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KNOXVILLE — Is the outbreak of a pandemic influenza a real possibility or just media hype?

Mark Sangster, UT associate professor of microbiology, will address the facts about bird flu and the nation’s risk at UT’s Pre-Game Faculty Showcase set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.

The Pre-Game Showcase lectures are always held two hours before kick-off of home football games in the University Center Ballroom. Faculty members provide a short but entertaining lecture on their area of expertise, ending with a question and answer session. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Sangster’s research focuses on the response of the immune system to viral infection and vaccination. He is currently the principal investigator on a National Institute of Health grant dealing with the immune response of B cells to influenza.

“I’m going to talk about influenza in general and how influenza causes seasonal outbreaks that can lead to rare pandemics,” Sangster said. “I want to address the history of the bird flu from its emergence to the situation today and assess how it might ultimately result in a human pandemic.

“I hope it will increase understanding and provide information rationally,” Sangster said. “I will try and relinquish some of people’s fears because some of the news can be scary.”

The Pre-Game Showcase series is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with the support of the UT National Alumni Association and UT Men’s Athletics.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college on UT’s campus, encompassing the humanities, fine and performing arts, social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences. T
he college provides the general education courses for all students on campus, regardless of their major. The college also places special emphasis on outreach and their faculty and students are actively involved with the community through the Faculty Speakers Bureau, service learning and other programs.

The University Center is located at 1502 West Cumberland Ave. Room 213 (the Ballroom) is on the second floor. For directions, visit


Mark Sangster, (865) 974-4028,

Lynn Champion, College of Arts and Sciences,

Beth Gladden, media relations, (865) 974-9008 or