifically bind to a target that determine the outcome of a disease. Current drug lead development focus on the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
Academic assignment and personal interest took Zoltan to 158 countries. His work involves extracting venom and DNA samples from venomous animals in the most remote and inhospitable jungles, coral reefs and deserts on the Earth. Access to these snake habitats is aided by Zoltan's expertise as an aircraft pilot and scuba diver, as well as his ability to live out from a backpack for weeks. Zoltan is an accomplished wildlife photographer which has earned him credits in several international magazines and books. Some noteworthy adventures during past expeditions include a jailing in the Balkans while working with vipers in military zones, a rescue by helicopter from civil war in Laos while searching for King cobras, and being escorted by armed military guard as protection against pirates in the southern Philippines while diving for sea snakes. Zoltan’s research has been featured in the National Geographic magazine, on the National Geographic Channel, PBS/NOVA, BBC, and CNN. Zoltan is based in New York City.