Pathogenesis of Life Threatening Box Jellyfish Envenomation and Irukandji Syndrome

Angel A. Yanagihara, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grant: R21ES027230  

Venom from box jellyfish may lead to number of conditions, including debilitating sting-site pain and Irukandji syndrome, an illness that may cause rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, back pain, and brain hemorrhaging. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa are working to better understand the biochemistry of box jellyfish venom, and how toxins present in the venom can lead to Irukandji syndrome. By looking at effects in human cells and in animal systems, they are studying how the venom affects the body, including how immune cells respond to exposure. This project addresses a critical unmet need to better understand the role of these toxins in the body which could inform development of rapid diagnostics and effective treatments.