Science Forum Kicks Off with Look at New Radiation Therapy for Pets

The campus community and public are invited to enjoy a serving of “digestible science” at the weekly Science Forum brown bag lunch series, which kicks off Friday at UT.

The first program will feature Nathan Lee, assistant professor of radiation oncology, presenting A New Radiation Therapy for Cancer in Pet Animals. Other topics this semester range from electric cars to bears to vocal care.

The Science Forum 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.

The UT Science Forum was started in 1933 by UT professors who wanted to keep up with the many types of research happening on campus. A group was formed, and professors took turns briefing each other on their work.

“I think the forum has continued because there is so much cutting-edge research at UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and other local facilities that people want to hear about,” said Mark Littmann, journalism professor and forum program chairman.

The goal of the weekly presentations is to explain science in a way that anyone can understand.

“This is not just for scientists, engineers, and health professionals. It’s also for everyone who has an interest in science but can’t follow a technical talk full of jargon,” Littmann said. “This is a chance for people to hear science presented at a level that they can understand and ask distinguished researchers questions about.”

The Science Forum still exists as a club, although membership in the forum is not required to attend the lectures; they are free and open to the public.

Alan Heilman, professor emeritus in botany, serves as the Science Forum’s president; Sandra Twardosz, a professor in child and family studies, is vice president; and Mike Clark, an associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, is secretary-treasurer.

This week’s Science Forum features Lee, who has worked in the College of Veterinary Medicine for two years, helping to develop a new treatment system for cats and dogs with cancer, called Intensity Modulating Radiation Therapy.

The College of Veterinary Medicine previously had a radiation therapy program, but it shut down more than ten years ago.

Lee said the Science Forum will help him spread the word about the new program.

“A lot of people don’t know about it,” he said. “It’s only available at a handful of universities.”

His discussion will explain what radiation oncology is and the benefits of using it.

Here’s a look at the Science Forums for the rest of the fall semester:

September 21: Christopher Cherry, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, will present Electric Cars in China—Only as Clean as Their Coal.

September 28: David Ostermeier, professor of forestry, wildlife, and fisheries will discuss Governing the Environment in Complex Times.

October 5: Rich Giannone, who works in the chemical sciences division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will present Yellowstone’s Hot Bacteria and the Future of Biofuels.

October 12: Fall break.

October 19: Dana Dodd, president of the Appalachian Bear Rescue, will talk about Saving Orphan Bears and Returning Them to the Wild.

October 26: J.R. Shrute, codirector and cofounder of Conservation Fisheries Inc., will present Saving the Imperiled Fishes of Southern Appalachia.

November 2: J.P. Dessel, Steinfeld Associate Professor of Near Eastern History and Archaeology, will discuss The State of the Ancient State: New Finds in Southeastern Turkey.

November 9: Alison G. Boyer, research assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will present Trouble in Paradise: Extinction and Conservation of Tropical Island Birds.

November 16: Rob Heller, professor of journalism and electronic media, will discuss A Brief Yet Incomplete History of Photojournalism.

November 23: Thanksgiving break

November 30: Sue Hume, clinical associate professor of audiology and speech pathology, will present Good Vibrations—Care and Use of the Professional Voice.

The Science Forum is sponsored by the UT Office of Research. For more information about the Science Forum, visit the website.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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