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Robert Webster headshotThe UT Knoxville Office of Research, the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Graduate School of Medicine will join the College of Veterinary Medicine to offer a full day of presentations on human and animal health research June 17. Interest in the Comparative and Experimental Medicine Research Symposium at the Knoxville campuses of the University of Tennessee has grown more than 400% since its inaugural 2007 session.  

Dr. Robert G. Webster, professor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a leading expert in influenza virus, will kick off the symposium at 9:00 a.m. with "H5N1 Influenza: Has the risk been overblown?" Webster’s major research focus is the importance of influenza viruses in wild aquatic birds as a major reservoir of influenza viruses and their role in the evolution of new pandemic strains for humans and lower animals.

According to Dr. Robert Moore, CVM Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and symposium organizer, the response to the enlarged symposium has been even greater than expected. "The symposium is apparently providing a much needed venue for research in Knoxville. We felt strongly that our students and new investigators needed the experience of oral presentations in a meeting format, but we also wished to promote the creation of new ideas and collaborations by gathering our health-related investigators together to hear and see what is being done locally," Moore said.  He added the symposium also showcases the variety and richness of health-related research in Knoxville.

Graduate students, postdoctoral students, residents, and research assistant professors from 16 university departments will be presenting throughout the day, and a sampling of their posters will also be on display in the Plant Biotechnology Building on the agricultural campus.  Presentations on human topics range from blood clotting in trauma patients to thyroid hormones to cancer prevention to heart disease to energy metabolism and many others.  Animal-related areas include mastitis and Johne’s disease in cattle, laminitis in horses, and E. coli in dogs and their owners. Other topics include viral replication and pathogenesis, immune mechanisms and vaccines, cancer cell biology, nutrition, advanced imaging technologies, and epidemiological studies.

The research symposium will culminate with an awards banquet for presenters, where Dr. Jan Simek, Professor of Anthropology and Interim Chancellor, will discuss Tennessee cave archaeology.  

All scientific presentations, the keynote seminar, and the poster session are free and will be held in the UT Plant Biotechnology Building. Visit  www.vet.utk.edu/research/symposium for the full symposium schedule and abstracts.

One of 28 veterinary colleges in the United States, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine educates students in the art and science of veterinary medicine and related biomedical sciences, promotes scientific research and enhances human and animal well-being.  The college is the winner of the 2006 Commitment Award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.

For more info about the symposium, call 974-7377 or e-mail . Information also is available online at www.vet.utk.edu/research/symposium.