Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture: “Genetically Modified Foods: Benefits and Risks”

Posted on 3/10/2009 3:48:56 PM

Dr. Felicia Wu will present the 2009 Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture on Monday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Eberly Auditorium. Dr. Wu is a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department at the University of Pittsburgh and will be presenting “Genetically Modified Foods: Benefits and Risks.”

Dr. Wu’s research applies mathematical modeling and social science tools to environmental health problems. In particular, she is interested in food safety and indoor environmental quality and the economics of regulating these. This talk will feature her work on genetically modified crops.

The majority of the corn, cotton, and soybean fields we plant today in the U.S. are genetically modified (GM), in most cases for herbicide tolerance and/or pest protection. GM crops have a variety of benefits for growers and secondarily for animals and humans (for example, through mycotoxin reduction), but it is important to fully understand and reduce any potential environmental and food safety risks.

Dr. Wu’s work in this area concerns quantitative benefit-risk assessment of environmental and health impacts of GM crops and application to improving policy. Dr. Wu has focused on issues of pesticide and mycotoxin reduction. For this work, she has spoken at the United Nations Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, on mycotoxin reduction in Bt corn and its health and economic benefits.

About Dr. Felicia Wu

Dr. Wu is an assistant professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh. She conducts research on the economic and health impacts of agricultural and food safety issues today, including ethanol production from corn, genetically modified crops, and mycotoxins (fungal toxins) in food.

Dr. Wu is the 2007 winner of the Chauncey Starr Award, given annually by the international Society for Risk Analysis to an outstanding risk analyst under age forty. She has a National Institutes of Health Early Career Award as well as grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Wu serves on the editorial boards of the journals Risk Analysis, World Mycotoxin Journal, and Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health. She earned her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and her A.B. from Harvard University.