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

Economics of Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, people celebrate their relationships with friends, family, or a significant other. Often, the expression of affection involves monetary expenditures. Jadrian Wooten, a Virginia Tech professor in the Department of Economics, provides valuable insight on effectively managing a budget around the holiday. More here.

Love is more complex than ‘5 love languages,’ says expert

The ‘5 Love Languages’ popularized by Gary Chapman often get brought up when discussing relationships, but this Valentine’s Day Virginia Tech psychologist Louis Hickman suggests taking a different approach to fostering and nurturing high-quality, loving relationships because the ‘love languages’ are simple solutions to a complex problem. Hickman is available to explain his research on this topic and share what he’s found to be the keys to successful relationships. More here.

The science behind romantic feelings

Rose Wesche joins Virginia Tech’s Curious Conversations podcast this week to discuss the science behind the warm, fuzzy feelings that often accompany a new romance, the transition from infatuation to attachment, and how to maintain intimacy and passion in relationships. She also shares her research exploring the emotional outcomes of casual sexual relationships and provides advice for those in relationships.

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

Hidden dangers of Valentine's chocolates and candy to your pet's health

As Valentine's Day approaches, you may be planning to enjoy some chocolates and candies. While these sweet treats delight us, they can pose significant risks to our pets. Understanding what's enjoyable for us but might be harmful for our furry friends is important during this sweet holiday. Jenny Marin, a clinical assistant professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, shares advice for pet owners to understand why your Valentine’s box of chocolates is harmful for pets and tips for preventing pet accidents at home. More here.

Stop and smell the roses - Valentine’s Day flowers

Florists have a lot to look forward to this Valentine’s Day, with the National Retail Federation predicting that consumers will spend $25.8 billion, and that 39% of those shoppers will buy flowers. Barbara Leshyn, a floral design instructor for Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, is available to talk about caring for your flowers and the impact the holiday has on the floral industry.  

2024 Headlines in the News - experts available

Virginia Tech experts share their thoughts on what they expect to make headlines in 2024. Topics include climate change, artificial intelligence, the presidential election and more. For a full list of experts and those topics, click here.

Research Highlights

Innovative screening can detect 'cancer fingerprint' in dogs

Cancer is common in dogs, with some breeds being more prone to certain variations of the disease than others. Recent studies have shown that nearly half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer, making early screening a crucial precaution for dog owners of any breed.

Researchers in the College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine have developed a new, noninvasive, rapid test using a dog’s urine that allows for potential early detection of cancer. Currently, there are three genomic blood tests that can test for tumor or cancer proteins, but no noninvasive rapid tests using urine currently exist. The team’s promising findings were published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. More here.

Virginia Tech scientist shows focused ultrasound can reach deep into the brain to relieve pain

You feel a pain, so you pop a couple of ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If the pain is severe or chronic, you might be prescribed something stronger – an opioid pain killer that can be addictive under some circumstances. But what if you could ease pain by noninvasively manipulating a spot inside your brain where pain is registered?

A new study by Wynn Legon, assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, and his team points to that possibility. The study, published in the journal PAIN on Feb. 5, found soundwaves from low-intensity focused ultrasound aimed at a place deep in the brain called the insula can reduce both the perception of pain and other effects of pain, such as heart rate changes. More here.

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