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KNOXVILLE — The leader of a University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory joint institute has been named chairman of an influential advisory committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dr. Gary Sayler
Dr. Gary Sayler
The EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) has named Gary S. Sayler chairman of the executive committee of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC). Sayler is the director of the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Biological Sciences and a distinguished professor of microbiology at UT Knoxville.

The board advises ORD which is the EPA’s scientific research arm, on air and water quality issues, global climate change and other concerns related to human health and environmental protection.

“Our group provides an unvarnished process of review and oversight for the agency, helping to ensure that they are meeting the mandates set out for them and their own strategic goals,” said Sayler, who also directs UT’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology.

BOSC is comprised of a number of subcommittees, which review eight to 10 of ORD’s programs each year. Sayler will oversee the process of approving the reviews and communicating them to the agency.

Sayler noted that the work of ORD influences many aspects of EPA’s larger work, providing critical research background to various agency offices.

Sayler, who has served on the BOSC executive committee since May 2004, will chair his first committee meeting on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C. The 15-member BOSC committee includes scientists and engineers drawn from academia, industry and environmental communities.


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,
Gary Sayler (865-974-8080,