US-Mexico Alliance

Venomous animals act on both sides of the US-Mexico border; so the VIPER Institute does, too.

We have a shared environmental heritage.

The University of Arizona is fortunate to be located in the Sonoran desert, unique in the USA and shared with our closest neighbor, Mexico. Our sunny skies bring us the best optical sciences and solar energy research, and our clear nights make us famous for telescopes and studies of outer space. Uniquely adapted animals, plants and microorganisms give our scientists and students a rare and immensely valuable opportunity to discover things that are not often thought about in other parts of the USA, such as the surprising ways that venom affects how nerves and blood vessels work.

We can do better science by working together.

The University of Arizona, like other good US higher education institutions, has excellent scientists and advanced technological ways of making discoveries. Mexico's Institute of Biotechnology, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, also has excellent scientists, with a long history of doing wonderful studies of the huge variety of venomous creatures that are found only in Mexico. By sharing resources, faculty at the two institutions are able to do things that neither could do alone. Together we are building a program that unites the needs of the US, and its high regulatory standards for drug development, with those of Latin America and the tropical world generally, where medical advances must include extremely practical considerations for cost-effective care and safety.

And people benefit more when we collaborate.

Students at the UA learn biology and biochemistry in Mexico. Students from Mexico learn about drug development and specialized research methods in the US. Patients in the US benefit from antivenoms designed by experienced manufacturers, and patients in Mexico benefit from the high standards imposed by the US system. Doctors and scientists at both universities find that our discoveries are magnified dramatically when we exchange ideas and share projects. And society benefits from strong international relationships that lead to practical improvements in health.