Researchers Gather To Update The Science Behind Pfiesteria: What's Known, What's Not, About The Marine Toxin

November 06, 1997

Note to editors: Reporters are invited to the symposium, but due to a very limited space, broadcast media cannot bring their video equipment into the meeting room. The researchers can be interviewed during the symposium lunch break, from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Researchers Gather To Update The Science Behind Pfiesteria: What's Known, What's Not, About The Marine Toxin

DURHAM, N.C. -- Where does science now stand on what's been called the case of the "cell from hell" -- the marine organism Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed fish along the U.S. eastern shore and affected humans as well?

Seven researchers will provide an answer at a one-day Duke Integrated Toxicology Program symposium Monday, Nov. 10, at Duke University Medical Center. The meeting will be held in Room 001 of the Medical Science Research Building from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The researchers are from Duke Medical Center, Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of Miami, the National Center for Toxicological Research, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"Pfiesteria is a medical mystery," says the conference's organizer, Edward Levin, a neurobehavioral toxicologist and head of Duke's Integrated Toxicology Program. "We want to explore what is known and unknown and what clues we need to solve it."

Levin will provide updates to his own research on an animal model for Pfiesteria's effects. He will present new evidence that the toxin retards learning in rats.

Other speakers include:Since its identification in 1988 by Burkholder, Pfisteria has been implicated in about 30 percent of all fish kills in North Carolina, home to the nation's second-largest estuary. This summer, it also was found in Maryland waters.

Duke University Medical Center

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