Skip to main content

The challenges facing the return of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) will be discussed at Friday’s Science Forum.

Stacy Clark, a research forester with the US Forest Service, will present “American Chestnut Restoration: Can We Bring Back the Mighty Giant?”

The Science Forum is a weekly brown-bag lunch series that allows professors and area scientists to discuss their research with the general public in a conversational presentation.

The presentations begin at noon on Fridays in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena. Attendees can bring lunch or purchase it at the arena. Each presentation is forty minutes long and is followed by a question-and-answer session. Science Forum presentations are free and open to the public.

The American chestnut was one of the most widely distributed and important tree species in eastern North America until decimated in the early part of the twentieth century by an exotic fungus from Asia, the chestnut blight.

“Planting trees that have been bred for blight resistance using Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima) has led to some important discoveries,” Clark said. “The return of the American chestnut into forests of the eastern United States will face challenges from native and nonnative plants, animals, insects, and diseases, in addition to the chestnut blight.”

Future Science Forums will feature a variety of topics:

  • October 11: Chad Duty, group leader of Deposition and Technology Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, discussing “3D Printing: The Next Generation of Manufacturing”
  • October 25: Kasey Krouse, urban forester for the city of Knoxville, presenting “Knoxville Urban Forestry—Year One”
  • November 1: Gerry Dinkins, curator of malacology and natural history at the McClung Museum, discussing “Rediscovery of the Nearly Extinct Alabama Lampmussel in the Emory River”
  • November 8: Devin White, senior research scientist of geocomputation Oak Ridge National Laboratory and assistant professor of anthropology, discussing “Archaeological Discoveries from Space”
  • November 15: Phil Colclough, director of animal collections and conservation at Knoxville Zoological Gardens, discussing “Eastern Hellbender Conservation and the New Role of Zoos”
  • November 22: Nathan Schmidt, assistant professor of microbiology, discussing “Infection with the Malaria Parasite: Malaria Is Only Half the Problem”

The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest, an initiative to raise awareness of UT’s research, scholarship, and creative activity.

For more information, visit


Amanda Womac (

Mark Littmann (865-974-8156,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,