Golden rice is a genetically modified food that could save the eyesight and the lives of many young children in countries where plain rice is the dominant food.
Yet, in many nations it has been called a Frankenfood. Even so, Pope Francis has blessed golden rice. Why?
This question and other issues regarding genetically modified foods will be addressed in the second in a series of lectures sponsored by Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Branch Campus, and the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning.
The lecture, which is open to the public, will be delivered at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Large Lecture Room (Room 107) of the Goff Health Science and Technology Building at Roane State in Oak Ridge. Refreshments will be available after the lecture.
The speaker will be Tessa M. Burch-Smith, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her topic is “What’s Up with Genetically Modified Foods? Scientific Evidence vs. Widespread Beliefs.” She will address the use of genetic engineering in agriculture.
“Tessa is an excellent, knowledgeable speaker,” said Bob Olson, vice president of the ORICL board and host of the Gene Hise Philosophical Society class for ORICL members, where she gave a talk. “She’s articulate, funny, enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and dynamic.”
She teaches and conducts research in UT’s Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. She is a native of Saint Lucia, a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean.
Burch-Smith has a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of the West Indies in Barbados and a doctorate in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from Yale University. She was a Miller Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, where she conducted research from 2007 to 2011.
She has received several awards and coauthored 13 peer-reviewed journal articles, five reviews, and five book chapters. She has given seven invited talks at scientific conferences and made presentations at 10 conferences and meetings.
Burch-Smith is associate editor of the journals “Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions” and “Scientific Reports.”
The next lecturer will be Shirley Raines, president emeritus of the University of Memphis. She will speak on “From Cotton Picker to Kindergarten Teacher to College President” at 3 p.m., Thursday, April 30, in Room 107 of the Goff building.