Lecture explores pollution-birth defect link

Louis J. Guillette Jr., an internationally recognized reproductive biologist who spent 25 years studying sexually stunted alligators in polluted Florida lakes, will deliver the third lecture in a series sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

Guillette says a growing body of research shows that environmental contaminants – including trace amounts often found in lakes and rivers — cause birth defects, both in animals and humans.

Guillette, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical University of South Carolina, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, in the theater of the St. Paul Student Center on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. 

His lecture, aimed at a general audience, is titled: Contaminants, Water and Health: New Lessons from Wildlife.

A panel of Minnesota experts on environmental contaminants will appear with Guillette.

The lecture, supported by an endowment honoring former university president Malcolm Moos, is free and open to the public. But seating is limited, and registration is required. To register, go to www.freshwater.org.

In addition to his new position at the Medical University of South Carolina, Guillette has an endowed professorship in marine genomics at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C. He also is a professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md.

The lecture series is part of the Freshwater Society’s 2010 – The Year of Water celebration.  The first two lecturers in the series were Robert Glennon, a University of Arizona law professor who has written two books on water sustainability, and Hedrick Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and film maker who produced “Poisoned Waters,” a Public Broadcasting System “Frontline” documentary.

The St. Paul Student Center Theater is located at 2017 Buford St., near Cleveland Avenue, on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.