Chyka to Discuss Historical Poisoning Outbreaks at UT Science Forum

KNOXVILLE –- Peter Chyka, professor and associate dean of the University Of Tennessee College Of Pharmacy, wants people to learn from the past to shape the future.

He plans to present his discussion, “Poisoning Tragedies of the Past Century: What Have We Learned?” at the weekly UT Science Forum, at noon this Friday, Jan. 25, in Thompson-Boling Arena Dining Room C-D on the UT campus.

Chyka said he will be discussing four major poisoning outbreaks in recent U.S. history. Two of the four have significant ties to East Tennessee.

“The outbreaks involve an alcoholic elixir, an antibiotic elixir, a nonprescription pain reliever and a dietary supplement,” Chyka said.

He said he doesn’t want his presentation to be a “scare session,” but hopes it will show “what does go wrong on a larger scale” and encourage people to appreciate their magnitude, the resulting safeguards and how to prevent future outbreaks.

Through common sense and action, Chyka hopes scientists and consumers can learn from the mistakes to aid in prevention.

He said that his interest in his topic stems from being a board-certified clinical toxicologist who has lived through two of the four outbreaks featured in his discussion.

The UT COP opened its new 15,000-square-foot Knoxville campus in fall 2007 to encourage students to stay in the state and create a more statewide college. Students will spend their first year at the UT Health science Center’s Memphis campus and can choose to complete their remaining three years at the East Tennessee campus.

Classes will be taught by a combination of the 19 new Knoxville faculty and staff and videoconferencing with professors in Memphis.

“We see a lot of students and faculty smiling in the hallways with the first semester finished and a success,” Chyka said of the new class.

The UT Science Forum is a weekly discussion that is free and open to the public. Different science topics will be discussed with a question and answer session at the end of each 40-minute presentation. Guests are welcome to bring or purchase a lunch and eat during the talk. For more information, contact Mark Littmann, forum organizer, at littmann@utk.edu or 974-8156.

Upcoming Science Forum topics include the following:

• “Talking With Animals,” Friday, Feb. 1, Lyn Miles, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga Foundation Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
• “Fighting the Tide: Treatment Options for Morbid Obesity,” Friday, Feb. 8, Gregory J. Mancini, M.D. and John D. Scott, M.D., Tennessee Weight Loss and Surgery Center, UT Medical Center.
• “Mysteries of Buruli Ulcer, an Infectious Disease Emerging in Africa and Australia,” Friday, Feb. 15, Pamela Small, Professor of Microbiology.


Dr. Peter Chyka, (865-974-2100, pchyka@utmem.edu)

Jay Mayfield, media relations, (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)

Mark Littmann, forum organizer, (865-974-8156,
littmann@utk.edu)