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UT’s Science Forum resumes at noon Friday, January 27, with weekly presentations about cutting-edge research on a variety of topics.

Science Forum talks are held from noon to 1 p.m. most Fridays in Thompson-Boling Arena Café Rooms C-D. They are free and open to the public.

Attendees may bring their own lunch or purchase lunch at the café. Presentations last about 40 minutes and are followed by a question-and-answer session. The presentations are designed for the public.

Karen M. Vail, professor and extension urban entomologist, will be the first featured speaker. Her presentation is titled “Bed Bugs: You Can Get Rid of Them.”

For nearly two decades, bedbug populations have resurged in the United States. The bugs are recognized as being the most challenging pest to control in homes. After Vail’s talk, attendees will be able to identify all stages of life in bedbugs, how to prevent bringing them home, and the strategies needed to manage them.

Here’s a lineup of the spring’s other Science Forums:

  • February 3­­­­—Colin Sumrall, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, “Hitching Rides in Paleozoic Seas—Ancient Creatures and Their Shellfish Taxis”
  • February 17—Elena Shpak, associate professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, “The Truth About Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)”
  • February 24—Jeffrey Moersch, professor of earth and planetary sciences, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Studies of Mars-like Landscapes on Earth”
  • March 3—Jennifer DeBruyn, associate professor of bioengineering systems and soil sciences, “Life After Death: Microbial Ecology of Human Decomposition”
  • March 24—Todd Freeberg, professor and associate head of psychology, “Do Even the Birds and the Bees Benefit from Diversity?”
  • March 31—Adam J. Rondinone, senior staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “Carbon Dioxide into Ethanol: Waste-to-Fuel Technology”
  • April 7—Mark Littmann, professor of journalism, “Totality: The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017”
  • April 21—Bill Malkes, CEO and co-founder, Gridsmart Technologies, “Your Future in Self-Driving Vehicles—Utopia or Hell?”
  • April 28—Collen Jonsson, professor and head of microbiology, “Making Sense of Virus Evolution—The Unsolved Puzzle of Deadly Hantaviruses”

The Science Forum began in 1933 and is sponsored by UT’s Quest research magazine. It was designed to provide the general public, students, and other researchers a chance to learn about the latest scientific research void of jargon. The forum still accomplishes this more than 80 years later by educating attendees on cutting-edge research developing at UT and other East Tennessee institutions.


Mark Littmann (865-974-8756,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,