I N N OVAT I O N
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ADMINISTRATION Cynthia B. Peterson, dean Sam Bentley, associate dean Andrew Maverick, associate dean Guillermo Ferreyra, associate dean Kathryn Loveless, assistant dean Carly Bloss, assistant dean Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy, assistant dean Gretchen Rhodes, director of administrative services Emilia Gilbert, senior director of development EDITOR Dawn Jenkins, director of communications
Message from the Dean
2 In Review
4 Faculty Accolades
6 Stellar Students
CONTRIBUTORS Liz Centanni Emilia Gilbert Eric Guerin Paige Jarreau Allison McCollister Pink Thamdorn Frances Watson
16 SCIENCE AND ART AT LSU
PHOTOGRAPHY April Buffington Eddy Perez
The Power of Math
DEAN’S CIRCLE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Melvin L. Triay III, chair Angela L. Scott, vice chair Mary Lou Applewhite Patricia H. Bodin George L. Boudreaux Brad A. Broussard Robb T. Brumfield Michael L. Cherry Guillermo S. Ferreyra Kate B. Freeman Tom E. Harrington III Wayne J. Homza Bryan T. Kansas Richard L. Kurtz James V. Lange Andrew W. Maverick Laura C. Moffitt Beverly W. Ogden Robert V. Perlis Cynthia B. Peterson Charles C. Pinckney Erich M. Sturgis Carol M. Wicks Edward F. Zganjar
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Drop, Cover, Hold
33 Paying it Forward: Dr. Charles Smith
35 College of Science Donors
39 College of Science by the Numbers
ON THE COVER “RIP Bluntnose Stingray” from Ghosts of the Gulf series, 2014. Giclée print on handmade Japanese rice paper. Art credit: Brandon Ballengée
MESSAGE from the DEAN
Dear Friends, As the 2016-17 academic year comes to a close, I could not help but reflect on the year’s achievements and challenges. At the beginning of the fall semester, the Baton Rouge community experienced unrest and the city and the surrounding area faced record flooding. However, in spite of these challenges, we held fast to our mission to provide the highest quality education and programs, and to create and widely disseminate scientific research so that all LSU students are scientifically literate citizens. In 2015, Research!America, one of the nation’s largest not-forprofit public education and advocacy alliance organizations, issued a Louisiana state survey to assess state opinion and attitudes toward medical, health and scientific research. The results of the survey were quite telling. The results showed that research, particularly research related to public health, is important to Louisianans. The survey also showed that our citizens believe that it is important for Louisiana to lead in medical and health research and that state funds should support research at public universities like LSU. Our state needs our research work to continue and to grow. We cannot do this without the support of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Our vision is to be an international leader in scientific research and instruction. I think we are on the right path
and the stories reflected in this publication are evidence of our ability to elevate LSU to the highest level of excellence among major research universities throughout the world. In this edition of the The Pursuit, we highlight the outstanding work of the members of our college community. Learn more about our successful track record in preparing students for careers in medicine and celebrate the history-making achievements of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Read about our students’ adventures abroad and how our multi-talented scientists are using art to share and articulate their work. I invite you to read the stories in this publication and be proud to be a member of the LSU College of Science community. Sincerely,
Cynthia B. Peterson Seaola Arnaud and Richard Vernon Edwards Jr. Professor
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IN REVIEW COLLEGE OF SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS from 2016 and 2017 Recapturing Antarctica’s “Heroic Age” LSU Department of Biological Sciences Professor Vince LiCata and Department of Communication Studies Associate Professor Trish Suchy received a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers grant for “Antarctica: Persistence of Vision,” a project to recreate modern versions of some of the most iconic photography of scientists and explorers on the Antarctic continent more than 100 years ago.
Next Generation Mathematicians More than 30 high school students with a passion for mathematics spent four weeks at LSU as part of the 11th Math Circle Summer Enrichment Program. The theme for the program was Combinatorics, a branch of mathematics related to the study of finite or countable discrete structures. Specialists in combinatorics helped guide the students through a series of activities with an emphasis on the mathematics of counting. Their weeks of work culminated with research projects that were shared during a poster presentation session held last July.
Honoring Excellence On April 22, 2016, the LSU College of Science inducted four honorees into its Hall of Distinction. The 2016 class included premier military surgeon, Brigadier General Charles Chappuis, LSU Alumni Professor Emeritus in Chemistry William “Bill” Daly, LSU Professor Emeritus in Physics & Astronomy, William “Bill” Hamilton, and renowned statistician, LSU alumnus and 2013 MacArthur Foundation genius grant winner Susan Murphy. Four additional honorees were inducted during the 2017 Hall of Distinction Ceremony held March 31, 2017. The honorees included LSU Alumni Professor Emeritus in Geology Jeff Hanor, Alumni Professor Emeritus in Physics Neil Kestner, NASA scientist and distinguished physics alumnus Don Kniffen, and Director Emerita of the LSU Center for Academic Success and retired Professor of Chemistry Saundra McGuire.
2016 Hall of Distinction honorees
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Chemistry in Space! An experiment led by LSU Chemistry Professor John Pojman was aboard the historic flight by Blue Origin last June. LSU was one of three universities, including Purdue University and Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany, selected to have an experiment aboard the flight. Pojman and his collaborators at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., designed and conducted an experiment that tests the physics of how fluids move between each other, a principle termed effectiveinterfacial-tension-induced convection, which is a type of flow at the interface between two fluids. There is no way to conduct this experiment on Earth because gravity interferes with fluid dynamics. This pioneering project will test a theory that is over a century old.
2017 Hall of Distinction honorees
YEAR IN REVIEW
A College of Science First Glaucia Del-Rio, PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences and researcher in the Museum of Natural Science, is the first in the College of Science to receive an American Association of University Women doctoral fellowship. The AAUW has been awarding the fellowship since 1888 making it the oldest non-institutional source of graduate funding for women in the United States. Del-Rio plans to use the fellowship to support her fieldwork in the Brazilian Amazon Forest, which includes collecting data on bird communities and investigating the general evolutionary and ecological processes shaping and maintaining the forest’s avian diversity.
Printing the Future in 3D Wayne Newhauser, Dr. Charles M. Smith Chair in Medical Physics at LSU, and a team of graduate students are researching the application of 3-D scanning and printing technologies to improve cancer treatments. The 3-D printer project is one of several collaborative projects between oncologists at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and LSU's medical physics program in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. This printing technology is helping scientists and doctors create personalized aides to support more targeted treatments of cancer tumors.
I’d Like to Thank the Academy… Susan Murphy, LSU College of Science alumnus and H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of Statistics and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She received her bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics in 1980 from LSU, and her PhD in statistics in 1989 from UNC.
A Night at the Museum The LSU Museum of Natural Science (MNS) offered guests a behind-the-scenes look at the collections and award-winning research that has helped make the MNS one of the top research museums in the nation. The event included nights throughout the academic year dedicated to museum collections including birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Scientists working with a specific collection gave short engaging talks about their work before leading visitors on a tour of their focus collection.
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FACULTY ACCOLADES Gabriela González, professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy and former spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) has been elected as a member to the National Academy of Sciences. González has also been named among the world’s top ten scientists by Nature, Scientist of the Year by Great Minds in STEM and one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. To top off a stellar year, González was one of a select few chosen to ask Pope Francis a question as part of the Vatican’s docuseries featuring key figures in science, politics and entertainment. She has also received numerous recognitions in her native Argentina. She was awarded the Brigadier General Bustos Prize in the Province of Cordoba. She was also named an illustrious citizen of the city of Cordoba and shared with the LIGO collaboration the special breakthrough prize by Physics World. Other recognitions include the Bruno Rossi Prize from the American Astronomical Society and the Jesse W. Beams Award of the American Physical Society. LIGO, which stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitationalwave Observatory, detected gravitational waves in 2015 as predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and opened a new window of discovery to the cosmos. In February 2016, Gonzalez and other leaders of the LSC confirmed the detection of gravitational waves, which were detected on Sept. 14, 2015, at 4:51 a.m. CST by both of the twin LIGO detectors, located in Livingston, La., and Hanford, Wash. The LIGO Observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, and were conceived, built and are operated by Caltech and MIT.
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Rainmakers Each year, the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, Campus Federal Credit Union and the Council on Research recognize faculty who show outstanding research, scholarship and creativity for their respective rank and discipline with Rainmakers awards. Below are the 2016 and 2017 Rainmakers for the College of Science.
2016 CATHERINE DEIBEL, assistant professor in the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, received the 2016 Emerging Scholar Award. Since joining the physics faculty in 2011, she has continued her research on the synthesis of elements in a variety of stellar explosions, including supernovae, x-ray bursts and classical novae. PROSANTA CHAKRABARTY, associate professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences, received the Mid-Career Scholar Award. Chakrabarty is an ichthyologist studying the evolution and biogeography of freshwater and marine fishes. He is also the curator of fishes at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. The Senior Scholar Award was given to MARCIA NEWCOMER, George C. Kent Professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences. A wish to understand how biological catalysts are able to promote the complex biochemical reactions that make life possible drives Newcomer’s research.
2017 RENDY KARTIKA, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, received the Emerging Scholar Award. After conducting postdoctoral research at Yale University, Kartika joined the LSU faculty where his research program focuses on the discovery of new organic reactions that produce biologically and pharmaceutically relevant molecular scaffolds. DONGHUI ZHANG, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, received the MidCareer Scholar Award. Her research interests include polymer catalysis, synthesis and characterization of biomimetic, bioinspired and bio-relevant functional polymers and high precision macromolecules.
FA C U LT Y A C C O L A D E S
KERMIT MURRAY, professor in the Department of Chemistry received the 2017 Senior Scholar Award. His current research focuses on instrument development and applications of laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry.
In honor of her exceptional research and scholarship, GRAÇA VICENTE, Charles H. Barré Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, was named 2016 Distinguished Research Master, a honor presented by the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development. Vicente’s research involves the synthesis of organic materials based on the porphyrin, chlorin, phthalocyanine and boron dipyrromethene cores, their conjugation to biomolecules and their development for applications in biology and medicine. She is the program director for the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program, funded by the National Institutes of Health.
SAUNDRA YANCY MCGUIRE, director emerita of LSU’s Center for Academic Success and retired assistant vice chancellor and professor of chemistry, has been awarded the 2017 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, sponsored by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation. A nationally recognized chemical educator, author and lecturer, she has traveled the globe promoting sure-fire strategies to help students, including those underrepresented in science and math professions, to be successful in their coursework and careers. McGuire is also a recipient of the LSU Women’s Center Esprit De Femme Award and a 2017 College of Science Hall of Distinction honoree.
SAM BENTLEY, Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology and director of LSU’s Coastal Studies Institute, has been named the Erick and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor in the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College. Established in 1996, the professorship is the highest award conferred to faculty by the LSU Ogden Honors College.
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Abigail Heath strikes a pose on the hexagonal basalt columns on a beach in Southern Iceland
Experiences Abroad Last summer, Abigail Heath, Allyson Morthland, Kathryn Cahalan and Lydia Jagetic joined the more than 300,000 U.S. students who left the comforts of home to embark on a study abroad experience. Heath, a junior geology major, spent seven weeks in Iceland as part of the Iceland Renewable Energy, Technology and Resource Economics program through the School for International Training (SIT), which offers nearly 80 programs in more than 30 countries worldwide. While in Iceland, Heath took three 3-credit hour courses: Renewable Resource Technology and Economics, Intro to Icelandic Language and Culture, and a research course where she conducted an independent research project that proposed a solution to an invasive plant species.
Members of "It's a Rad World: Radiation in Medicine" club at the end of a whirlwind week. Lydia Jagetic is pictured in the center of the group. Credit: Lydia Jagetic
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“Iceland is a small island with little vegetation. Because of this, it is quickly desertifying (turning to desert). However, in the 1950s, the Alaskan lupine, a plant that thrives in Northern climates, was imported and planted throughout the countryside to try to slow this process. It did so well that it became an invasive species, which Icelanders are not very happy with,” Heath said. “Through my individual research project, I proposed that Iceland use these invasive plants as biofuel to completely eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels for energy, which is actually completely within their reach!” Morthland and Cahalan, mathematics majors in LSU’s GeauxTeach Math and Science program, spent three weeks of their summer vacation as interns at the Martin-Luther-Schule, a public high school in Marburg, Germany, for grades five through 13. The Martin-Luther-Schule has more than 15 years experience in project-based teaching where the classroom activity shifts from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered projects, and Morthland and Cahalan were there to observe and learn more about this alternative to traditional teaching. While in Germany, Morthland and Cahalan visited the Mathematikum, a science museum located in Giessen, Germany, that offers a variety of unique hands-on exhibits to teach mathematics principles in a fun and exciting way. “We totally math nerded out in the museum,” Cahalan said. “The Mathematikum allowed me to actually see the principles that we learned in class, and that was very cool.” Jagetic, a medical physics PhD student at LSU, combined her passions for research, teaching and travel as she volunteered to teach a week-long intensive course for high school and college students in Mexico on the uses of radiation in medicine. The course was organized by Clubes de Ciencia, a non-profit organization whose
Mathematikum public relations officer Lisa Peter, LSU GeauxTeach students Kathryn Cahalan and Allyson Morthland and Mathematikum Director Albrecht Beutelspacher photographed in front of the Pi-by-the-Foot exhibit of the Mathematikum in Giessen, Germany.
mission is to inspire and mentor the future generation of scientists and innovators in Ensenada, Mexico. “My main motivation for teaching this topic was to spread a greater awareness of the fact that radiation isn’t always something to be afraid of. Radiation is all around us. When used correctly, radiation can do some pretty incredible things to help a lot of people. In order to impart this appreciation for radiation to my students, I focused on the medical uses of radiation such as imaging procedures including x-rays, CT scans and MRI, and radiotherapy practices to treat cancer and other diseases.”
This scholarship is very important to me because I want to work with NASA. I think space exploration is a critical part of the future of mankind and this scholarship helps inspire me to work harder and possibly smarter so I can contribute more.” – Amy LeBleu LSU physics major and 2016 ASF scholar
participated in a quantum computing physics research experience sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship through the LSU GeauxTeach program in Math & Science. Shows has also worked as an undergraduate researcher in Assistant Professor of Physics Kristina Launey’s research group where his work focused on nuclear structure theory. Retired United States Airforce Colonel and NASA astronaut Fred Gregory visited campus to present Shows and LeBleu with the scholarship during a presentation and luncheon held March 17.
2016 ASF scholars Amy LeBleu and Harvey Shows
Physics Students Named ASF Scholars LSU physics majors Amy LeBleu and Harvey Shows were among the top performing scholars to receive the 2016 Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award. The ASF Award was created by the six surviving astronauts of Mercury 7, the team of seven astronauts that piloted the manned spaceflights of the Mercury program from May 1961 to 1963. The scholarship aims to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors that keep the U.S. on the leading edge of technology. LeBleu, an astronomy and biochemistry double major with a minor in psychology, has contributed to a number of astrophysics projects, including work in the laboratory of LSU Ball Family Distinguished Professor in Physics & Astronomy Geoffrey Clayton. Her work focused on researching SN2007oc, a type II supernova, and the methods to model the amount of dust produced in the explosion. This project was funded by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. She also helped develop a program to determine if R Corona Borealis (RCB) [stars], a peculiar low-mass yellow supergiant star, can be found only from their spectrum. The program would also be able to scan the Sloan Digital Sky Survey catalog to find more RCB stars. Shows also has an extensive research background. Last summer, he conducted neutrino physics research at Indiana University. He also
Julie Butler in Karen Maruska’s Fish Lab. Photo by Paige Jarreau
A Tale of Two Fishes In November, Julie Butler, a PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences at LSU, stood in front of a packed auditorium in the Digital Media Center and fascinated the audience with a story about her research on the impact of man-made noises on fish behavior, reproduction, and acoustic communication – in three minutes flat. Julie came in first place out of nine finalists in the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT) hosted by the LSU Graduate School. She won a prize of $1,000 and represented LSU at the Southern regional 3MT competition in March.
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LSU SCIENCE NEWS
MD SUCCESS COLLEGE OF SCIENCE MEDICAL SCHOOL Success Rates Surpass National Average BY DAWN JENKINS
n high school and throughout her college years, Beverly Ogden worked closely with her father, a noted surgeon. She enjoyed being in the surgical room, surrounded by the equipment and tools of the
trade, but she never wanted to be the surgeon.
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Dr. Beverly Ogden, 1979 microbiology graduate, director of laboratory and medical director of research at Woman’s Hospital
“When a specimen was removed in surgery, I always wondered what the diagnosis was going to be. I also spent a fair amount of time shadowing a pathologist who was a very good friend of my father’s,” said Dr. Ogden, a 1979 graduate of the microbiology program in the LSU College of Science. After graduating from LSU, Dr. Ogden earned her MD from Tulane University’s School of Medicine, but she credits the foundational knowledge she received in the College of Science for her success in medical school and her distinguished career as a medical pathologist. “I felt that I had an advantage over the other students in my medical school class because of the strong science background that I was given at LSU. I was used to taking laboratory practical tests, which was a big part of first year medical school training. The biochemistry class in the microbiology program at LSU was so thorough that I really didn’t have to study extensively for my biochemistry tests in medical school, which allowed me to concentrate more on anatomy and physiology,” Dr. Ogden said. Today, Dr. Ogden is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology. She is a practicing pathologist with the Pathology Group
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of Louisiana, director of laboratory and medical director of research at Woman’s Hospital. Dr. Beverly Ogden is one of many successful medical professionals who began their academic careers in the LSU College of Science. As a matter of fact, more than half of the physicians in Louisiana got their start in the College of Science. Our alumni include a number or premier obstetricians, podiatrists, surgeons, pathologists, anesthesiologists, and medical researchers, in addition to successful graduates in dentistry and optometry. “Our success is grounded in our commitment to providing our students in the pre-health program with the coursework, advising and experiential learning opportunities that prepare them to be successful in medical school and other professional health programs,” said Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science and Seola Arnaud and Richard Vernon Edwards Jr. Professor. What sets the LSU College of Science apart from its peers? The formula involves a diverse mixture that includes support from committed faculty and staff, hard-working and high-achieving students, carefully crafted coursework and advising practices, and experiential learning opportunities that expose students to the realities of life as a medical professional.
LSU SCIENCE NEWS I felt that I had an advantage over the other students in my medical school class because of the strong science background that I was given at LSU.” – Dr. Beverly Odgen LSU microbiology alumna
Theory in Practice In 2016, Dean Peterson and Dr. Erich Sturgis, a 1985 graduate of LSU’s biochemistry program and professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, partnered to expose students to the fast-paced life of medical professionals at MD Anderson, one of the top cancer treatment and research facilities in the world. Dr. Sturgis approached Dr. Ed Diaz, director of the externship program, about opening it up to LSU students. Despite being a Longhorn and father of an Aggie, Dr. Diaz agreed. “This experience gives LSU students a real appreciation for what academic medicine is like at a major center, a flavor of what training after medical school, like a residency or fellowship, would be like and an inside look at taking care of cancer patients and what a rewarding experience it can be,” Dr. Sturgis said. Last summer, five students in the College of Science were selected to shadow MD Anderson physicians to gain valuable insights into medical training, care delivery and to experience oncology as an area of interest. The lucky five were Harley Bordelon, James Briscoe, Victoria Huynh, Madeline Shannon and Nicole Dominique. The externs had an opportunity to be exposed to a variety of medical fields, but Nicole Dominique knew early into the externship that she wanted to focus her time at MD Anderson on anesthesiology. She spent 30 days shadowing an MD Anderson anesthesiologist. She woke up at 4:45 a.m. to get to the center by 6 a.m. She accompanied the doctor on rounds, observed surgical procedures and learned to navigate a large hospital complex. “Being paired with an anesthesiologist, I was able to interact with other anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, scrub technicians, radiologists, surgeons, nurses and medical students,” Dominique said. “All of the people I interacted with were very willing to help and teach, but I think I enjoyed interacting with the other anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists along with my mentor the most.” The anesthesiologist was Dr. Ifey Ifeanyi-Pillette, a 2004 alumnus of LSU’s biological sciences program and graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical school. “She worked the hours I worked, she walked the halls and talked with patients. She was present in the moment,” Dr. Ifeanyi-Pillette said. “Seeing what the job entails is eye opening. The last thing you want to do is to get all of this training, get the degree and the job, and hate it.”
Dr. Erich Sturgis, 1985 biochemistry graduate, and his son Nicholas Sturgis.
Nicole Dominique, 2017 microbiology graduate
Dr. Ifey Ifeanyi-Pillette, 2004 biological sciences graduate
Dr. Ifeanyi-Pillette could have attended Tulane, Xavier or Dillard as an undergraduate, but she wanted to go to a big school with big opportunities. “There were so many students at LSU. That experience prepared me for medical school and being competitive with my peers,” Dr. Ifeanyi-Pillette said.
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The Road to Medical School
Kristian Black, 2015 biochemistry graduate
Percentage of LSU’s Accepted Medical School Applicants OVERALL, 323 LSU STUDENTS APPLIED TO MEDICAL SCHOOL AND
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LSU College of Science
83.2% LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences
LSU College of Engineering
LSU College of Human Sciences & Education
LSU College of Agriculture
LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts
LSU College of Business
The path to medical school is not an easy one. Students take on difficult coursework, hours upon hours of study and the medical college admission test, or MCAT. “We start working with students as soon as they arrive to begin preparing them for the process of gaining admission,” said Robby Bowen, director of pre-health programs at LSU. “We have information sessions specifically for first-year students to give them a four-year plan of what they should focus on each year to develop into competitive applicants.” Bowen serves as the key advisor for all LSU students pursuing pre-health careers at LSU, which include medicine, dentistry, optometry and podiatry. Bowen also chairs the university’s Premedical/ Predental Review Committee, a team of faculty, advisors and health professionals that helps students navigate the application process for professional health schools. The review committee also writes letters of recommendation for students who have met the application criteria. For Kristian Black, 2015 biochemistry graduate at LSU, it was the chance to solve complex puzzles—both societal and medical—that drew him to the field of medicine. “I saw deficiencies both in the community of minority physicians and the ways we combat health related issues, so I decided to make a proactive move,” Black said. “The LSU College of Science gave me one-on-one application advice that motivated me to challenge myself and push the competitive envelope.” Today, Black is a second year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School. “I thank all of my professors at LSU for pushing me through biochemistry to make sure that I was thoroughly prepared for the academic hurdles I would face at the University of Michigan Medical School,” Black said. College of Science students make up more than half of the students in LSU’s professional health programs. The students are also accepted at other prestigious medical schools throughout the nation including Baylor College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt, University of Kentucky, Tulane and Texas A&M. Nils Herion is taking a dual approach to the professional school experience, opting to pursue a MD and PhD at Heidelberg University Medical School, one of the oldest and most respected medical schools in Germany. Herion has been fulfilling the research requirement of his MD/PhD at the LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “I think every MD should have an appreciation and understanding of research and scientific methods, approaches and techniques. When I first started to become trained in Dr. Claudia Kappin’s laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, I not only learned techniques, but also learned a researcher’s way of thinking and approaching a problem,” Herion said. Herion works in a developmental biology research lab at Pennington. The lab uses mouse models to investigate birth defects, in particular neural tube defects, the most prominent congenital defects affected by maternal diabetes.
LSU SCIENCE NEWS
ACCEPTANCES BY MAJOR AT LSU 2015-16 (Double majors listed under both majors) Biological Sciences 126 Biochemistry 8 Microbiology 7 Chemistry 5 Mathematics 1 Physics
Nils Herion, 2012 biological sciences graduate
“I think it is important for medical students to understand that before a new medication can appear on the market, years and years of not only clinical research, but most importantly basic science research is necessary,” Herion said. “This is one reason why I enjoy having the opportunity to work in a basic science research laboratory.”
Surpassing the Expectation LSU has set a national standard for university pre-health programs. Like most universities, LSU does not have a pre-health “major,” but has a program of study that can be incorporated into just about any academic program. The university’s acceptance rate to medical school is proof positive of the program’s success. For the 2015-16 entering medical class, over 83 percent of LSU’s accepted medical applicants were graduates of the the College of Science. Overall, 323 LSU students applied to medical school and 54 percent were accepted, which is significantly higher than the national average of 42 percent. Among the hundreds of students pursuing medical careers at LSU each year, a significant number are opting to apply to dental school and other professional health programs. In 2015-16, 64 LSU students applied to dental school and 58% were accepted. This rate surpasses the average national dental school acceptance rate of 37 percent. Also, more than 300 LSU students applied to allopathic medical schools, 80 applied to osteopathic medical schools and ten applied to optometry school.
Looking Ahead The LSU College of Science’s approach to preparing students for medical careers has helped further solidify the college’s reputation for producing quality graduates who are prepared for the rigors of professional health programs. This work is vital to ensuring that there are enough trained health professionals to meet the nation’s
Anthropology 1 English 2 need for quality healthcare professionals. History 1 A physician workforce Psychology 4 report released by the Political Science 1 Association of American Sociology 1 Colleges, or AAMC, notes Spanish 1 that the United States will Nutrition/Food Science 2 face a shortage of physicians over the next decade ranging Mass Communication 1 between 61,700 and 94,700 Music 1 with a significant shortage in Management 1 surgical specialties. AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch said that the projections confirms that the physician shortage is real and significant. “The nation must begin to train more doctors now if patients are going to be able to receive the care they need when they need it in the near future,” Dr. Kirch said. The study, conducted by the Life Science division of the global information company IHS Inc., estimates a shortfall of between 14,900 and 35,600 primary care physicians. Non-primary care specialties are expected to experience a shortfall of between 37,400 and 60,300 physicians. The LSU College of Science is tackling this challenge head on. The support provided by college staff, the experience of its faculty and partnerships with established medical institutions and medical professionals, have provided a strong foundation for student success. The college will continue to advance its pre health program of study and prepare thousands more to be successful in a variety of medical and healthcare related fields.
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RIPE: REALIZING THE GREEN REVOLUTION LSU Researchers Explore Creative Solutions to IMPROVING CROP YIELD BY DAWN JENKINS
he idea that the world’s demand for food could outpace food production may be a difficult concept for many to digest, but this notion could be an imminent reality. For the past 50 years, the green revolution has allowed crop production to keep pace with population growth. However, recently crop yields in wheat
and rice have leveled off. A forecast by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations asserts that food production must increase by 70 percent to support the world’s population in 2050, which is estimated to increase to 9.6 billion.
In an effort to develop an innovative solution to this looming agricultural crisis, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation initiated the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project, and LSU biologist James Moroney is playing an active role in this undertaking. RIPE is a $25 million research effort aimed towards developing plants that will increase crop yields by using sunlight more effectively through the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the method that plants use to transform light energy into chemical energy. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and light are the raw materials that fuel the plant growth process. Millions of years ago, natural selection optimized this system in plants. However, even though the atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased over the past 50 years, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is still limiting to most crops. This is largely due to the inefficiency of the enzyme Rubisco, which catalyzes the first reaction of CO2 fixation (photosynthesis). Rubisco requires high concentrations of CO2 to be efficient. Led by the University of Illinois, RIPE is made up of an international team of scientists from Australian National University (Canberra), the Chinese Academy of Sciences-Max Plank Institute (Shanghai), Lancaster University, Liverpool John Moores University,
A plate of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii colonies that are the result of a genetic cross
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the University of Essex (all in Great Britan), the University of California-Berkeley, and LSU. These scientists are redesigning the photosynthetic production line to make it more efficient for the future. For the next Green Revolution, RIPE is cultivating plants that can photosynthesize more efficiently to produce plants with more biomass. RIPE is exploring solutions to stagnant crop yield from a series of angles. Increasing mesophyll conductance focuses on optimizing CO2 diffusion inside of the leaf. Optimizing canopies centers on improving plant architecture to maximize light energy absorption. Relaxing photoprotection minimizes damage caused by high light levels. Optimizing carbon metabolism enhances the investment of resources in the Calvin cycle by altering gene expression of several enzymes in the leaf. Transplanting Rubisco replaces the inefficient Rubisco enzyme with better Rubisco isoforms. Photorespiratory bypass replaces the carbon cycling pathway of photorespiration in crop plants with a more efficient bacterial pathway. Finally, algal mechanisms focus on inserting carbon-concentrating mechanics from algae into plants to elevate CO2 concentrations around the plant Rubisco. Moroney’s work falls within the algal mechanisms approach. In 2013, he was awarded a $700,000 contract with the University of Illinois to identify new inorganic carbon transporters from the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This alga contains a robust CO2 concentrating mechanism, which is essential for photosynthesis at atmospheric levels of CO2. At LSU, Moroney has worked to characterize the CO2 concentrating mechanism of C. reinhardtii. He and his students have discovered a number of proteins that assist in delivering CO2 to Rubisco in the alga. “We have four different algal transporters that we are interested in. We are presently putting them into higher plants to see if these algal proteins can improve photosynthesis. One of them is working very nicely and is going to the right place in the plant, so we feel like we have it localized to the chloroplast like we want it to be,” said Moroney, Glenda Wooters Streva Alumni Professor in LSU’s Department of Biological Sciences. “Our hope is that these algal proteins will help
T H E N E X T G R E E N R E VO L U T I O N deliver CO2 to Rubisco in the plant, increasing photosynthesis and crop yields.” In over 85 percent of plant species, CO2 entering a leaf simply diffuses to Rubisco. Rubisco, though vital to the photosynthesis process, is fairly inefficient due to its tendency to bind with O2 instead of CO2. A number of algae have moved past this limitation by forming a structure called the pyrenoid James Moroney, Glenda Wooters Streva within the chloroplast, and Alumni Professor in the LSU Department of have transport proteins Biological Sciences that help the CO2 reach Rubisco. RIPE’s mathematical modeling suggests that a large increase in photosynthesis could be achieved by re-engineering the pyrenoid apparatus back into crop plant chloroplasts. Since many proteins are required to form a pyrenoid, this strategy is considered quite risky. “It is definitely a high risk, high reward situation,” Moroney said. “The RIPE team has some projects that were expected to produce tangible results in five years, but other projects, like ours, were longer term. Projects with shorter timelines like those at UC Berkeley, which is relaxing photoprotection and the optimizing carbon metabolism project at the University of Essex really look promising. They had plants undergoing field tests at the University of Illinois this past summer.” Moroney and his team may have encountered a few roadblocks to developing an improved plant, but they are still working towards a successful outcome. “One of the problems we are facing is that these transporters are very tightly controlled,” Moroney said. “Basically, they are active in the light and inactive at night, so there are other proteins controlling their functions. So our plants with the algal proteins have not shown any improvements yet. We think that when we place the transporters in the plants that we may be missing other components needed to control them. Now, we are trying to identify other proteins required for their activation.” In addition to improving photosynthesis, Moroney hopes that introducing these algal transport proteins might result in more resilient plants that can thrive in harsh, dry climates. “There are little pores in leaves called stomates,” Moroney said. “For every CO2 that enters, hundreds of water molecules escape. So, the plants are losing lots of water by keeping their stomates open. If we could get the plant to be a bit more efficient in using CO2, it would use less water and not require much irrigation.” Moroney has a stellar group of scientists working with him on the RIPE project. The team includes postdoctoral researchers Mary Machingura and Robert DiMario and undergraduate researchers Jimmie Mickler, Madelinn Fink and Joshua Schwartzenburg.
The RIPE research group at LSU: Madelinn Fink, Robert DiMario, James Moroney, Jimmie Mickler and Mary Machingura
Mary Machingura, postdoctoral researcher
Machingura brings a unique knowledge set to the group. She worked on cassava research in Zimbabwe, Africa, where she received a higher understanding of food production issues in harsh climates. One priority of this project is to improve crops like cassava that are important crops in Africa. Machingura’s work has been featured in Plant Science, Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and other scientific journals. DiMario, who received his BS (2010) and PhD (2016) in biology from LSU, coauthored studies published in Photosynthesis Research, Plant Physiology and Molecular Plant. Moroney’s work with the RIPE program began in 2011, when he was one of only 13 scientists invited to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation workshop to share his views on how photosynthesis research could positively impact agricultural productivity. Fast forward five years and the RIPE project has made significant gains in their work to create a more resilient high-yield plant. Though Moroney admits that while he hoped that his team’s work would be further along, significant progress has been made and the research continues to move forward. “This project is like my dream,” Moroney said. “I always considered my work on algae to be basic research. I was interested in how algae became so efficient at capturing CO2 for photosynthesis. It is really fun to see that our work on algal photosynthesis might someday help improve crops and perhaps boost food production.” THE PURSUIT 2017 | 15
TWO CULTURES INTERTWINED SCIENCE AND ART at LSU BY PAIGE JARREAU
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SCIENCE AND ART
here is a common misconception that art and science are two different cultures. In the 1950s, chemist and novelist C. P. Snow wrote about the divide between â€œtwo cultures,â€?
the sciences and the humanities, and that this divide had become so stark that individuals in the sciences and individuals in the arts and the humanities could no longer communicate with one another.
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Prosanta Chakrabarty and a team of researchers collect specimens on a public beach in Grand Isle during a “Crude Life” outreach event. Photo by A. J. Turner.
But science and art combined provide a more holistic view of our complicated world. Today, researchers and students in the LSU College of Science and across campus are combining science and art in their personal lives, in their research projects and to engage broader audiences in science. Foster Hall, the home of the LSU Museum of Natural Science, is a building that houses both scientists and artists. College of Science undergraduate student Areen Sittichot is minoring in physical theatre and combining her love of science with artistic physical movement. Sophie Warny, associate professor in the LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics and curator in the LSU Museum of Natural Science, enlarges microscopy images of pollen grains and uses her photographs for artistic and educational purposes. These are only a few examples of science-art projects and collaborations across the LSU campus. Prosanta Chakrabarty, associate professor and curator of fishes at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, recently initiated a collaboration with Brandon Ballengée, a scientist and internationally renowned artist, to explore biodiversity changes in the Gulf of Mexico. Chakrabarty brought Ballengée into his lab as a postdoctoral researcher. “Scientists need to communicate better, and artists communicate very well,” Chakrabarty said. “I don’t know how many other scientists would take the chance to hire an artist as a postdoctoral
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researcher. It might seem like more work, because it involves reaching outside of your own scientific field. But I’m learning so much from this collaboration with Brandon.” “Art is a way to communicate across boundaries; not so much to illustrate scientific concepts, but to express meaning,” Ballengée said. “I find that I have to do both art and science. If I don’t do the science, I don’t get inspired to do the art. If I don’t do the art, I don’t get inspired to do the science. The two are connected for me. When I’m doing the artwork, it inspires me to think about new methods for my scientific research, and when I’m doing science I often think about how I could turn scientific specimens into art. And I think that’s really human. None of us are totally objective – we are all both scientists and artists to some degree.” Ballengée grew up having lots of animals, from fish to snakes to frogs and lizards. “My parents moved me into the basement because they were afraid my bedroom was going to fall through the floor because of all the aquariums I had,” Ballengée said. “But I also had a painting studio in the barn. I always needed to do both the science and the art. I also was always interested in what my animals’ environments looked like. I remember making all these artistic dioramas inside the tanks to try to figure out how to make my pets happy, or how to make them breed. So I always remember knowing I wanted to do both the science and the art.”
SCIENCE AND ART Ballengée completed a transdisciplinary PhD program, where he focused on amphibian biology combined with conservation through art and citizen science. Brandon says that he has seen a huge shift in terms of a greater number of programs focusing on combining science, art and communication. “The scientific community is realizing that, especially for complicated socio-ecological issues, that science doesn’t have all the tools required to cope with these challenges alone. Neither does art, or any other single discipline. But when you integrate them, and also work with a pool of local residents to see what knowledge they can bring to the table, maybe we can solve some of these really difficult issues.”
Healing the Coast with Citizen Art and Science The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that started in 2010 had farreaching impacts. The spill affected marine life, Gulf Coast communities and even individuals internationally, including Ballengée, who traveled to Louisiana from Quebec, Canada on several occasions in the aftermath of the spill to work with Gulf communities, volunteer and create art inspired by this crisis to promote awareness and engagement. “All the loss, the loss of life, really struck me, and I wanted to do something about it,” Ballengée said. In the years since the spill, many researchers at LSU, including Chakrabarty and Ballengée, have been working to assess the impacts of the spill on biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico. But an important barrier to determining the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is that many marine species collected and studied scientifically before the spill haven’t been collected since. “We can’t really make an assessment of how these species were affected if we don’t have post-spill specimens,” said biology student Glynn O’Neill. O’Neill has been working with Chakrabarty to assess fish biodiversity and post-spill collections data from the Gulf of Mexico. “We can’t do this on our own. It needs to be a collective effort.” “One of the frustrating things we’ve found in conducting this research is that many researchers are collecting physical specimens but not contributing the museum records and data to publicly accessible online databases like GBIF [Global Biodiversity Information Facility] and iDigBio [Integrated Digitized Biocollections,” Chakrabarty said. “At LSU all the specimens we collect go in a jar on the shelf, but we also upload data available from those specimens, such as where and when they were collected as well as genetic data, into online databases of museum records. But not all museums and researchers do this. We discovered this when Glynn helped search through databases like GBIF and iDigBio to get records of specimens collected in the Gulf of Mexico, but found that the data was limited.” So while Glynn worked to assess pre- and post-spill biodiversity across the Gulf region via online data, Chakrabarty brought Ballengée to the team, after they met through a mutual colleague,
to add citizen science and outreach components to the project to better assess biodiversity after the oil spill and raise awareness for the need for more publicly accessible data. “Brandon’s art is beautiful, and he is also a great writer,” Chakrabarty said. “We decided that we should start a project that would combine science, art and citizen science.” Thus “Crude Life” was born, a citizen art and science investigation of Gulf of Mexico biodiversity after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, funded through the National Academies Keck Futures Initiatives. “I thought, what happens when you bring in local coastal communities that were potentially impacted by the spill, and who are also struggling with other issues, and help make them more aware of the kind of research that is needed to move forward,” Ballengée said. “Local residents and fisherman often know so much about what is happening with different species in the Gulf. They have seen the changes.” Two shrimping companies have already agreed to save bycatch for the LSU fish lab team, to help assess endemic populations post-spill. There are 14 species that the research team is looking for that haven’t been seen since the oil spill. Ballengée has given the list to volunteers including the two shrimping companies and asked them to save anything that looks like a species from that list as well as anything else unusual. Ballengée is also bringing an art component to the project, with the goal of building a mobile Gulf of Mexico biodiversity museum and helping local residents tell their stories through visual mediums. The goal is to survey Gulf sites that were heavily oiled in order to assess whether and to what extent the endemic species have returned or recovered, and to supplement this scientific work with a mobile museum, a “portable curiosity cabinet,” that brings in physical animal specimens, bioart and cultural aspects of how the spill affected local residents and fisherman. The mobile museum will bring together a documentary film of locals’ stories about how the spill and other issues such as sea level rise have impacted the region, physical specimens collected since the spill (including fish and other endemic species such as shrimp and a deep sea roach), a microscope and slides of biological samples collected from the Gulf, and biological art pieces created by the research team, invited artists and local residents during outreach activities.
Art is a way to communicate across boundaries; not so much to illustrate scientific concepts, but to express meaning.” – Brandon Ballengée Scientist and co-creator of the Crude Life project
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Link Morgan points to features on a cleared and stained fish at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. Photo by Paige Jarreau.
The ultimate goal is to organically foster knowledge exchange as well as a broader dialogue that could lead to empowerment and resilience of local communities. Dialogue with local residents can help researchers address complex issues and misconceptions about how marine animals such as shrimp are being affected by changing environmental conditions. For example, shrimp populations have boomed because of sinking marshes as well as decreased fishing after the oil spill, because the shrimp feed on the dead marsh grass. But what happens 20 years from now, when some wetland islands disappear completely in the face of rising sea levels? Art can be a way to start these important conversations. “The art form is a way to communicate across these boundaries,” Ballengée said. “I think it’s very empowering for people to feel like they could be involved in the research and contribute to our portable museum.” One intriguing component of the mobile Gulf of Mexico biodiversity museum will be a series of cleared and stained
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specimens – preserved fish and other marine species that have been transformed into glowing gems that are as much art as they are scientific tools. “By having these biological specimen art projects out there, people get interested and become aware of Louisiana’s incredible biodiversity,” said undergraduate biology student Link Morgan. Link is a curatorial assistant in the LSU Museum of Natural Science. He is helping with the Crude Life project with Chakrabarty and Ballengée. “People start asking questions, and we love that. As scientists we are asking questions all the time.” Individuals and organizations who want to get involved with the Crude Life can contact Brandon through his website, brandonballengee.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Citizens and kids who attend Crude Life events along the Gulf can help Chakrabarty and Ballengée’s team collect specimens, learn about the process of clearing and staining specimens for morphological analysis, and create art surrounding their experiences. Shrimpers and other
SCIENCE AND ART fishing organizations can also get involved by contacting Ballengée about saving bycatch for identification of endemic species. Ballengée has a handout of 15 marine species that haven’t been seen since the spill, that fisherman and citizens can be on the lookout for.
Fish Gems, for Science and Outreach Link learned the tedious, time-consuming and artistic process of clearing and staining. This is the now dying art of taking a biological specimen preserved in formalin, making its soft tissues transparent and staining its cartilage and bones with vibrant blue and red dyes. While other technologies are now readily available for imaging the bones and cartilage of fish and other animals, cleared and stained specimens are immensely useful for studying of morphology in three dimensions. Two fish may look the same on the outside, but their bone morphology may reveal a very different picture about how closely related they are. “When you look at a fish, you just see scales. But when you look at a cleared and stained fish, you can see the details of the bones and cartilage,” Link said, pointing to the delicate ribcage and skull of a cleared and stained Madtom catfish in the basement of Foster hall. “To me, this reminds me of our ribcages and our skull, and that makes me draw a personal connection with this fish.” “When I first saw a cleared and stained specimen, I thought ‘wow, that’s amazing. I have to figure out how to do that,” Ballengée said. His PhD advisor later taught him this aesthetically compelling scientific procedure, and Ballengée is now famous for his photography of deformed frog specimens he cleared and stained himself. The procedure is also useful for the Crude Life project. Some new research suggests that some marine species affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill had abnormal bone morphology, something that Ballengée is now investigating partly through clearing and staining. For fish specimens, the process starts with taking the scales off of a preserved fish, drying the specimen out in ethanol, removing the soft tissues with a solution of trypsin (an enzyme that removes protein), and then soaking the specimen in a series of colorful dyes or stains for several days. The final cleared and stained specimens are placed into oil for viewing. The whole process takes over a month to complete. Link is one of the only researchers at LSU, and very likely the only undergraduate researcher, who knows and regularly practices the clearing and staining process. “A process for clearing soft tissue and staining specific tissues in biological specimens was first published in 1927,” Link said. “But it wouldn’t be recognizable until 1977, when this specific method was developed. This method was useful because it works on specimens that had already been preserved. We have thousands upon thousands of preserved specimens here at the LSU Museum of Natural Science. With this process, you can take one of those, whether it be from 2012 or from 1951, and put it through this process to get a cleared and stained specimen.” “The most lengthy step is the trypsin clearing step,” Link said. “Trypsin is an enzyme, and it’s a pretty cool enzyme because it’s
found in a lot of vertebrates’ digestive systems. The trypsin removes all the proteins from the specimens, and leaves only collagen. Collagen is the stuff that people want to keep in their faces and that is the focus of a lot of beauty products,” Link laughed. Link has cleared and stained six specimens so far, including two long-eared sunfish, two Madtom catfish and two topminnows – all fish found in Louisiana. “I really enjoy the clearing and staining process,” Link said. “It’s a labor of love. Like painting, you can’t rush the process and what you start with isn’t necessarily what you end up with. I’m a perfectionist, and I like the final products to look as pretty as possible.” By pretty, Link means a specimen that is completely clear except for perfectly stained blue cartilage and red bones – like a beautiful, three dimensional, colorful x-ray image. “Honestly, CT and MRI scans are getting so fast that clearing and staining might be a dying art, but it’s such a beautiful way to look at biological specimens, and it’s still very useful,” Chakrabarty said. “Research is its own art-form,” Link said. “It takes time, and there are no guaranteed meaningful results. Usually you find something, whether it’s exactly what you thought you’d find or something totally different. But just like a painting, scientific data could mean one thing to us, but to different researchers in the future, it might mean something totally different.”
The Heart and Movement of Science Other faculty and students in the College of Science are exploring science-art connections across campus. For Areen Sittichot, or “Reeny”, science is not just a series of facts to be learned. Science is the physics of movement, it’s social, it’s emotional, it’s human. Reeny has personal connections with science, sports and physical art. She was an accomplished gymnast before she joined the LSU College of Science in 2013. Her 10-year gymnastics career ended when she injured her back in high school, but her injury and the sports medicine practitioners who helped her through her injury inspired her to pursue a career in medicine, starting with a biology degree at LSU. She is currently a senior in the premed program of study. “I heard about the aerial silks class at LSU through word of mouth,” Reeny said. “I auditioned and Nick Erickson let me in the class.” Erickson is an associate professor of movement and associate head of M.F.A. Acting in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts. “I immediately fell in love with this artistic sport. My background in gymnastics helped – I had the upper body strength and endurance that are often difficult for other aerial students to gain in the beginning of learning aerials. But aerial also combines grace and dance, which is what I always struggled with in gymnastics. So it was something new, yet familiar.” Reeny excelled in her first aerial silks class, and continued to take other aerial and physical theatre classes. She had only been practicing aerial arts for a year when Erickson invited her to join a study abroad program and aerial performance in the summer of
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2016. The program brought together two theatre courses, THTR 3800: Theatre Internship and THTR 4029: Special Topics in Stage Movement, for which students had to take photos, film videos and write about cultural aspects of the countries they visited, including France and Scotland, as well as evaluate and reflect on the various aspects of putting together a physical theatre show, from physical performance to costume design and marketing the show. The program culminated with a performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland called Savage/Love, based on Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's play by the same name. “I thought it would be fun, but I said no at first,” Reeny said. “I was studying for the MCAT that summer and fall semester. I didn’t think going to Europe to perform would work logistically or practically with my plans ands goals at the time.” But in the end, Reeny decided to go for it. She committed to the summer study abroad and started rehearsing for Savage/Love. Rehearsals lasted 5 hours a day during the summer, and all the while Reeny studied another 5 hours every day for her MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). But studying for the MCAT wasn’t the only way that Reeny combined science with her theatre study abroad and aerial arts performance experiences. The aerial show Savage/Love also brought science and art together in ways that made Reeny look at science in new ways. “Nick describes Savage/Love as the ins and outs of real and imagined moments of love,” Reeny said. “It was a crazy compilation of a dozen poems that we performed piece by piece, and science and technology that brought our performances of the poems to life.” For one piece, “Watching the Sleeping Lovers,” an overhead projection of the stage appeared on a screen at the back of the stage while Reeny and other performers danced on the ground in a choreographed movement representing a sleep-like state. “The projections were my favorite part of the show, because there was so much science going on through the images,” Reeny said. “The projected images and videos showed cells moving, neurons firing in the brain, an anatomically correct heart beating, a nervous system, veins and arteries with flowing blood. Even our costumes incorporated the biological system and its chemicals. My costume had microscopic images of cells covering it – the images reminded me of gram staining [a common technique used to differentiate two large groups of bacteria based on their different cell wall constituents].” All of the projections and images of biological systems brought science and anatomy into a performance about how falling in love is not just an emotional experience, but also one that is physiological and neurological. “There is a notion from Descartes that the mind and body are separate entities, one a reflection of the soul, the other a vessel to temporarily house the other. This separation is disappearing with modern science,” Erickson said. “Nerves, once thought separate from the immune system, are found there. The brain speaks to all systems of the body. Aerial practice is also a form of physical performance that unifies mind and body. Metaphorically, classical 22 | THE PURSUIT 2017
Research is its own art form. It takes time, and there are no guaranteed meaningful results.” – Link Morgan Biological sciences student and curatorial assistant in the LSU Museum of Natural Sciences
mechanics crashes into quantum mechanics when a flawless aerial solo unites the performer with the observer. Performer, vision and viewer come together as wishes are illuminated, dreams are fulfilled, and beauty and grace are embodied. Quantum entanglement could very well apply to live performance in a grand metaphor.” Reeny had a special connection to the scientific images that pervaded the Savage/Love show, as well as the physics of the aerial movement, because of her background in the sciences. “I feel like I had an advantage in some ways,” Reeny said. “While spinning or moving in the air, I understand the forces of gravity and the implications of the conservation of angular momentum in a different light than everyone else. There is a huge advantage even in aerial arts to knowing how science works.” But exploring the artistic side of the Savage/Love performance was new for Reeny. It made her see science in a new light. “It was a very different experience, prioritizing this movement and art in my life for the summer,” Reeny said. “At the surface level, movement is a great form of exercise and relief from the stresses of preparing for medical school. But at one point in rehearsing for Savage/Love and seeing the scientific projections behind us, I just had to stop for a moment to think how cool this is, that our bodies can do these things, flow through the silks in the air. Everything in our bodies, down to the smallest cells and even individual atoms, have to function correctly and contribute to a giant system in order for us to move the way we do. I go to my science classes and we talk about facts, but when performing aerial, I have to connect emotion to what I know scientifically about the human body and the physics of movement.” When she first started rehearsing for Savage/Love, Reeny said her tendency was to make lists and go through the training and movements for the pieces methodically, as if she were conducting a scientific experiment. But the other artists she was working with seemed to process the rehearsal much different – more emotionally. “Performers really process their emotions before making a move, or making a decision,” Reeny said. “Rehearsals for Savage/Love changed from day to day based on how everyone was feeling, and at first that drove me crazy. It scared me, I was a wreck. And then performing a show in a foreign country was completely unpredictable.”
SCIENCE AND ART
Areen Sittichot, a biological sciences student at LSU, performs aerial silks in a show created for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Photo by Andy Phillipson.
Reeny said that her experiences in a group aerial art performance have taught her patience and how to deal with things out of her control, lessons she can bring back to her scientific training. “Scientific research is also unpredictable in some ways,” Reeny said. “In my ecology lab this semester, we had planned to set up plots in the swamp, but because of flooding our original plots were ruined and now we have to do something different. That part of science is relatable to putting together an artistic performance. And scientists have to collaborate in their research, just as the performers in our group had to work together to bring Savage/Love to life. Scientists have to build on other scientists’ work, just as artists build on other artists’ work.” Reeny plans to continue to combine science and performance arts. She graduated in May, 2017 with a degree in biology as well as a minor in physical theatre. She plans to take a gap year before she enrolls in medical school, during which she might travel on medical mission trips and continue her development in circus arts. Reeny has always enjoyed traveling – her family is from Thailand and last summer she had the opportunity to shadow doctors and gain valuable medical experiences at Pranangklao Hospital for three weeks, so she may return there during her gap year. Reeny is also
the fundraising chair for the LSU chapter of Global Brigades, an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams. “Doctor by day, circus performer by night – that would be the life,” Reeny joked. But more seriously, Reeny has found that aerial performance and physical movement have inspired her medical interest in the human body, and that vice versa her in-depth understanding of physics and body mechanics have inspired her pursuit of physical performance. Whether it’s in her science or aerial arts, Reeny inspires others to pursue their dreams.
Reaching Out to Artists “There are a lot of scientists who are excited to work with artists, but there is also a lot of ignorance about how complicated the arts are at this moment in history,” Ballengée said. “It is important that scientists try to understand just how rich and complex the arts have developed in recent decades, and not just see them as pretty pictures. Artists should not be expected to just illustrate the concepts of scientists’ discoveries. For a functional art-science collaboration both parties need to respect and have a basic understanding of the field of the other.”
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Areen Sittichot, a biological sciences student at LSU, wears a “biological cell” costume during an aerial silks performance created for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Photo by Andy Phillipson.
Many artists have crossed the disciplinary divide and made important scientific discoveries, and likewise some scientists are also now making great art.” – Brandon Ballengée
Collaborations between artists and scientists have resulted in a wide range of innovative projects, from a zero gravity dance performance, to music made with electromagnetic waves, to tissue engineered sculptures, to phytoremediation sculpting of toxic landfills. The list goes on. “Many artists have crossed the disciplinary divide and made important scientific discoveries, and likewise some scientists are also now making great art,” Ballengée said. Ballengée encourages scientists looking for artists to collaborate with to stop by their campus art department, a local art center or a gallery and introduce themselves. Other resources for science and
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art collaborations can be found through the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (USA), Le Laboratoire Cambridge (USA), Arts Catalyst (UK), SymbioticA (Australia), Artists in Labs (Switzerland), Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (USA), Incubator (Canada), Ectopia (Portugal), and the Finnish Society of Bioart (Finland). “Do a little online research. There are very many art-science resources and programs happening all over,” Ballengée said. Chakrabarty and Ballengée are also beginning to work on organizing a future LSU Art-Science Symposium.
M AST E R M E N TO R
INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION:
DR. ISIAH WARNER BY DAWN JENKINS
LSU Boyd Professor Isiah Warner in his laboratory with student researchers
n July 2016, noted chemist, educator and nationally recognized “master mentor” Isiah Warner celebrated his 70th birthday with an education and research symposium that brought together colleagues, current and former students and many others as far away as China wanting to celebrate the achievements of Bunkie, Louisiana’s native son. This
celebration was befitting for such a highly regarded educator who has mentored hundreds of young scientists, many of whom have gone on to earn PhDs and establish successful careers of their own in academia, medicine and industry.
Warner’s path to chemistry began very early. At two years old, he often watched his family members pour liquid into a kerosene lamp. Innately curious, Warner wanted to learn more about the liquid that ignited the fire that lit his home, so he embarked on his first chemistry experiment. Warner found the liquid that was stored beneath the kitchen sink and drank it. Needless to say, this early experiment did not fare well. As a matter of fact, a brief stay in the hospital derailed his chemistry pursuits, that is until his parents gave him a chemistry set at 10 years old. Today, Warner is an LSU Boyd Professor, the highest professorial rank in the LSU System. He is also the Philip W. West Professor of Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor and vice president for research and strategic initiatives. Warner is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in analytical applications of fluorescence spectroscopy. He holds eight U.S. patents that specialize in spectroscopy and separation science and span a variety of different research areas. His spectroscopy studies have become mainstays for many leading manufacturers of commercially available fluorescence analytical measurements.
He is also the 2016 SEC Professor of the Year, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was most recently named a National Academy of Inventors fellow. He has more than 350 refereed publications in a variety of journals relevant to the general areas of analytical and materials chemistry. He is also recognized for developing a mentoring strategy that gives students the support and guidance needed to help them successfully transition from high school to college and into doctoral programs. His nationally recognized and often replicated system has aided in making LSU among the top producers of women and African American PhDs in chemistry in the U.S. In “Making Strides,” an article by Virginia Van Horne, Warner said, “Encouraging and working with students is what matters.” Years later, he echoed this viewpoint during the College of Science’s fall 2016 ceremony where he provided the keynote address. Warner told the graduates: “Mentors were in place for you along your journey; therefore, mentor and protect others along the way. In essence, make the world a better place for future generations.” Warner is certainly doing his part to guide the next generation of scientists and he is encouraging LSU’s newest alumni to do the same.
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THE POWER OF MATH LSU MATH STUDENTS Create a Detection Interface to Help Pennington Biomedical Researchers Measure INFANT SUCKING BEHAVIOR BY PAIGE JARREAU
LSU Professor of Mathematics Peter Wolenski (third from the right) and his research team for the infant sucking behavior project: Zhaoxia “Mary” Wang, Zachary Bradshaw, Abby Duhe Altazan, Jerome Weston, Hugo Leiva, Brandon Dellucky, and Sima Sobhiyeh
n the summer of 2016, a group of LSU undergraduate and graduate math students developed and implemented a program in the computing environment MatLab that measured infant sucking behavior. The main idea behind this research project is that if infants aren’t properly nourished at a very early age, their brains may
continue to demand more nourishment even when they don’t need it as they get older. It is conjectured that this could be a cause or at least contribute to the widespread occurrence of obesity. Abby Altazan and Dr. Leanne Redman are researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and were collecting data to test this idea. They have a novel bottle device with a pressure sensor to record the infant’s sucking behavior. But the data collection and subsequent analytic tools provided by the device’s manufacturer were seemingly unreliable and extremely complicated. They sought guidance by contacting Professor Peter Wolenski, who runs the Mathematical Consultation Clinic (MCC) in the LSU Math department. “They had a device that would measure an infant suck signals during bottle feeding,” Wolenski said. “But the Matlab [math software] program designed for the device was very clunky. The researchers didn’t know exactly how the analysis was working, and it didn’t appear to be working correctly or even consistently.” Professor Wolenski had created the MCC several years ago with the goal of creating a unit on campus for creation of personalized software for various clients in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students. Students in MATH 4020, a capstone course within the LSU Math program, are assigned a semester-long project through the clinic. When Pennington Biomedical researchers contacted Wolenski about issues with their infant suck detection
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device, he assigned a team of students to create a solution over the course of the summer. The project was supported by a Board of Regents grant. “Undergraduate math majors are actually very well-equipped to analyze and organize data in ways that researchers can use it,” Wolenski said. “Research data is almost always a mathematical formulation.” Over the summer, the group of 12 students met every day to at first brainstorm and then implement an algorithm and user interface to help Pennington Biomedical researchers collect better and more reliable data related to infant sucking behavior. Within 10 weeks, the team designed a user-friendly software tool that imports and
P O W E R O F M AT H LSU undergraduate students gained valuable programming and teamwork skills while creating real-world software for a Pennington Biomedical research project. visualizes raw data collected from a pressure sensor attached to a bottle of milk. The team created an algorithm that computes information about the way an infant sucks from a bottle, recording and interpreting for example the number of sucks and bursts of sucks, the amount of milk consumed at each suck, the duration and strength of each suck, and the interval between sucks. Math students Abiti Adipi and Hugo Leira helped develop the mathematical theory behind the method used to measure the infant sucks, Miles Robicheaux and Zachary Bradshaw helped build the graphical user interface (GUI) programmatically, and Brandon Dellucky, Heewon Hah, Jerome Weston and Zachary Bradshaw designed and implemented the algorithm in MatLab. Amy Adair, also a Communication across the Curriculum (CxC) Distinguished Communicator candidate, was in charge of writing the weekly and final reports for the group. Other students involved in the project included Mary Wang, Margarite LaBorde and Joshua Brock. “The major challenge of this project was that before we started creating the algorithm, there was no definition of what an infant suck is or what it looks like in terms of the data,” Sima Sobhiyeh said. The resultant data analysis algorithm and user-friendly software tool have allowed Pennington Biomedical researchers to analyze their data at a much faster rate and more accurately than before. The LSU Math student team increased the speed of data analysis, from three minutes to run a single dataset to only three seconds to run the same dataset, by creating a clean software program that used pre-allocated memory and efficient mathematical analysis of raw data. For Wolenski, part of the impetus for the incorporation of real-world projects into the MATH 4020 capstone course and the employment of undergraduate math students into projects taken on by the mathematical consultation clinic, such as the infant suck detection project, is to equip undergraduate math students with skills that will help them land higher-paying jobs upon graduation. “The students love it, because they get to see how mathematics is used in the real world to describe phenomena, and they are able to learn and apply basic programming skills with MatLab,” Wolenski said. Wolenski envisions a mathematical consultation center at LSU where researchers could come to get help with the data collection and analysis components of their research projects, while undergraduate math students gain programming and mathematical analysis skills working on real-world projects. “The goal is to provide researchers who are struggling with data collection and data organization with programs that run quickly and accurately. That way, the researchers can focus more on their science,” Wolenski said.
Bottle outfitted with pressure sensor to record infant suck behavior
Undergraduate math majors are actually very well equipped to analyze and organize data in ways that researchers can use it. Research data is almost always a mathematical function.” – Peter Wolenski Professor, LSU Department of Mathematics
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CALL OF THE
CAJUN CHORUS FROG LSU Researchers Analyze Chorus Frog Biodiversity with 40-YEAR-OLD LSU MNS TISSUE SAMPLES BY PAIGE JARREAU
n a new open access study published in Ecology and Evolution, LSU researchers Jeremy Brown and Eric Rittmeyer along with collaborators at Florida State University show that two species of chorus frogs now interbreed, or hybridize, across a much wider area of the Gulf Coast than they did just 30-40 years ago. Frog
tissue samples frozen in LSU Museum of Natural Science’s (LSU MNS) Genetic Resource Collection were key to making this discovery. In the 1970’s Donald Gartside, then a faculty member at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, began collecting and characterizing tiny singing frogs across Louisiana. He also contributed tissues from the frogs to a frozen tissue collection established by his colleague Herbert Dessauer. What Gartside didn’t know is that he had an undiscovered species on his hands. These frogs were not Upland chorus frogs (Pseudacris feriarum) as he thought. And what Dessauer didn’t know is that the tissues he saved for genetic analysis would pay off for two prepared LSU researchers. Gartside’s frogs today are known as Cajun chorus frogs (P. fouquettei). Emily Lemmon, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University, first described the species in her PhD dissertation. “Lemmon is essentially the world’s foremost expert on these frogs,” said Jeremy Brown, assistant professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences. “She studies the patterns of their speciation and hybridization across their range.” Lemmon and Brown were classmates in graduate school. From Gartside’s work, Lemmon knew of a hybrid zone occurring along the Pearl River where the Cajun chorus frogs from Louisiana and Southern chorus frogs (P. nigrita) from other regions of the Gulf Coast meet. “I decided it would be interesting to compare how the structure of the hybrid zone had changed through time, so I went back to Gartside's original sites and started recording and sampling,” Lemmon said. But the zone where the two frog species interbreed and form hybrids was geographically too distant for Lemmon’s lab to study it regularly. “She asked if we would be interested in working on studying that zone, and I was looking for an excuse to get outside,” Brown said. Brown studies computational biology, but he tries to spend time on field projects as much as he can. This project was a good excuse to do that, he said. “I just like catching things, being outside. It was also a great project for student involvement.” Brown involved Eric Rittmeyer, then a graduate student at LSU, as well as several undergraduates who assisted with fieldwork. Brown’s group caught frogs in Louisiana, in Mississippi and within the hybrid zone. They sent the frogs to Lemmon’s lab for extraction of DNA
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and other genetic data collection. Kristin Engebretsen, at the time an undergraduate in Lemmon’s lab and the lead author on the paper, collected the genetic data and conducted many of the analyses. “Being out in the field finding and observing reptiles and amphibians in their natural environment is really what drew me to biology,” Rittmeyer said. “Yet at the same time, it is challenging. There are the logistics, of course, such as obtaining permits, university travel forms and permission from landowners. And even once all this is accomplished, it can be a challenge to find the target organism.” In the hybrid zone near the Pearl River, catching chorus frogs can be particularly difficult. Hybrid zones tend to have fewer individuals from both species, and the individuals who are in the zone are skittish. Brown and Rittmeyer would go out at night for fieldwork within the hybrid zone and only catch a few frogs on a good night. Eric turned out to be the expert catcher. “There’s a certain stalking technique to catching these frogs,” Brown laughed. “You need a lot of patience and a really good ear. Eric was really good.” “Even if you can hear a male calling, it can be a challenge to find exactly where he's hiding,” Rittmeyer said. Brown and Rittmeyer would drive around with their windows down on winter nights, listening for the male chorus frogs calls. When they heard calls, they would pull over and start searching. “In hand, these two frog species are almost impossible to tell apart,” Brown said. “Even their calls are similar to the human ear. And they will stop calling when they sense you are around. So we would get as close as we could until they stopped calling, and then stand still until they started calling again. Then we would get a bit closer, and repeat that process until we were close enough to pinpoint which tuft of grass they were in.” The researchers’ smartphones were valuable when it came to catching the frogs. Brown and his students would all be playing recordings of male chorus frogs from their phones as they stalked them around a pond, because when the frogs hear the calls of other males they call more frequently. Much active research in evolutionary biology involves looking at the process of speciation, or how and when new species form or how and
Cajun chorus frog. Image credit: Jeromi Hefner, CC BY 2.0
when different species converge. Sometimes barriers that have divided species in the past, such as rivers, disappear. If the individuals can successfully interbreed and produce competitive offspring, the zone of intersection between the two species, also called the hybrid zone, starts to widen. The different species may even become a single species again. Brown and Lemmon wanted to investigate how Cajun chorus frogs and Southern chorus frogs have interbred over time and whether the two species might be converging due to changes in the landscape. But the researchers quickly ran into a problem. To investigate this question, they needed historical data on how these two species interacted in the past. Lemmon knew about the genetic data Gartside had collected on chorus frogs in Louisiana in the 1970’s, but she assumed the samples had been left in New Orleans and destroyed during hurricane Katrina. “We were going to do the best we could to compare our modern genetic analyses to Gartside’s analyses of chorus frogs,” Brown said. “But Eric, who was a curatorial assistant at the museum [LSUMNS], had a hunch that the tissues had been transferred to the collection at LSU.” LSUMNS has one of the largest, oldest and most actively used genetic resource collections in the country. “Eric was able to track them down, which was a big surprise to us,” Brown said. “It really changed the nature of the study. Lemmon’s lab was able to extract new DNA from these 40-year old tissue samples. That’s the real value of these tissue collections. Although our ability to gather genetic data changes through time, as long as the tissues are there we are able to apply our newest methods.” “We were so surprised because everyone, including Gartside, thought the samples had been lost,” Lemmon said. “This makes our
study unique, in that we could do a comparison between samples over such a large time period.” Brown’s group contributed computational analysis to the project based on the genetic data collected in Lemmon’s lab. They computed the shape of the zone where Cajun chorus frogs and Southern chorus frogs overlap and potentially interbred. In their paper, Brown and his colleagues describe how the shape of that zone has changed over time. For chorus frogs, this zone of hybridization appears to be widening. “We found Southern chorus frog genes much further into Louisiana than Gartside did in 1976, and we found Cajun chorus frog genes much further east along the Gulf Coast,” Brown said. “We don’t exactly know why.” One possibility is that individual Cajun and Southern chorus frogs disperse more than they used to, perhaps moving up and down manmade road-side ditches. Brown’s favorite hypothesis, which is most likely wrong, he laughs, is that strong hurricanes in the recent past have picked frogs up and dispersed them far into regions where they wouldn’t normally reside. But to answer the question definitively, the chorus frog research team needs additional data. By collecting more data on the different mating calls of the two frog species and the degree of female preference for males of the same species, the researchers could get a clearer idea of whether these species are starting to converge genetically or not, and to what extent. “It is often assumed that hybrid zones are stable over time, yet only a handful of studies have sampled from two different time points to actually test this assumption,” Rittmeyer said. “Fundamentally, our data is important for understanding what is going to happen with these species going forward,” Brown said.
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DROP, COVER, HOLD Researchers Create 3D Images that Shed New Light on THE ACTIVITY BELOW THE EARTH’S SURFACE BY DAWN JENKINS
Patricia Persaud in one of her field areas in Southern California.
he idea of large devastating earthquakes may be hard to fathom for those living outside of California, but for the residents of “Earthquake Country,” ground rumbles are the norm. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California has about 10,000 earthquakes each year, but most are too small to be felt.
Natural phenomena like these have always fascinated Patricia Persaud. An accomplished seismologist and one of the newest faculty addition to the Department of Geology & Geophysics at LSU, she is helping to shed new light on the movements below the Earth’s surface. Persaud is one of the researchers contributing to the Salton Seismic Imaging Project (SSIP), a collaborative effort between U.S. and Mexican institutions, and the U.S. Geological Survey funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey. This project has provided detailed, subsurface 3D images of the Salton Trough of southern California and northern Mexico and gives geoscientists a better understanding of the Earth’s structure close to the San Andreas fault. “The surface of the Earth is made up of many pieces called plates that fit together like a puzzle,” Persaud said. “The plates are constantly moving though very slowly, maybe just a couple of centimeters each year. Over geologic time, this slow and constant motion adds up; mountains grow and ocean basins form and almost
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all of the action is occurring at the edge of plates. Coincidentally, that’s where humans like to live too.” In 2011, the SSIP strategically placed 4,000 seismometers in the ground in southern California and New Mexico. The overall goal of the project was to measure the speed and amplitude of seismic waves that traveled from a set of 126 shallow underground explosions to the seismometers, which measure ground motions due to the passage of seismic waves. Seismic waves are produced by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other seismic sources. After three weeks, the results were retrieved from the seismometers and processed in a computer program to create an image much like the x-ray of a bone. The dataset allowed the SSIP team to identify important unmapped faults or buried interfaces and will help refine the seismic hazard for parts of Imperial County, California, where the population is projected to almost double by 2060. “California is earthquake country and the San Andreas Fault is long overdue for a large earthquake, something like a 7.8 in magnitude,” Persaud said.
D R O P, C OV E R , H O L D
Persaud exploring the Venado Caves in Costa Rica, a limestone labyrinth that extends for almost 3 km.
Persaud demonstrates how to insert a seismometer.
Diagram: Perspective view of basement depths in the Imperial Valley at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault system overlain by faults (black lines) and earthquakes (purple dots). Hot colors show deeper basement, i.e., thicker sediment fill and possibly more severe ground in the event of a large earthquake. Blue-filled area is the Salton Sea.
To put this into perspective, the Sumatra earthquake in 2004, with a moment magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3, is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. This quake triggered a series of deadly tsunamis killing approximately 280,000 people in 14 countries. Persaud said scientists do not know exactly when the next big earthquake will happen, but they can predict which areas may feel the greatest impact by producing computer models of scenario earthquakes. “There is certainly an earthquake hazard component to this project,” Persaud said. “An estimate of the hazard of an earthquake is related to how much strong ground shaking is going to occur. So, if you have an area of soft sediments, this area is going to shake more than those areas overlying hard rock. Our data will help
identify particular areas and this information will help to improve hazard estimates.” Shake maps are real-time maps of ground motion and shaking intensity after significant earthquakes. Federal, state and local organizations use these maps for post-earthquake response and recovery and for disaster planning. The next phase of the SSIP will include an analysis of the data collected to the north in the Coachella Valley. “We know for sure that when the San Andreas fault produces another major earthquake that the Coachella Valley will receive pronounced shaking because it is just north of where the San Andreas is predicted to rupture,” Persaud said.
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COLLEGE OF SCIENCE Celebrates LSU 100 Honorees BY ALLISON MCCOLLISTER
Julio Rios III
LSU100 honoree Marco Moran with Mike at the 2016 Dean’s Circle Dinner
ach year, LSU recognizes the entrepreneurial success of former students representing a variety of fields and professions. This year the College of Science is extremely proud to have five former students honored among the top 100 fastest growing LSU owned or led businesses in the world. Honorees from the College of
Science include Thomas Lacombe, Marco Moran, Bin Yiu, Gus Murillo and Julio Rios.
THOMAS LACOMBE is the president of GlobalSpeak Translations in Houston, Texas. The company specializes in interpretive consulting, localization and translator/interpreter services in assisting its clients in effectively expanding their services and product lines in multiple language arenas. Lacombe, a 1982 geology graduate, was extremely proud to be recognized during the LSU 100 celebration. “My LSU diploma is like a family photo. It’s priceless,” Lacombe said. “It’s an ecstatic feeling of accomplishment to know that what you’ve done with your education is finally recognized.” Lacombe is the first in his family to graduate from college, so graduation was not only a personal accomplishment, but an achievement for his entire family. He credits LSU and the College of Science for giving him the tools to be successful through out his career in geology and as an entrepreneur. His advice for students looking to run their own businesses is to live in the present. “Don’t look at yesterday and don’t look at tomorrow. Look at what life can give you right now. Right now you are on a tight rope and for entrepreneurs there is no net. You choose not to have a net and that’s what is so exciting,” Lacombe said. “Fear is a diminishing feeling. Make a decision to be bold and move forward and be ready to learn.” MARCO MORAN is the CEO, president, chief financial officer and chief accounting officer of DSD Network of America Inc. and the CEO of Dewmar International BMC, Inc. Dewmar International BMC Inc. provides consumer brands to global markets. “It is a great honor to be recognized for my many years of hard work to grow a company that is in a very competitive industry,” Moran said. “Many times, it takes an entrepreneur about five to 10 years to prove himself good enough to yield significant results. Dewmar International has met the LSU 100 criteria for three of the last four years, which shows continued growth,” Moran said. Moran attended LSU and is a member of the College of Science Dean’s Circle.
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Moran thoroughly enjoyed his time at LSU and remembers one of his favorite memories as pledging his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Moran said that his fraternity brothers always encouraged each other to improve both professionally and personally. He still goes back to campus once a year to fraternize and reminisce. For students looking to own their own business, Moran believes a mentor is key to success. “You don't always have to agree with them, especially if you are dealing with new technologies, but an experienced person should have a plethora of business life experiences to share that would prevent you from making the same mistakes they may have made,” Moran said. He added that budding entrepreneurs should preserve their working capital. “Be slow to spend money, slow to hire new employees and quick to fire those who do not show proper value to help the company achieve its goals.”
Other honorees from the College of Science were: GUS MURILLO is a 2014 biological sciences graduate, and president and chief operating officer of Big Fish Productions. Big Fish creates presentations and works with businesses and teams to improve their presentation skills. BIN YIU is founder and CEO of HitLights, one of the top vendors of LED lights on Amazon.com. JULIO RIOS III is president and CEO of Bridger Logistics, an integrated crude oil midstream company in Dallas Texas and vice president of Ferrellgas. Rios was awarded LSU 100’s Summit Award, which recognizes the company that generates the highest revenue amount during the year. Rios graduated with a microbiology degree and attended LSU’s Law School. For more information about LSU 100, please visit lsu100.com.
A L U M N I & D E V E LO P M E N T
PAYING IT FORWARD LSU Alumnus DR. CHARLES M. SMITH BY DAWN JENKINS
hysician, veteran, community leader, and philanthropist—these are just a few of the hats worn by LSU alumnus Dr. Charles M. Smith.
With a career that has spanned more that six decades, Dr. Smith has witnessed the “Golden Era” of medicine in the 40’s and 50’s, the end of the Korean war, and the evolution of modern-day medicine with tech savvy physicians and a more knowledgeable patient base due to the advent of web-based medical information.
The life of a 21st century doctor is a stark contrast to that of a physician in the 1950’s. Dr. Smith received his MD in 1955 from the LSU Medical School in New Orleans after earning a bachelor’s degree from LSU in 1951. “In my day you had a family doctor who did many things in the practice of medicine, so we saw all manner of diseases. We didn’t have ER doctors and hospitalists, Dr. Smith said. “And, our days were pretty long. You really had to love medicine to be able to practice during my time. I don’t think I ever thought of my practice as real work. I was taking care of people that needed help. It was my calling.” Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1930, Dr. Smith’s LSU experience began on the heels of the Korean War. He was among the thousands of able bodied 18-year old men required to sign up for the draft. “If you had a good college record, you could receive a two-year military deferment to finish your studies, especially if you were in premed,” Dr. Smith said. Dr. Smith spent two years in the in the US Air Force as a flight surgeon and settled in Sulphur, Louisiana, in 1959 where he opened a family medical practice that later expanded to include industrial medicine and chemical dependency. “I was grateful to have a flagship institution in my state to prepare me for medical school. There were other schools in the state that were good schools, but I knew that LSU was the best place for me,” Dr. Smith said. In 1975, Dr. Smith was elected coroner of Calcasieu Parish and held the office for more than 20 years. Highly respected as a skilled medical practitioner, he was also treasured for the kindness and care that he gave his patients and for his willingness to give back to his community and his alma mater. However, it was seeing the damage caused by the improper use of radiation therapy and a rather dire medical diagnosis that helped inspire Dr. Smith’s philanthropy to LSU. “In the 50’s and 60’s we would see patients with all types of diseases at varying stages and there were many times that I would see people with radiation damage. Some instances were so horrible that the radiation treatment was worse than the disease. Then, I was diagnosed with a rare
tumor that I feel was cured after a combination of radiation treatment and surgery,” Dr. Smith said. “I was so grateful for this outcome because my prognosis was very poor. It was my impression that radiation oncology prolonged my life and I saw that there was a need for this program at LSU.” With this in mind, Dr. Smith, together with the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, established the first endowed chair in medical physics at LSU in 2006. Through this partnership and matching funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund, a $1 million chair was created in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at LSU. The Dr. Charles M. Smith Chair of Medical Physics played a key role in the program achieving accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs Inc. “This program is helping provide vital medical solutions to people in Louisiana. I thought this gift was ideal and so far, the program has been very successful,” Dr. Smith said. “With such great support, there is no limit to the future of the medical physics program at LSU.” Currently, Wayne Newhauser, director of LSU’s medical physics program, holds the Smith Chair of Medical Physics. In this role, Newhauser has helped launch new innovations in medical radiation oncology incorporating 3D printing and modeling for more targeted treatment and care. “I’ve had an opportunity to see such wonderful advancements in medicine and in the growth of the university and its programs. It has been a joy to witness LSU’s progress,” Dr. Smith said. Over the last 60 years, Dr. Smith has been a consistent supporter of the LSU College of Science and a consummate advocate for giving to LSU. He is a charter member of the college’s Dean’s Circle and has served on the Dean’s Circle Executive Committee. He is also a member of the LSU Foundation’s Laureate Society and LSU’s 1860 Society. In recognition of his dedication to the College of Science, Dr. Smith was inducted into the college’s Hall of Distinction in 2009 and was recently inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction. “Today, publicly funded universities like LSU are having to overcome fiscal challenges to educate students from modest backgrounds like mine. The constant cuts to the budget are making it more difficult for LSU to meet its purpose, which is to educate the citizens of Louisiana. Knowing these challenges, I am grateful and excited to give back to the school that has given so much to me,” Dr. Smith said.
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BENJAMIN’S WORLD Boussert Family Commissions Stained Glass Window in Honor of LSU Alumnus BENJAMIN BOUSSERT
n Friday, September 23rd, the LSU Department of Chemistry hosted the Benjamin Pierre Boussert Lecture and
window unveiling in remembrance of Benjamin Boussert, a 1999 LSU University Medalist who graduated with degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering. Boussert conducted four years of research under the tutelage of Robin McCarley, Barbara Womack LSU Alumni Professor. His interest in nanoscience and sensing technologies led him to the University of California at Berkeley where he worked toward a PhD in physical chemistry with Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering Paul Alivisatos. Months before he was to defend his dissertation, Benjamin and two friends, Jason Choy and Giulia Adesso, were tragically killed in an automobile accident.
The Boussert lecture was delivered by Delia Milliron, associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and a Fellow of the Henry Beckman Professorship. Milliron and Boussert were graduate students together in the Alivisatos Laboratory at UC Berkeley. The lecture was followed by a reception and unveiling of a new gift to the Department of Chemistry from the Boussert Family, a stained glass window by renowned local artist Mary Ann Caffery. The work, named “Benjamin’s World,” is located
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Left to right: Benjamin’s parents, Anne and Christian LSU Chemistry Professor Robin McCarley; Benjamin’s aunt, Gayle Smitherman; University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Delia Milliron; and Baton Rouge artist Mary Ann Caffery Photo by: Vicki Thornton, LSU Department of Chemistry
in the Benjamin P. Boussert Conference Room on the first level of the LSU Chemistry & Materials Building. Family, friends and colleagues have established a scholarship to honor Benjamin’s memory and legacy at LSU. His parents, Anne and Christian Boussert, and his brother and sister-in-law, Joel and Kelly Boussert, have also created an endowment at LSU to support the Dr. Benjamin Boussert Lecture Series for Chemistry. LSU is grateful for the positive impact Benjamin has had on the lives of others and to his family and friends for honoring him through gifts to LSU.
The LSU College of Science and the Department of Chemistry are grateful to the Boussert Family for their unwavering support. Benjamin’s memory will live perpetually through their generosity and this beautiful memorial.” – Carol Taylor Chair, LSU Department of Chemistry
A L U M N I & D E V E LO P M E N T
DONORS THE LSU COLLEGE OF SCIENCE is fortunate to have alumni and friends who are committed to investing in the future of science education and research at LSU. Thank you for giving to the LSU College of Science. The names listed reflect donations given to the LSU College of Science, or one of its departments, through the LSU Foundation from January 1 to December 31, 2015.
ORGANIZATIONS $50,000 AND ABOVE Chevron Coypu Foundation Trust Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Northrop Grumman
$20,000 TO $49,999 Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation Bella Bowman Foundation Corning Incorporated Hubert Charitable Foundation Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Shell Oil Company
$5,000 TO $19, 999 American Chemical Society Decimal LSU Alumni Association The Jack Webster Grigsby Foundation Tiger Athletic Foundation
$1,000 TO $4,999 Albemarle Foundation Ameriprise Financial Exxon Mobil Corporation
UP TO $99 East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers Hageman Family Foundation Hess Corporation JustGive Louisiana Federation of Teachers Mirion Technologies Mobius Medical Systems, LP Mu Alpha Theta PhotoAssist Inc.
INDIVIDUALS $50,000 AND ABOVE Mary Lou Applewhite Billy & Ann Harrison Ken & Janet Hogstrom Ron & Mary Neal
$25,000 TO $49,999 Patricia & Eric Bodin Christian & Anne Boussert Scott & Susan Brodie Catherine Fox James & Linda Painter James & Joan Wharton
$10,000 TO $24,999 Byrd & Alice Ball David J. Clark Neil & Arlene Kestner Carole & Charles Lamar III Fred & Misty Meendsen James & Carol Patton Arthur & Julia Saller Armour C. Winslow
$2,500 TO $9,999 Stephen & Janet Abernathy James & Debra Anderson Charles & Mary Belleau Caroline A. Broderick Clarence & Ann Cazalot Deborah A. DeBram William Doerrler, Jr. & Karen Boyter Richard & Seola Edwards Charles & Arleen Goldberg Beverly Greenwell Gary S. Grest Trula & James Gross Robert & Paula Herman Michael J. Hogstrom Dana & Barbara Hutchison Ronnie Johnson & Candace Hays Sheldon & Judi Johnson Richard & Susan Lipsey Barbara Lowery-Yilmaz & Recep Yilmaz Betsey Mellor Sally M. Murray Stuart & Kim Oden Edward Picou & Dan Armstrong Ward & Betty Plummer Bill & Gail Pryor Judith A. Schiebout Bill & Versa Stickle Mel & Diane Triay Stuart R. Wilson
$1,000 TO $2,499 Halvor & Peggy Aaslestad Bruce & Alicia Adams Ronald & Denise Alvarez Larry & Alice Arthur Frank & Dianne Auer Jeremy Bariola & Ellen Lu Peggy A. Battalora Dennis & Doris Bauer Barry & Shelley Beck George Belchic, Jr.
Charles & Jo Black Meredith Blackwell Daniel J. Bonnet George & Debbie Boudreaux Joel Boussert & Kelly Eaton Wesley Brockhoeft & Renee Favret Brad & Julie Broussard Stephen & Catherine Brown Jon & Jonell Brubaker Robb & Tiffanie Brumfield Latoya Bullard-Franklin & Marcus Franklin Peter & Alice Burland Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh Frank & Penni Cartledge Charles & Cynthia Chappuis Michael & Julie Cherry Keith & Cecilia Comeaux Scott & Laurie Comegys William & Janet Daly Gaston & Mimi Daumy Gregg & Hyacinth DeMar Kevin J. Dileo Charles & Sonya Dubois Gary Ewing & Sophit Lee Guillermo Ferreyra & Sara Cattaneo Nathan & Kate Freeman Koren S. Gaudette Robert & Paula Gerdes John R. Gilmore Darrin & Felicia Gipson Gabriela Gonzรกlez & Jorge Pullin Ann & Bennie Good Linda A. Goodrum Bill Hamilton Marshall & Marie Harper Tom & Brenda Harrington Frank & Patricia Harrison George & Deborah Harrison Dicky & Judy Haydel George & Mary Helmer Stewart & Lauren Henry Robert & Joanne Holladay Sarah & Kenneth Homann Wayne & Lynn Homza Kai Huang David G. Huckaby Shima Ito Charles & Elise Kaufman Stella Kim & Andrew Lee Terren D. Klein Donald & Kay Kniffen Rajat Kudchadker
Rich & Helene Kurtz James & Neilanne Lange Blaine & Crystal Lourd Bing-Hao Luo Duncan & Sandy MacKenzie Michael & Barbara MacRoberts Harry D. Martin Andrew & Anne Maverick Kathleen M. McManus Donald & Mary Megison Lawrence & Linda Messina Jason & Jill Miller Michael & Pamela Mills Laura & Jay Moffitt Terrance & Susan Murphy Ruby R. Neely Amberly & Charles Nunez Rodney & Pamela Ott James & Judith Oxley Larry & Joan Page Brad & Susan Patt Cynthia & Edward Peterson, Jr. Bryan & Marguerite Picou Charles & Pamela Pinckney Richard & Janet Post Frederick Rainey & Alanna Small Joseph & Kim Reid Frankie & Roger Rholdon Helen & Daniel Richards Roland & Susan Samson John & Toni Sardisco Felix & Amy Savoie Mary K. Sawyer & William Manns George J. Schiro Jr. Carl & Lyn Schmulen Erik & Angela Scott Faye H. Seaberg Fred Sheldon & Jody Kennard Harold & Edna Silverman Sara L. Simmonds Wayne & Anne Simpson Jeffrey & Shelly Sketchler Gwen B. Smalley Brian & Marilyn Smith Charles M. Smith Stacy & Kelly Smith Esther Socolofsky George & Karin Sonnier Kurt & Robin Stratmann Karen Adler Storthz * & Joe Storthz Marvin Stuckey * Erich & Shannon Sturgis Joseph H. Storthz
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Carol Wicks & Butler Stringfield John & Kathleen Susko Lun Tan & Rong Huang Tom & Judy Taylor William C. Taylor Estes & Brenda Thomas Jim Traynham & Gresdna Doty Gregory & Margaret Trahan Terry N. Trobec Robert & Ellise Turner John & Cindy Tyler Hatcher H. Tynes Kathy Vail Brent & Louise Videau Cecilia Villasenor-Johnson James & Janet Walker Mac & Anne Wallace Kevin & Alyson Ward Earl H. Weidner Christopher & Christina Welch Jasper & Jane Ann Welch William & Cornelia Weldon Leslie L. Wells John & Elizabeth Whitley Lawrence E. Wilkinson James K. Williams Danny & Kay Williamson J. M. & Leah Wilson Winnie K. Wong-Ng Jack & Anna Lea Woods Hai D. Wu Liangang & Lei Ye Janet N. Younathan Li Zhu & Weizhe Chu
$100 TO $999 Humayoun Akhter & Shahida Humayoun Peter R. Almond Pat & Jane Armstrong Michael S. Ashenafi Joseph & Jennifer Badeaux John & Nancy Bair Jerry W. Ball Charles & Mary Barreâ€™ Robert & Yvonne Bates Rodney Barlow & Patricia Fithian Thomas & Janet Baudry Eugene C. Beckham, III Horace & Barbara Belknap Philip Bellow Tara Bessard Samir & Sampa Bhattacharya Frederic & Susan Billings Bradley & Cynthia Black Steven & Noelle Blackwell Yvette Bordelon & Carlos PorteraCailliau Donald & Suzanne Boudreau John K. Boudreaux
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Elias Bou-Waked & Sybil Callaway Patrick & Susan Brazan Jay & Sheryl Breaux Beverly L. Brechner Roger & Barbara Breedlove Charles E. Brown Shawn S. Brown Phillip & Andrea Bruner Paul & Karen Buras Jeffrey M. Burford Jeffry & Zona Burk Diane & Edmund Burnett Kevin J. Burns Randal C. Caffarel Joseph * & Sharey Caire Daniel & Michelle Callegan Angelo & Gretchen Capparella Dan & Mary Carleton Jim & Gail Cather Jr Roberta G. Carlisle Robert L. Carver Sylvia S. Centanni Kelvin Y. Chang Alan & Marjorie Cheetham Benni G. Coates Hans Coll Heron & Sarah Collins James & Michelle Collins Leon & Carol Combs Frank & Karen Connor Frank & Diann Cornish Martha L. Council Gretchen S. Crawford John E. Crumpler Kermit & Dorothy Cummings Joseph & Leola Dâ€™Anna Glen L. Daigre James & Dorothy Dake Robert & Barbara Danos Frank & Ellen Daspit Terry R. Davis William & Peggy Davis Milton B. Day Ronald J. Deck Richard & Dawn M. Denne Patrick & Carmen Dessauer William J. Donnaway, Jr. Ronald & Barbara Douglas Joseph & Anna Dugas James D. Dunn Mary D. Dunnell Allen & Deborah Dupre Marc Dupuy, Jr. Susan M. Eaton William Eberhard & Mary WestEberhard Paul & Violet Ebert Jerry & Linda Edwards Michael & Rosemarie Eger Susan A. Epps
John E. Erffmeyer Brant C. Faircloth Kyle & Catherine Farrar Russell B. Faucett Sid & Jennifer Felps Sue & Donald Field Joseph E. Fitzgibbon William & Avril Font Christopher P. Fontenot Robert & Mary Fontenot Samuel R. Ford Juhan Frank John Z. French Loganayaki Ganesh Al & Kathryn Gardner Robert A. George Keith Gibson & Elise Allen Bill & MaryAnn Girard Paul & Deborah Godwin Joseph W. Goerner Eugene & Ginger Gomes Stewart & Clarice Gordon Clint B. Griffin George & Martha Grammer Eric & Lindsay Guerin Joseph D. Guillory, Jr. Rathnayaka M. Gunasingha James Guyton & Sharon Westbrook Marcella W. Hackney Mark & Darcey Hafner Brian Hales & Catherine Coates Edward & Amanda Haluska Diane & Ernest Hamilton Gerald V. Hannan John & Elizabeth Hardy Carolyn H. Hargrave David E. Hargroder Kyle Harms & Jessica Eberhard Robert & Mary Harper James & Dawn Harris Fareed T. Hawwa James Hebert & Christin Lott Robert & Barbara Helmkamp Peter & Diana Hews Curtis & Carolyn Holmes Joseph V. Huff Jay & Judith Huner Brett A. Hutchinson Albert & Neil Hyman Phyllis R. Isler Greg & Debra Jackson Frank & Darlene Janca Frances A. Janney Ann & Herman Jarobe Arthur & Susan Joerger Erik & Kate Johnson Marcus & Ann Johnson Elizabeth R. Jones Marilyn & Kenneth Jones Thomas G. Jones, III
Ruby E. Kassanoff David & Jeri Kelly Jerome & Holly Keister Edward & Nancy Khoury Kent & Cheryl Kirchner Kenneth & Sandra Kneipp Tedrick & LaTrice Knightshead William & Mary Koederitz Daniel K. Kurica Brian R. Kurtz Paul Lawless & Erin Riley Art & Lillian Leblanc Theodore & Lea Ann Lieux James J. LaNasa, Jr. James & Lucinda Lea Jim & Kathryn Lee Hung-Ming J. Liaw Joseph & Agnes Lamendola David Longstreth & Sue Barlett Chad & Michelle Loup Tiansheng S. Lu Michael & Judith Madden Charmaine B. Mamantov Jonathan & Emily Marcantel Ann Marie Marmande James E. Marler David Martin & Shelley Starr Keith & Stephanie Martin Mary L. Martin William & Marilyn Martin Phillip & Janet Marzloff Ralph & Martha Maxwell William & Renee McAlister Kenneth & Virginia McClain Mollie McCune Donald & Antoinette McGarey Steve & Susan McInnis Archie & Geraldine McIntyre Brad & Kay McPherson Keith & Susan Melancon James R. Menard Robert C. Menezes Jr. Dixon & Rosalind Millican Myriam L. Mills Andrew & Jeanette Mitts Abdul & Monsurat Mohammed Tommy & Ann Mook Clyde H. Moore Jr. Robert Moore & Mary Walder Jim & Robin Morel Jim & Patricia Moroney Michael & Kathleen Morin Douglass & Elizabeth Morse Virginia L. Mouw James P. Murphy David Muth & Wendy Boldizar Daniel Neck & Angela Stam Frank & Kristy Neubrander Jim & Karen Nickerson Edward P. Nixon
A L U M N I & D E V E LO P M E N T Charles & Nicole Noble Heber R. Norckauer, Jr. Hugh W. Oliver Judith L. O’Neale John O’Neill & Leticia Alamia Herman & Connie Orgeron Geraldine F. Orr Shangli Ou Stephen L. Pagans Timothy J. Pardue Jim & Janet Parks Bernard & Gaynell Patty Harry & Virginia Pence Henry & Jennifer Peltier John & Christine Pleshinger Roland D. Pool Daniel M. Potrepka Dale & Susan Poulter Eric J. Pourciau Michael Price Larry & Anne Raymond James & Lea Reeves John & Ann Rives Lannis & Diane Roberts Clay & Karla Robertson John Vincent Y. Rubin Ann & George Robichaux Sharon C. Rossman Kenneth & Fay Roussel Stephen M. Russell William & Diana Sanderson Carl T. Sanchez Ashley Saucier & John Koban Jacob Saucier Kanthimathi Sathasivan Beverly S. Schalon James & Carol Schnabel John & Sylvia Schneller III Thomas & Minh Tho Schulenberg Steven & Lynn Seeholzer Michael & Nancy Shellnutt Frederick Sheldon & Ann Twomey Terence & Kristine Sillett Joel & Marla Silverberg Gregory & Johannah Siragusa Thomas & Linda Sparks Lawrence & Peggy Stanley Paul & Eileen Stanley Merlin & Charlotte Stansbury Ionel Stetcu
Kenneth & Desiree St. Romain Daniel & Bridget Strecker Michael & Julia Svoren Erick M. Swenson Maureen L. Swisher Robert T. Sylvest Amanda L. Talbot Scott & Linda Terrill Richard & Elizabeth Thomason William H. Thomason Mack & Constance Thompson Jeffrey & Alice Trahan Erik A. Trosclair Emanuel A. Waddell Philip L. Waterworth Adam & Carly Whatley Charles & Holly White James K. Williams Duane & Joanne Wolcott Rebecca J. Wolhart
UP TO $99 Joan C. Alford Ann Anderson Aida & Sidney Anderson David L. Anderson Nancy Badagliacca Bill & Virginia Baltosser Andrea D. Barfield Robert A. Barnes Edgar & Mary Belsom Homer & Dianne Black Nancy & William Boddie Richard & Tam Bourgeois Harold & Priscilla Breaux Cecil & Elizabeth Brooking William & Joan Brown James W. Calvert Joseph & June Cannizzaro Katherine A. Carlisle Pranab & Marian Choudhury Cynthia L. Coco Eugene & Charlotta Crisafulli Robert & Laurina Conger Kim L. Cupples Anupam & Kasturi Dasgupta Mark G. Davidson Christopher P. Davis James L. Decker Margaret Deitrich & Donald Bowen William B. DeJean
Terry J. Delord John P. D’Hemecourt Jr. Mary L. Eggart John & Susan Exnicios Doris Falkenheiner Albert & Marcia Fivizzani Stacey W. Feken Peter & Alice Fogg Anna Forsberg Ann T. Forster Yolanda M. Fusilier Colin Gaskell James H. Gillespie Jr. Marvin & Margaret Gongre Gerald & Ann Gonzales John & Emily Grezaffi Kurt & Wendy Gust Francis & Barbara Guglielmo Kenneth Harris Robert & Anne Headrick E. Heydari-Laibidi & Shahrzad Aseel Sharon L. Hoffeld Charles & Ruth Horne Shan Jiang Shelley & Scott Johnson Lainie & Jacob Jorns Ted & Lisa Kemp Eugene Kennedy & Zakiya WilsonKennedy Ralph & Melanie Kenning Karrie & Kerry Kilgore Richard C. Kline Robert J. Kramer Cliffe & Hazel Laborde Tak S. Lam Patricia P. Lanier Maverick J. LeBlanc Richard & Elaine LeBlanc James & Heidi Lloyd James & Grace Lutschg Susan & Duncan MacLean Emmett H. Maddry Otto P. Majewski Jim & Mary Maley Gary & Deserae Mall Jesse R. Mangham II Rebecca & Robert McCandless Ted & Catherine McVay Scott & Lilia Moncrieff Richard J. Montgomery Joseph A. Moreland
Daniel E. Mulligan Buford M. Myers III Nancy & Paul Newfield Dale F. Osborne Jessica A. Oswald Dave Patton Paul Perkowski & Cheryl Braud Tulio & Lilia Peverini Allen & Elizabeth Phillips Harriett Pooler David & Katherine Porter Ravi Rau & Dominique Homberger Bert & Suellen Riemenschneider Kent & Karen Rhodes Leonard & Joan Richardson James & Krista Roche Benjamin & Elizabeth Russell Donna E. Salzman Virginia & Carroll Sanders Michael & Pamela Schonefeld Shakil B. Shafique Benjamin & Faye Schubert John & Lisa Simpson Charles & Gloria Slocum Beverly C. Smiley Thomas & Joan Smith David W. Steadman Lloyd & Pamela Stoessell Frederick & Cheryl Stromeyer Troye & Olga Svendson Jay C. Svoboda Clarence & Penny Teagle Jameycia M. Teno Alison G. Thompson Robert & Betty Toups Linda & John Upton Magdalena Usategui Ravii & Punitha Vallalar Udayabharathi Vallalar Michael D. Vincent John & Alice Wade Patricia G. Watermeier Amanda M. Weir Barbara J. Westbrook David & Melissa Wiedenfeld Duane J. Williams Charles R. Wilson Frances Winfrey Christopher & Satya Witt
MAXIMIZE YOUR GIVING POTENTIAL Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match charitable contributions made by their employees. To find out if your company has a matching gift policy, contact its human resources department or visit www.matchinggift.com/lsu/ and type in your company's name. Retired employees' spouses may also be eligibile for matching programs. THE PURSUIT 2017 | 37
THE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE 1860 SOCIETY recognizes alumni and friends who have made a planned gift to the college that will enrich the college with resources in the future. For more information on the 1860 Society and other planned giving opportunities, go to lsu.giftlegacy.com.
1860 SOCIETY Halvor Aaslestad Mary Lou Applewhite Bess Black Lodwrick Cook Kenneth Corkum Deborah DeBram
Eileen Skelly Frame & George Frame Michael Griffith Neil & Arlene Kestner Virginia Mouw Judith O’Neale James Painter
James & Ann Peltier Edward Picou Jr. James W. Robinson Sr. John & Mrs. Toni Sardisco Charles Smith James Stewart
Marvin Stuckey Eugene St. Martin Mary Tobin Harry Wilson Janet Younathan
Since 2007, members of the DEAN’S CIRCLE have provided the working capital needed to fund many pursuits of the College, including student organizations and educational travel expenses, faculty recruitment and recognition activities, and development initiatives to build alumni and community relations. To learn more about the College of Science Dean’s Circle, e-mail email@example.com.
DEAN’S CIRCLE MEMBERS Hal & Peggy Aaslestad Samuel & Camille Abshire Bruce & Alicia Adams Ronnie & Denise Alvarez Mary Lou Applewhite * Larry & Alice Arthur Byrd & Alice Ball Jeremy & Lu Ellen Bariola Peggy Battalora Dennis & Doris Bauer Charles & Mary Belleau Allen & Susan Berlin Charles & Jo Black Meredith Blackwell Noelle & Steven Blackwell Pat Hewlett Bodin & Eric Bodin Daniel Bonnet George & Debbie Boudreaux Scott & Susan Brodie Brad Broussard Stephen & Catherine Brown * Jon & Jonell Brubaker Robb & Tiffanie Brumfield Peter & Alice Burland Diane Burnett Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh Frank & Penni Cartledge Elwyn & Ollie Cavin Clarence & Ann Cazalot * Charles Chappuis Jr. Mike & Julie Cherry Purnell & Joan Choppin * Carlo & Beverly Christina * Keith & Cecilia Comeaux Scott Comegys Jeanette Coon Bill & Janet Daly Gaston & Mimi Daumy
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Gregg & Hyacinth DeMar * Charles & Sonya Dubois Dick & Cece Edwards Keith & Karen Evans Guillermo Ferreyra & Sara Cattaneo Kate & Nathan Freeman L. J. & Chee Chee Gielen John Gilmore Darrin & Felicia Gipson Arleen & Charles Goldberg Linda Goodrum William Goodwin Beverly Greenwell * Robert Grissom Trula & James Gross Eric & Lindsay Guerin Bill & Mary Helen Hamilton * Marshall & Marie Harper Tom & Brenda Harrington Frank & Patricia Harrison * Billy & Ann Harrison George & Deborah Harrison John & Terri Havens Dicky & Judy Haydel * George & Mary Helmer Stewart & Lauren Henry * Robert Herman Ken & Janet Hogstrom Robert & Joanne Holladay * Michelle & B. B. Holoubek Sarah & Kenneth Homann Wayne & Lynn Homza Keith & Pamela Jordan Bryan & Kerri Lynn Kansas Charles & Elise Kaufman Neil & Arlene Kestner Terren & Maria Klein Brian Kurtz
* Charter member Rich & Helene Kurtz Arlo & Eunice Landolt Jim & Neilanne Lange Terry & Cheryl Latiolais John & Diane Leglue Rowdy & Donna Lemoine Barbara Lowery-Yilmaz & Recep Yilmaz Gordon Marshall Harry Martin Andrew & Anne Maverick Kathleen McManus Robert & Judith McNew Fred & Misty Meendsen Donald & Shannon Megison Lawrence & Linda Messina Jason & Jill Miller Laura & Jay Moffitt Marco Moran James Murphy Terrance & Susan Murphy Ron & Mary Neal * Wayne & Heike Newhauser Edward Nixon Amberly & Charles Nunez Stuart & Kim Oden Beverly Ogden & Bayne Dickinson Rodney & Pamela Ott James & Linda Painter * Robert & Susan Perlis Cynthia & Edward Peterson Ed Picou & Dan Armstrong * Charles & Pamela Pinckney Kelly & Joey Poret Jorge Pullin & Gabriela Gonzalez John Reeves Joseph & Kim Reid Frankie & Roger Rholdon Xiulu Ruan *
Roland & Susan Samson John & Toni Sardisco Felix & Amy Savoie Carl & Lyn Schmulen Erik & Angela Scott Fred Sheldon & Jody Kennard Harold & Edna Silverman Wayne & Anne Simpson Jeffrey & Shelly Sketchler Charles Smith * Esther Socolofsky George & Karin Sonnier William & Versa Stickle Karen Adler Storthz & Joseph Storthz Marvin Stuckey Erich & Shannan Sturgis Estes & Brenda Thomas Jim Traynham & Gresdna Doty * Mel & Diane Triay * Patrick & Renee Tullier Robert & Ellise Turner John & Cynthia Tyler Brent & Louise Videau Mac & Ann Wallace Jan Wampold Earl Weidner Jasper & Jane Welch Keith & Katie White Carol Wicks & Butler Stringfield Danny & Kay Williamson * Armour Winslow Chris & Gay Winters Bill & Sheri Wischusen Winnie Wong-Ng & Larry Cook Jack & Anna Lea Woods Liangang & Lei Ye Edward & Jo Zganjar Richard Zingula
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE by the numbers FALL 2016
UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES CONFERRED 560 547
249 TENURE TRACK
OUR STUDENTS: ENROLLMENT
05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15 15-16
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS BY ETHNICITY 1% 3%
U N D E R G R A D U AT E 1447
G R A D U AT E 507
Two or more races Nonresident Alien 0% Unknown
0% American Indian/Alaskan
0% Native Hawaiian
FACULTY BY DEPARTMENT
PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
GEOLOGY & GEOPHYSICS
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COLLEGE OF SCIENCE BY THE NUMBERS DEANâ€™S CIRCLE ACTIVE MEMBERS (As of 3.14.2017) 180 170
160 150 140
130 120 110 100 90
80 70 60 58
30 20 10 0
UNRESTRICTED FUNDS (As of 10.14.2016) Unrestricted donations are used as working capital to initiate new programs, to provide flexibility in meeting student and faculty needs, and to support initiatives to build alumni and community relationships. These funds also support student travel to conferences and research sites, student organizations, or support the hiring and retention of outstanding faculty. $500,000
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MISSION S TAT E M E N T
The LSU College of Science provides the highest quality education and programs to create and disseminate knowledge through scientific research and discovery. Through fulfillment of this mission, all LSU students become scientifically literate citizens. College of Science graduates pursue successful careers in science and related disciplines using the critical thinking, communication, research and analytical skills honed in the College of Science to make a meaningful impact on our world. Our commitment is to be the primary scientific intellectual resource for Louisiana and the nation, to promote scientific literacy and to foster economic development by putting scientific knowledge into practice.
S TAT E M E N T The vision of the College of Science is to be an international leader in scientific research and instruction, elevating LSU to the highest level of excellence among major research universities in the United States and the world.
PHILANTHROPY S TAT E M E N T
Our vision is a sustainable future for the LSU College of Science that will ensure the longevity and success of future generations of scientists. Our mission is to foster a culture of philanthropy that engages stakeholders and inspires meaningful investments in scientific education, innovation and research.
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Louisiana State University 124 Hatcher Hall | Baton Rouge, LA 70803
JOIN THE DEANâ€™S CIRCLE The Dean's Circle (DC) is a loyal group of alumni and friends who share a passion for advancing scholarship and research at LSU. Our DC provides the working capital needed to fund pursuits of the College, including scholarships for first-year students, student organizations and educational travel expenses, faculty recruitment and recognition activities, and development initiatives that build alumni and community relations. DC membership recognizes the generosity of alumni and friends who make annual gifts of $1,000 or more to the Science Development Fund. For a gift of $250, alumni who have graduated within the last ten years are also eligible for DC membership. Members enjoy invitations to the annual Dean's Circle dinner and other events throughout the year.
TO JOIN BY MAIL make your check payable to "LSU Foundation-Science Dean's Circle" and mail your check to: LSU Foundation, 3796 Nicholson Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
TO DONATE ONLINE go to lsufoundation.org/givetoscience
In this edition of The Pursuit, we highlight the outstanding work of the members of our college community. Learn about our successful track...
Published on Aug 5, 2017
In this edition of The Pursuit, we highlight the outstanding work of the members of our college community. Learn about our successful track...