Woman in Power: Professor MANDË Holford

December 17, 2019

Holford, known as the "killer snail chemist," was selected for a prestigious leadership program.

Close crop portrait of Mande Holford
Professor Mandë Holford

Professor Mandë Holford (GC/Hunter, Biochemistry, Biology, and Chemistry/Chemistry) has been named a 2020 Fellow in the 92nd Street Y Women inPower program. The leadership program is designed for senior-level women in a wide range of professions. The latest group of fellows includes the deputy commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, the chief of staff for the government innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, the head of responsible banking and consumer protection at CitiGroup, and the head chocolatier at Kreuther Chocolate. Women inPower is distinguished by its focus on mentoring women to advance to top leadership positions and by its expectation that graduates will use their training to improve the workplace and society.
Holford’s research on the evolution and healing properties of snail venom to potentially treat cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, and other conditions has been widely recognized. In 2018, The Root named her, along with Stacey Abrams, Beyoncé, and LeBron James, as one of the 100 most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. She was selected as 1 of 6 women scientists profiled in the Science Friday/Howard Hughes Medical Institute “Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science” series. Further accolades include New Champion Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum and the 2015 Alfred P. Sloan CUNY Junior Faculty Award.
She has also worked toward increasing the number of women in science as co-founder of RAISE-W.org, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. And the learning games company that she co-founded, Killer Snails, was created to inspire children to learn science.
“The fellowship is an opportunity to engage in all the areas of interest — science, education, and policy — that I’m excited about,” Holford said. “It will help me to identify obstacles, learn how to scale my research and entrepreneurial activities, and, importantly, provide a cultural foundation for uplifting others. I applaud the founders of the Women inPower program for creating a forum at a time when women in all fields are striving to have their voices heard. I think we can learn a lot from each other and actually make this world, especially our hometown of New York City, a better place for all.”