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Natural Bioterrorism?


The news release below from the Utah Science Center deals with a Thursday May 4 “Science on Society” panel discussion on “Natural Terrorism.” Several of the panelists are Universitry of Utah faculty members.

Lee Siegel
University of Utah Public Relations
(801) 581-8993



Science in Society

A Utah Science Center Public Dialogue Series

— Contact: Lisa Davis James, Utah Science Center — (801) 230-9399

Experts, Community to Discuss Dangers of Disease

The Utah Science Center’s “Science in Society” free public dialogue series will present “Natural Bioterrorism” on Thursday May 4, 2006 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the auditorium of the main downtown Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 East 400 South.

Since the tragic events of 9-11, our national focus has been terrorism in its many forms, including bioterrorism. Although that threat exists, the United States and others around the global also face the very real dangers of devastating disease, including natural infectious and pathogenic agents, and even potential pandemics. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and engage the audience on a variety of topics, including:

— Are “new” threats really just old dangers re-emerging?

— Seeing the spread of disease: Using visualization tools to identify potential pandemics

— How we find and track the spread of disease

— In our own backyard: The biology and spread of the hantavirus.

Featured guests and area of expertise include:

— Steven Kern, Ph.D., panel chair; chair of the Dept. of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Utah; and chair of the Rocky Mountain Regional Center for Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases.

— John Hibbs, M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Utah. Infectious disease in a historic context.

— Christy Porucznik, Ph.D., MSPH, Utah Dept. of Health. Potential pandemics and geographic modeling and visualizing tools.

— Andi Gundlapalli, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Utah. Surveillance and identification of pathogens, focusing on experience in the monitoring of diseases.

— M. Denise Dearing, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, University of Utah. The biology and spread of hantavirus.

The “Science in Society” public dialogue series is sponsored bi-monthly by the Utah Science Center ( “Science in Society” brings timely and sometimes controversial topics to the public in an understandable and informative manner. The dialogues are presented in an interactive, non-lecture style with public dialogue as the major objective. “Science in Society” is co-sponsored by the Salt Lake City Public Library, KCPW and The Leonardo.

The Utah Science Center, along with Global Artways (, Salt Lake City”s arts education program, and the Center for Documentary Arts ( are founding partners in The Leonardo, an art, culture and science center with a multidisciplinary approach. Scheduled to open in spring 2008, the mission of The Leonardo is to create opportunities for visitors to become participants by exploring “new ways of seeing” their world, themselves and each other.