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KNOXVILLE – Michael Best, associate professor in the department of chemistry, will be speaking at this week’s Pregame Showcase on “Bioorganic Chemistry: Advancing the Frontiers of Medicine.”

Michael Best
Associate Professor Michael Best

The showcase will take place Saturday, October 15, before the Vols’ home game against Louisiana State University. The showcase will begin at 1:30 p.m., two hours before the game’s kickoff. Featuring a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session, each showcase is free and open to the public and held in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Room 213. Light refreshments are provided, and guests have a chance to win door prizes. Guests who complete a registration form receive a 10 percent discount coupon for game day purchases from the UT Bookstore.

The presentation will focus on bioorganic chemistry research performed in Best’s laboratory and cover the fundamentals of bioorganic chemistry by discussing how his lab goes about designing, creating, and applying organic molecules to study important biological processes, particularly those relevant to disease.

“Specifically, we will discuss recent efforts by my lab to develop inhibitors of the target protein autotaxin, which is of significant interest since this protein is overstimulated in many human cancers,” Best said. “My laboratory has also developed small molecule probes corresponding to an important family of lipids that has been implicated in diverse processes, including the onset of cancer and diabetes, as well as HIV-1 virus proliferation.”

Best teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in organic chemistry and is passionate about mentoring graduate, undergraduate, and pre-collegiate students. He leads the annual mentoring day on behalf of the Department of Chemistry, which brings local high school students to campus to learn about chemistry education and research.

Best has received more than $1.2 million in funding for his research, including the National Science Foundation Career Award in 2010. He has published his work in thirty research publications and presented his research at more than forty conferences and research institutions throughout the United States.

The rest of this year’s line-up includes:

  • October 29—Tom Burman, department head and professor of history, presents “Christians’ Reactions to the Koran in History.” His remarks will provide an overview of Christian-Muslim relations throughout the ages, drawing from his scholarly work which focuses on the intellectual and religious interactions between Latin Christendom and Arab Islam, especially as these can be seen in the transition and circulation of Arabic works in medieval and early-modern Europe.
  • November 5—Casey Sams, associate professor of theater, will present “Creating Choreography for the Clarence Brown Stage,” as she examines the role of a choreographer in theatrical production, using examples from two of this fall’s Clarence Brown Theatre productions.
  • November 19—Michael Knight, professor of English, presents “The Typist: An Author’s Translation of History Into Fiction,” talking about his inspiration for and the writing of his novel about an American soldier working as a typist in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in post-war Tokyo.

The Pregame Showcase is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. Sponsorship is also provided by WUOT 91.9 FM, with support from the UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information, visit

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008,