Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Marty Goolsby ()
Communications and External Relations


Center for Biotechnology created at ORNL Gehrs named director

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 7, 1995 — The Center for Biotechnology has been created at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Dr. Carl W. Gehrs has been appointed director.

Establishment of the center reflects the importance of biotechnology at ORNL. Biotechnology is an integrating science that emphasizes development and application of biological approaches to meet national needs in health and environmental protection, biomedical applications, environmental remediation, pollution abatement and energy production.

The center was established to provide a more coordinated biotechnology focus for the laboratory to increase its competitiveness, and to enhance developing collaborative interdisciplinary efforts among ORNL divisions and between ORNL and other institutions, both private and governmental worldwide.

ORNL's core competency in biological and environmental science and technology brings together one of DOE's largest interdisciplinary teams in this field. Currently, 190 scientists conduct biotechnology research at ORNL. One of the many roles of the Center for Biotechnology is to develop scientific interaction, awareness, and opportunities.

Gehrs was instrumental in the center's formation. He was a member of the research staff of the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD) from 1972 until 1975, when he became coordinator of the laboratory's Life Sciences Program in synthetic fuels and manager of the advanced Fossil Energy Program within ESD. Gehrs previously has been head of the division's Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Toxicology and Environmental Biotechnology sections.

He received his bachelor's degree in psychology and science education from Concordia (Ill.) Teachers' College; his master's degree in biology from Kansas State Teachers College; and his doctorate in zoology from the University of Oklahoma.

Gehrs is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of Sigma Xi and a charter member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

He is an ad hoc reviewer of Environmental Science and Technology and Science; a proposal reviewer for DOE, the Electric Power Research Institute, and National Science Foundation agencies; advisor and minister of the Interior Germany biomakers and biological long-term monitoring group; and reviewer of the UT graduate program in biomedicine.

He is an adjunct lecturer for the biomedical graduate school at the University of Tennessee, as well as an adjunct associate professor in its graduate program in ecology. In 1975, Gehrs was on the organizing committee, chairman of the ecology session, and chairman of the Ecological Effects Subcommittee of the Federal Interagency Committee on Health and Environmental Effects of Synthetic Fuel Technologies. He coordinated a health and environmental research program related to coal conversion, and prepared an environmental development plan for oil shale. He is the author of more than 30 publications.

He is a former vice president of the Linden School PTA Board, a regional and national swimming official, a member of Faith Lutheran Church of Oak Ridge, and coaches basketball, soccer and T-ball at the Boys' and Girls' Clubs in Oak Ridge.

He and his wife, Judi, live in Oak Ridge. They have three children.

ORNL, one of the Department of Energy's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.