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UT’s Science Forum will explore genetic engineering as it is currently used in industry, medicine, and agriculture.

Tessa Burch-Smith, assistant professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, will speak on the topic “Can Anything Good Come Out of Genetically Modified Organisms?” The forum will be held at noon in Room C-D of Thompson-Boling Arena.

Burch-Smith will discuss whether this technology can help address some of the challenges we face including climate change, the need for alternatives to fossil fuels and the emergence of new diseases.

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.

Free and open to the public, each Science Forum consists of a forty-minute presentation followed by a Q-and-A session. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch or purchase it at the cafe in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Science Forum, sponsored by the UT Office of Research and Quest magazine, is an initiative to raise awareness of the research, scholarship, and creative activity happening on campus.

Burch-Smith earned her doctorate in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from Yale University and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She joined UT in 2012.

The weekly Science Forum continues throughout the semester:

October 2 – Shannon Mahurin, staff scientist for Nanomaterials Chemistry Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Desalination: The Quest for Clean Water”

October 9 – Colin Sumrall, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, “The Origins of Birds: Did the Age of Dinosaurs Really End?”

October 23 – John Schwartz, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, “Restoring Urban Streams: What is ‘Natural?'”

October 30 – David Matthews, professor of architecture and design, chair of interior design, “Design Thinking and Creative Process: How Designers Approach Wicked Problems and Engage the Future”

November 6 – Matthew Mench, Condra Chair of Excellence Professor and head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, “Where Do We Put All the Renewable Energy?”

November 13 – Melissa R. Allen, postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Climate Variability and Change: What Fundamental Science and Modeling Tell Us”

November 20 – Natalie Mong, education director for Upstate Birds of Prey, “The Fascinating Biology of Birds of Prey”


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,