The Virginia Tech media relations office has the following experts available for interviews this week surrounding issues in the news. To schedule an interview, please contact

Looming federal government shutdown 

New Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has revealed his first proposal for avoiding a federal government shutdown this coming Saturday, and already GOP members of Congress are pushing back. Political experts Nick Goedert and Karen Hult and economic experts Jadrian Wooten and David Bieri can discuss the political machinations that took Congress to this point and what the consequences of a shutdown could be.

Israel-Hamas War

Virginia Tech has a number of experts available to speak on a variety of topics surrounding the war. More here.

Threat of volcanic eruption puts Iceland in state of emergency

Hundreds of earthquakes and a threat of volcanic eruption have caused Iceland to declare a state of emergency and order evacuations. Virginia Tech geoscientist Robert Weiss can discuss what’s causing this quake and why.

Winter outlook: A warmer season yet with more show

The latest NOAA winter forecast “suggests both a warmer winter overall and a snowier winter than last year,” says Virginia Tech hydroclimate scientist Andrew Ellis. “El Niño winters are often warmer across Virginia for the balance of the winter, but the increased moisture and coastal storm track increases the chances that cold air finds moisture more frequently to generate a snowier winter overall. This is often from a few larger snowfalls.” Read more here.

To avoid travel problems this holiday season, expert says to plan ahead

The holiday season can be a stressful time for those planning to travel. Between costs, short staffing, and limited bookings, Virginia Tech travel and tourism expert Mahmood Khan says it’s important to plan ahead. Khan is available to discuss how lack of personnel is impacting this travel industry, as well as the latest destination trends this holiday season. More here.

Tips for how to avoid family arguments at holiday gatherings 

The holidays are a great time for family and friends to reconnect. Unfortunately, it is also a time for feuds to brew and dinners to be ruined when controversial topics boil over. “Family members often do not agree on important issues such as climate change, immigration, election integrity, crime, and abortion,” says Virginia Tech expert Todd Schenk. “Being thoughtful in the when and how of approaching sensitive topics is key to having productive conversations. I would suggest explicitly seeking agreement among the parties that you are going to ‘go there’ and perhaps set aside a time for doing so.” Read more here.

Virginia Tech's expert advice for a safe and scrumptious Oyster Month

Whether enjoying the briny freshness of raw oysters on the half shell or savoring Virginia’s favorite shellfish in a cooked dish, food safety is a crucial ingredient to enjoy during Virginia Oyster Month in November. Katheryn Parraga, muscle food safety specialist at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hampton, Virginia, offers advice for transporting, storing, and preparing oysters. More here.

New Podcast Feature - Research and Innovation

Roop Mahajan joined Virginia Tech’s “Curious Conversations” to chat about the value of international collaborations to research and innovation, as well as how they’ve contributed to his work advancing the “wonder material” graphene. Mahajan is the Lewis A. Hester Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of strategic research and innovation for Virginia Tech India.

New episodes will debut each Tuesday throughout the fall. Expert researchers are also available for media interviews. To listen and learn more, click here

Research Highlight

Histotripsy device receives FDA clearance to treat liver cancer

***B-roll, interview, and photos here***

In a groundbreaking achievement for cancer treatment, research, and medical technology, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval for the HistoSonics’ Edison histotripsy device to treat liver tumors.  Submitted for marketing authorization through the FDA’s De Novo Classification Request process, an intense market review for medical devices with no existing equivalent, the Edison will be the initial and only histotripsy platform available in the country. 

The cutting-edge medical device and its technology were developed in part by Kendall and Laura Hendrick Junior Faculty Fellow Eli Vlaisavljevich, through collaboration with the University of Michigan and HistoSonics, a private medical device company.

According to HistoSonics, the Edison uses advanced imaging to deliver personalized, noninvasive histotripsy treatments with precision and control. FDA approval signifies a remarkable step forward in medical innovation and will open access for the technology to be purchased by hospitals and treatment centers for patients battling liver cancer. More here.

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