Comparative and Experimental Medicine Symposium Unites Disciplines, Investigators

By Michael F. McEntee, Professor and Head, CVM Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences and Associate Dean for Research

On May 18 and 19, for the ninth consecutive year, the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) will host a symposium for UT investigators with animal and human health interests.
This symposium has grown explosively and has become a calendar event for the Knoxville campuses of UT. Comparative and Experimental Medicine (CEM), an intercollegiate graduate program with shared governance by the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Graduate School of Medicine, initiated the Comparative and Experimental Medicine Symposium in 2007 as an event to showcase the research of CEM student investigators. In 2008, the symposium was opened to participants throughout the Knoxville campuses, and there was a fourfold increase in presentations with representation from nineteen different UT departments and programs. For the seventh year, the Department of Public Health will team with CEM to produce a joint Comparative and Experimental Medicine and Public Health Research Symposium hosting a large group of scientists.

The Comparative and Experimental Medicine and Public Health Research Symposium has gained both a reputation and recognition for providing an excellent venue for students and new investigators to gain experience showcasing their work as oral presentations. In addition, the gathering of UT investigators with related and varying interests provides opportunities for the creation of new ideas, collaborations, and networking that will enhance health-related research at the UT Knoxville campuses.

Past symposiums have included presentations about everything from basic cancer cell biology research, to tick-borne disease, to food safety. The joint sponsorship of the symposium by the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Public Health, Tennessee AgResearch, and the UT Knoxville Office of Research and Engagement has signified both a shared recognition of the need for such a symposium and a cooperative spirit in bringing this exciting event to reality.

The call for abstracts for this year’s symposium will be announced in early March. Please also be on the lookout for announcements about our featured speakers, who will provide seminars of interest on both mornings of the symposium. We are happy to welcome all participants and attendees and hope the experience will be as positive as it is promising—just another way we are providing Real. Life. Solutions.

Steckel Named Outstanding Extension Scientist

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) has honored UTIA’s Larry Steckel with the 2015 Outstanding Extension Award. The award was presented at the WSSA annual meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, last Monday.


Steckel is a professor with the university's Department of Plant Sciences. His specialty is weed science with a 75 percent Extension and 25 percent AgResearch appointment. Steckel joined UTIA in 2003 and is stationed at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson.

According to his award biography, Steckel maintains an extensive applied research program on weed management in agronomic crops. He also evaluates the effectiveness of novel integrated weed management technologies in Tennessee row crops.

Steckel was one of two dozen individuals honored for their contributions to the field of weed science during the special ceremony.

“We were delighted to honor scientists who are spearheading innovations and advancing the weed science profession through their research, teaching, publishing and outreach,” said Joe DiTomaso, president of WSSA.

WSSA is a nonprofit scientific society, founded to encourage the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. – Ginger Rowsey