PULLMAN, Wash. — An internationally recognized researcher and professor from North Carolina State University will discuss “Public Perceptions of Biotechnology” during a public lecture Feb. 20 at Washington State University.

Thomas J. Hoban, an expert in the growing use of biotechnology in human societies, will speak at 4 p.m. in Todd Hall, Room 331 on the Pullman campus. He also will speak at WSU Spokane Feb. 21. The 1 p.m. talk will be at the Health Sciences Building on the Riverpoint campus, 310 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Room 110B, Spokane.

Hoban will explore the controversy of biotechnology in his lecture. Advances in the industry have raised fears around the world. Advocates highlight the benefits of genetically altered plants and humans such as a reduced need for toxic pesticides or the promotion of human health. Opponents argue that the effects of modifying plants and animals are unknown and may disrupt environmental stability.

Hoban’s focus for the past decade has been how organizations adopt new technologies and how American agriculture, the food industry and public officials can respond effectively to biotechnology. His work is used by worldwide groups. He is conducting an extensive project examining what global leaders think and know about biotechnology.

Hoban’s research has had a significant impact on government policies and strategies for managing technology. He has given more than 300 invited presentations. He serves as a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina University. Hoban also is a member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Food Science.

Hoban served on the Food and Drug Administration’s biotechnology labeling panel and is a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology. He received his doctorate in rural sociology from Iowa State University and two master’s degrees in agricultural journalism and water resource management from the University of Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois.

The presentation is sponsored by WSU’s Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, the College of Agriculture and Home Economics and the Department of Rural Sociology.

Foley is presenting two other major offerings this month. Public policy scholar Bryan Jones will discuss “Information Processing and Public Policy: Thinking Through the Enron Fiasco” at 3 p.m., Feb. 12, in Todd Hall, Room 120.

Barbara Sinclair, an expert on congressional politics and policymaking will discuss “Filibuster Strategies, Veto Threats and Public Relations Wars: The President, Congress and Policymaking” at 3 p.m., Feb. 19, Todd Hall, Room 216.

For more information, contact Edward Weber, Foley Institute director at (509) 335-2455.