The International Society on Toxinology was founded in 1962 by a group on scientists and clinicians interested in advancing the science of toxinology, including basic toxin research, applied toxin research such as applications of toxins as research tools or scaffolds for new drug development, epidemiology of toxin-induced-diseases, and clinical effects of toxins and the treatment of associated diseases. The Society had its first international meeting in 1966 in Atlantic City, USA and Toxicon, the official journal of the Society, was first published in 1963.

The original purpose of the Society was to advance knowledge on venomous and poisonous animals plants and microorganisms; toxins derived from these organisms; clinical observations on poisoning and envenoming; development of antivenoms; and development of toxins as tools, pharmaceuticals and insecticides, and to bring together scholars interested in these topics through a common Society. While this extensive purpose remains valid, the scope of toxin-related research continues to expand and evolve and the Society embraces these changes. Some Society members are involved in developing new toxin-based drug leads, even extending to clinical trials of such new pharmaceuticals, while other members may be involved in studying or treating envenoming and poisoning caused by toxins, or advocating for global action to tackle toxin-induced-diseases such as snakebite and all these activities and more fall within the broad purpose of the Society as represented in presentations at congresses and elsewhere. The Society is committed to support for improving outcomes for envenomed and poisoned patients, through advocacy and development and support of clinical training in toxinology.

Membership consists of those who have conducted and published meritorious original investigations in toxinology. Those who do not qualify for membership but are interested in the field of toxinology are eligible for associate membership.

The IST operates under a Constitution, recently revised (downloadable as pdf) and a clear animal ethics policy (downloadable as pdf). The Society strongly supports and advocates for humane treatment of all experimental animals and the development, wherever possible, of alternative investigative tools that avoid animal experimentation.

The World Congress is the premiere scientific (and social) meeting for the IST, currently held every two years. The current IST World Congress is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 8th to 13th, 2019, hosted by the Pan-American Section of IST. The prior IST World Congress was in Hainan, China in 2017. The next World Congress will be held in Europe in 2021, dates and place to be confirmed.

Don’t miss these major events! Support the IST and support your own learning and information dissemination by attending IST congresses. Presentations at these congresses are reserved for IST members, but joining the IST costs less than the difference in registration fees between members and non-members, so joining the IST is an economic “no brainer”.

Androctonus australis, blue ring octopus, and Butterfly Cod. Photos by Julian White