The PURSUIT 2012

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Official Magazine of the LSU College of Science


c h o l a r s h i p



e s e a r c h



n n o v a t i o n



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Innovation Student Researchers Blazing the Paths to Tomorrow’s Innovation


Science @ LSU

• Top notch academic programs at a top-tier university • Outstanding faculty • Research opportunities with some of the world’s most accomplished researchers • Preparation for rewarding careers in medicine, education, industry, and research

The LSU College of Science offers students top quality education through classroom and laboratory instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College has a variety of scientific disciplines supported by a community of outstanding and well-funded faculty and staff who are committed to providing an enriching and meaningful educational experience. The College consists of five academic departments: • Biological sciences • Chemistry • Geology & Geophysics

• Mathematics • Physics & Astronomy

and the Museum of Natural Science. For more information about the LSU College of Science, email

Giving Priorities

The pursuit of academic achievement in the sciences is an LSU tradition, and our alumni and friends play a key role in upholding the College’s legacy of excellence. Be a part of our Formula for Excellence by making science education at LSU one of your philanthropic priorities. One hundred percent of gifts made through the LSU Foundation are designated for the sole benefit of the College and its departments. Our priorities center on providing the best opportunities for our faculty and students. • • • • • •

Dean’s Circle Membership Geaux Teach! Science Boot Camps Science Honors Scholarships Science Residential College Undergraduate and graduate student support

For more information on these priorities and how to make a donation, please contact: Ann Marie Marmande ( or Eric Guerin (



On the

Kevin R. Carman, dean Richard Kurtz, associate dean John Lynn, associate dean Frank Neubrander, associate dean Martha Cedotal, sr. assistant dean Sara Marchiafava, sr. assistant dean



The LSU College of Science is home to some of the nation’s top science majors. Not only are these students among the University’s best, but they are also contributors to the research engine that fuels a steady stream of significant scientific discoveries. The College strongly encourages its students to pursue undergraduate research experiences. These experiences give students the skills and rescources needed to be successful in science disciplines. In this issue of The Pursuit you will learn more about some of the College’s outstanding student researchers.


Editor Dawn Jenkins Contributors Ashley Berthelot Leeann Borne Laura Gedicke Emilia Gilbert Eric P. Guerin Zac Lemoine Ann Marie Marmande Frances Watson Photography April Buffington Rachel Saltzberg Eddie Perez Jim Zietz Dean’s Circle Executive Committee Halvor G. Aaslestad Mary Lou Applewhite Patricia Hewlett Bodin George L. Boudreaux Brad A. Broussard Peter D. Burland Gregg A. DeMar Michelle K. Holoubek Bryan T. Kansas Arlo Landolt James V. Lange Terry J. Latiolais Mary E. Neal Stuart L. Oden Beverly W. Ogden Ashley Pagnotta Edward B. Picou Jr. Charles C. Pinckney Angela LaGrange Scott Charles M. Smith Marion D. “Soc “ Socolofsky Melvin L. Triay III John M. Tyler

Dean’s Message............................................................................. 2 College News................................................................................ 3 Cover Story.................................................................................. 11 Departmental News...................................................................... 14 Biology.................................................................................... 15 Chemistry............................................................................... 16 Geology & Geophysics............................................................ 17 Mathematics............................................................................ 18 Physics.................................................................................... 19 Museum of Natural Science.................................................... 20 Alumni & Development News..................................................... 21






Mission Statement

The mission of the College of Science is to provide the highest quality educational programs and to create and disseminate new knowledge through scientific research. Through fulfillment of this mission, our students become scientifically literate citizens and our graduates have the opportunity to pursue successful careers in science and related disciplines. We are committed to being the primary scientific intellectual resource for Louisiana and a leader in the nation, promoting economic development by the transfer of scientific knowledge into practice. 1

The Pursuit 2012

Dean’s Message Dear Friends, We are faced with the enviable problem of having much more good news than we could possible cover in a single publication. Nevertheless, I hope that you will enjoy this sampling of how College of Science faculty and students are advancing our understanding of the natural world, ranging from the discovery of the world’s tiniest vertebrate to the resolution of a long-standing debate on how thermonuclear supernovae form. You will also find examples of how our scholars are on the leading edge of research that is relevant to our daily lives, including the environmental impact of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, the treatment of cancer, and potentially toxic chemicals in the air we breath. You will find examples of national and international awards that our faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students routinely receive, including recognition as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and invited participation in the Nobel Prize ceremony. I hope you will enjoy the profiles of students, faculty, and alumni; such stories are a constant source of inspiration for me and I trust they will be a source of pride for you as well. You will also find profiles of a few of our many outstanding alumni who have been and are leaders in industry, academia, and public service. These folks exemplify the significance and enduring impact of an educational experience with the LSU College of Science. Major accolades and scientific breakthroughs are ‘business as usual’ for our faculty and students but we never tire of celebrating our success! I encourage you to visit our new web site at to stay abreast of new developments in the college. Please know that your financial support and advocacy for LSU are vital to our success. Indeed, you are an integral component of our Formula for Excellence, and together I am confident that even greater things are ahead for the LSU College of Science. Sincerely,

Kevin R. Carman Dean


College of Science News

LSU Herpetologist Makes a

Big Splash with a tiny Discovery

Averaging over 7.7 millimeters in size, a tiny frog called Paedophryne amanuensis has bested its 8.8 millimeter Indonesian fish competitor for the title of World’s Tiniest Vertebrate. Christopher Austin, associate professor of biological sciences and associate curator of herpetology at LSU’s Museum of Natural Science, discovered the tiny species while leading a team of U.S. scientists, including graduate student Eric Rittmeyer, during a three-month expedition to the island of New Guinea. “It was particularly difficult to locate Paedophryne amauensis due to its diminutive size and the males’ high pitched insect-like mating call,” said Austin. “But it’s a great find. New Guinea is a hotspot of biodiversity, and everything new we discover there adds another layer to our overall understanding of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.” No stranger to discovering new species, Austin has uncovered numerous unknown species including frogs, lizards, and parasites. Christopher Austin in the herpetology collection of the LSU Museum of Natural Science

Photo by Eddie Perez, LSU University Relations

Austin’s most recent discovery is so small that it sits comfortably in the center of a U.S. dime. He notes that the

size limit of vertebrates, or creatures with backbones, is of considerable interest to biologists. “…little is understood about the functional constraints that come with extreme body size, whether large or small,” said Austin. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Austin’s research has been published in the Public Library of Science One Journal, or PLoS. His research also includes a second species of diminutive frog named Paedophryne swiftorum that is slightly larger than the Paedophryne amanuensis averaging only about 8.5 millimeters in body size. New Guinea, a part of the Melanesian chain of islands in the southwest Pacific Ocean, has been lauded as a biodiversity hotspot with a natural ecosystem that is largely intact. According to Planet Save, more than 1,000 new species were discovered on the island between 1998 and 2008. Currently, there are more than 60,000 vertebrates known to man, the largest being the blue whale with an average size of more than 25 meters or 75 feet. Prior to Austin’s discovery, there was some thought that extreme size in vertebrates might be associated with aquatic species where the size would lend to buoyancy. However, the tiny species of frogs Austin described are terrestrial, suggesting


The Pursuit 2012 that living in water is not necessary for small body size. “The ecosystems these extremely small frogs occupy are very similar, primarily inhabiting leaf litter on the floor of tropical rainforest environments,” said Austin. “We now believe that these creatures aren’t just biological oddities, but instead represent a previously undocumented ecological guild—they occupy a habitat niche that no other vertebrate does.”

Paedophryne amanuensis, the world’s tiniest vertebrate sits comfortably on a U.S. dime.

Next on Austin’s research agenda is another NSFfunded effort that will take him back to the biodiverse island of New Guinea to study the area’s unique skinks. This effort will focus on some extraordinary lizards with green blood due to high levels of the toxic bile pigment biliverdin. The adaptive significance of the lizards unusual physiology is unknown, although one hypothesis asserts that it is an anti-parasitic strategy. The goal of this research is to obtain better estimates of the diversity and relationships of lizards and their malaria parasites to more conclusively test the hypothesis.

Biology Chair One of 13 Scientists Invited to Bill & Melinda Gates Workshop LSU Biology Chair and Glenda Wooters Streva Alumni Professor James Moroney was one of 13 scientists invited to a workshop sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to share their views on how photosynthesis research may positively impact agricultural productivity. These discussions will help to educate the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development program about future projects to support increased sustainable productivity of small holder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working to bridge the gap between basic research and getting improved crops to farmers,” said Moroney. “I am very excited to have been a part of that discussion.” Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people acquire food and income from farming small plots of land and often contend with

difficult conditions like unproductive soil, drought, pests and disease. The goal of the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural LSU Biology Chair and Glenda Development Wooters Streva Alumni Professor program is to reduce James Moroney hunger and poverty for millions of poor farm families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Moroney, along with a team of nationally renown scientists, came together to discuss ways to help guide future Gates Foundation investments in photosynthesis research and to propose how such research could help small farmers improve their productivity and nutrition. The two-day workshop, entitled Exploring New Opportunities to Improve Photosynthesis, convened January 9-10 in Seattle, WA. Discussion topics included CO2 concentrating mechanisms, enhancing enzymes for carbon fixation, modeling for increased photosynthesis, reducing photorespiration, enhancing light capture efficiency, and optimizing photoprotection.

Partial owners in local farming cooperative, Francis and Juliana Mutangi in the

4Katumani, Machakos District Kenya

For more information about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agricultural strategy, go to agriculturaldevelopment/Documents/agricultural-developmentstrategy-overview.pdf.

College of Science News

LSU Astronomers Solve Long-Standing Problem of Astrophysics LSU Physics Professor Bradley Schaefer (right) and graduate student Ashley Pagnotta (below) have solved one of the age-old problems of astrophysics.

THE ORIGIN OF THERMONUCLEAR SUPERNOVA A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

This statement may remind you of the opening frame of your favorite science fiction flick, but this discovery is no fictitious 80s blockbuster. LSU Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bradley Schaefer and graduate student Ashley Pagnotta have discovered the solution to one of the longstanding fundamental problems of astrophysics: what produces thermonuclear, or Type Ia, supernovae, which are tremendous explosions where the light is often brighter than a whole galaxy? Schaefer and Pagnotta have proved that these supernovae are caused by a pair of white dwarf stars reaching a maximum mass where its carbon and oxygen constituents have a runaway explosion similar to an H-bomb. Astronomer and LSU graduate student Ashley Pagnotta

“Many possible explanations have previously been suggested, and all but one of these requires that a companion star

near to the exploding white dwarf be left behind after the explosion,” said Schaefer. “So a possible way to distinguish between the various progenitor models is to look deep in the center of an old supernova remnant to find (or not find) the companion star.” The astronomers’ solution represents the culmination of more than 40 years of worldwide study focused on this issue, often referred to as the “progenitor problem.”

The possible types of precursor system types, called progenitors, were considered to be either a pair of white dwarfs in a close binary orbit that spiral into each other due to gravitational attraction (called the double-degenerate model) or another type of binary where the ordinary companion star in orbit around the white dwarf is feeding material onto the white dwarf until it reaches the critical mass (called the single-degenerate model). For decades the debate has raged, with no decisive evidence, and currently a roughly evenly divided opinion amongst astronomers. Over the last decade, the progenitor problem has increased greatly in importance, to the point that the latest Decadal Review by the National Academy of Science ranked the question among the top nine questions facing astronomy at that time. 5

The Pursuit 2012 Schaefer and Pagnotta used images from the Hubble Space Telescope of a supernova remnant named SNR-0509-67.5 to illustrate the lack of any possible companion star to the exploding white dwarf, allowing the rejection of all possible classes of progenitors except for the close pair of white dwarfs. The research results required extensive data processing and analysis as well as detailed theory calculations before the resolution could be considered. “The logic here is the same as expressed by Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Sign of Four,’ that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth,” said Schaefer. “For SNR 0509-67.5, all but one model has been eliminated as impossible, so the one model remaining must be the truth.”

Schaefer, as a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, attended the 2011 Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. Above, Schaefer is pictured with his wife, Dr. Martha Schaefer, and 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics winner Saul Perlmutter.

Among Schaefer’s many accomplishments is a recent invitation to the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, in recognition of his contribution to research that led to the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe due to an unknown fabric of energy embedded in the fabric of space. This energy, known as “dark energy,” has been described as one of the greatest enigmas in physics today.

College of Science Appoints New Hubert Butts Professor LSU Professor of Mathematics Ambar Sengupta has joined the ranks of distinguished faculty to hold the title of Hubert Butts Alumni Departmental Professor. A faculty member in the Department of Mathematics since 1991, Sengupta has also held positions in the Department of Physics at Princeton University, the Max Planck Institute Bonn at the University of Bonn in Germany, the Indian Statistical Institute, and the École Normale Superiéure in Paris. “This well-deserved recognition honors Ambar’s longstanding commitment to providing quality education and research in mathematics,” said Kevin Carman, dean, College of Science. Sengupta earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Calcutta followed by a master of science and PhD in mathematics from Cornell University. Sengupta’s past awards include a 2011 Mercator Guest Professorship at the University of Bonn by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), or German Research Foundation. “Exploring mathematics and working with students at LSU has always been a privilege and a great pleasure for me,” said Sengupta. “ I am delighted and thankful to 6

receive this honor.” Sengupta’s current research efforts focus on mathematical questions that arise from various areas of physics. His work involves a combination Ambar Sengupta, new Hubert of geometry, Butts Alumni Departmental probability theory, Professor of Mathematics and exploring spaces of finite and infinite dimensions whose points encode geometric structures with symmetries. Sengupta’s research also examines mathematical applications in the analysis of financial markets and instruments. The Hubert Butts Alumni Departmental Professorship is named in honor of Mathematics Alumni Professor Emeriti Hubert S. Butts and is presented to mathematics professors with reputations for excellence in undergraduate instruction.

College of Science News


and Tigers

and BATS

Oh My!

Biological Sciences PhD candidate Maria Sagot debunks myths surrounding bats to discover that they are actually quite social animals and are very important to their ecosystems.

Biological Sciences Doctoral Candidate Examines Bat Behavior

Shrouded by mystery and cloaked in superstition, bats are a fascinating part of popular culture. With the allure of vampirism spawned by Dracula’s ability to transform into a bat and the creature’s nocturnal existence, bats are viewed more as a part of today’s horror culture, not scientific exploration. Biological sciences doctoral candidate, Maria Sagot and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Richard Stevens are revealing a softer side of bats by exploring the effects of ecological variables on bat social structures. The researchers’ studies have revealed some fascinating facts about bats that are helping to shrug off the misnomers and superstitions surrounding these animals. Focusing on the roosting rituals of a species of bat native to Costa Rica, Sagot has discovered that bats are not the solitary creatures people think they are. They are actually quite social, operating within family units. “Tent-roosting bats tend to work in a harem formula,” said Sagot. “Groups tend to be formed by one male and multiple females.”

In other words, bats live with one male controlling resources for multiple females, and the females and their offspring live under the care of one single harem-master. “However, when a male has to fly farther and farther away to get food, he has to leave his harem for longer periods of time, allowing other males to interlope and mate within the harem,” said Sagot. Females may also go to another male’s roost to mate.

Bats are pollinators, like bees, and seed disseminators as well, and thus ensure the health and vitality of the biological diversity of the rainforest.

The researchers thought that there may be some correlation between the duration of the refuge and the stability of the social groups of tent-roosting bats, but they found the opposite to be true. They discovered that the particular bat species that Sagot studies generally has an unstable social system when it roosts in plants with a long life span. 7

The Pursuit 2012 Therefore, bats that establish roosts in plants with a short lifespan had the strongest community bond. The bats’ natural habitat is the rainforest, but recently more and more roosts have been reported in urban areas. “They have followed the vegetation as it became integrated into the landscaping models of urban communities,” said Sagot. Adding a new aspect to the research, Sagot moved from the usual exotic locations with minimal shelter into urban communities where bats were found nesting in exotic coconut palms in the backyards of bustling neighborhoods. “We went from backyard to backyard, asking people if we could check for bat roosts in their coconut palms,” said Sagot. “It was a very interesting experience to watch people as they learned more. At first, people wanted to cut down their palms because they were scared of the bats. But later, as we returned, people grew more excited about the bats in their backyard, pointing out new things they’d noticed. It was an invaluable opportunity to be able to educate locals about these animals.” Sagot’s research revealed that the bats are very important to their ecosystems, particularly in the tropics. The bats are pollinators, like bees, and seed disseminators as well, and thus ensure the health and vitality of the biological diversity of the rainforest. “Being able to better understand what drives bats’ habitat selection will allow us a better understanding of the ecology of this area in general,” said Sagot. “Because we were able to explain the importance these bats have to their surroundings, people were able to embrace them instead of fearing them.”

Three College of Science Faculty Named AAAS Fellows Five LSU researchers, three from the College of Science and two from the College of Engineering, have been honored with the rank of “Fellow” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, the world’s largest scientific organization.

Huiming Bao, associate professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics: for distinguished contributions to the field of stable isotope geochemistry, particularly for developing new tools and applications in interpreting atmospheric conditions in the deep past; and

Having five AAAS Fellows in one year ranks LSU among the top 10 percent of universities with individuals receiving the honor – with 539 fellows selected from more than 230 institutions worldwide.

Gary Byerly, Richard R. & Betty S. Fenton Alumni Professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics: for distinguished contributions to understanding the evolution of the early Earth, dedication to improved math and science education, and service to academia and his profession.

“LSU has been in the top 10 percent of AAAS Fellow recipient institutions for at least the past three years,” said Thomas Klei, interim vice chancellor of research and economic development at LSU. “This is truly demonstrative of the level of research expertise and impact we produce here.” The three AAAS Fellows in the College of Science are: James Moroney, Glenda Wooters Streva Memorial LSU Alumni Association Departmental Professor of Biological Sciences: for distinguished contributions in the field of photosynthesis, particularly for studies elucidating the carbon-concentrating mechanism of the green algae; 8

Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers in recognition of their efforts toward advancing science applications deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal, Science. AAAS includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Photos on left (top to bottom): James Moroney, Huiming Bao, and Gary Byerly.

College of Science News


A New Frontier LSU LA-SiGMA faculty and graduate students participated in the 2011 Baton Rouge area NanoDays events, a nationwide festival celebrating the science of ultra small matter. Left: Nanotube model at the 2011 NanoDays hosted by the Louisiana Arts & Science Museum

Chemical Endowed Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of Louisiana’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). “The alliance, which will include more than 100 faculty, postdoctoral researchers and students, will be sustained by collaborations involving shared students and postdoctoral researchers, interdisciplinary programs in computational materials, and shared courses taught via HD video.”

Computational materials science utilizes computer simulation to study the structure, properties, design, and processing of materials on the atomic scale. New technologies depend on the design and development of new materials to accomplish specific tasks such as materials for computer memories, batteries and controlled drug delivery. LA-SiGMA creates a statewide research and education program focusing on three science drivers: electronic, energy and biomolecular materials. The alliance capitalizes on the jurisdiction’s cyberinfrastructure and past investments in experimental and computational Advances in materials science shape our everyday lives, materials science. Program objectives include building the next driving economic growth and impacting how researchers view generation of experimentally validated formalisms, algorithms and understand the design of custom materials. Recognizing and codes for multiscale materials simulations; implementing the positive impact of materials science research on the state’s workforce and economic development, LSU has placed materials them on present and next generation supercomputers; and educating the next generation of a highly skilled workforce of science at the forefront of its interdisciplinary study for the last materials scientists and engineers. several years.

Materials Science Team Lands Major NSF Grant

LSU faculty, along with scientists from various universities throughout the state, received one of the largest National Science Foundation (NSF) grants ever awarded in Louisiana to establish the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications, or LA-SiGMA. The $20 million grant is centered in the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, or LONI, Institute, and includes 21 faculty members from the departments of Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Center for Computation and Technology, or CCT. Led by LSU Professors Mark Jarrell of the Department of Physics & Astronomy and Randall Hall of the Department of Chemistry, along with Louisiana Tech University Chemistry Professor Ramu Ramachandran and Tulane Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Lawrence Pratt, the Alliance includes researchers from LSU, Louisiana Tech University, University of New Orleans, Tulane, Southern University, and Grambling State University to combine experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to studying electronic, energy, and biomolecular materials. “The formation of LA-SiGMA through the support of this NSF EPSCoR grant will enable Louisiana to position itself to transform research and education in computational materials science, a relatively young field,” said Michael Khonsari, Dow

Elements of LA-SiGMA include: • an education plan that includes new materials science graduate courses delivered across the state; • well-developed relationships between research universities, two-year colleges and the K-12 community through ongoing outreach efforts; • strong partnerships between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, two-year colleges and other universities in the state; • involvement of predominantly undergraduate institutions as partners in research; • a team focused on training students and researchers to fully utilize the next generation cyberinfrastructure; • multifaceted diversity, workforce development and external engagement plans including relationships with industries through researchers, industry liaisons and the state EPSCoR committee; and • rigorous evaluation and assessment by an external evaluator, and feedback through an external review board to ensure that goals and objectives of the project are met. For more information about LA-SiGMA, visit 9

2011 SpringTheGraduation Pursuit 2012


Picture Above: Spring 2011 College of Science University Medalists First Row (from left to right): Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost John Hamilton, Dean Kevin Carman, Kathryn Ana Gayle, Christina M. Leonard, Katie Elizabeth Veron, Sheena Marie Kaiser, Jaclyn Denise Smith, Philip Carey Benge, Anna Evangeline Normand, Chancellor Michael Martin; Second Row (from left to right): Jeffrey Mark Pearson, John Leo Faciane Jr., Michael James Collins, Victoria Serpas, Jason Michael Gauthier, Luke Verret, Charles A. Moore, Collin Terrez Miller

The LSU College of Science celebrated the accomplishments of 362 graduates who successfully completed the requirements for bachelors, masters, and PhDs in a variety of science disciplines. The ceremony, which was held May 20, 2011 in the Maravich Assembly Center, marked the culmination of years of study, growth, and development. SPRING GRAD STATS • • • • • • •

24 students earned PhD degrees 31 students earned masters degrees 307 students earned bachelors degrees Of the 307 bachelors degree recipients, 103 earned Latin honors The spring 2011 graduates came from 15 countries, 25 states, and 37 parishes within the State of Louisiana. 55 percent of the graduates were men 45 percent of the graduates were women

Of the College’s 362 graduates, 16 were recognized as University Medalists, an award given to seniors graduating with the highest undergraduate grade-point-averages. The College of Science spring 2011 University Medalists are: • • • • • • • • • • • 10

Philip Carey Bange, Mathematics Michael James Collins, Biochemistry John Leo Faciane Jr., Biological Sciences Jason Michael Gauthier, Biochemistry Kathryn Anna Gayle, Biological Sciences Sheena Marie Kaiser, Biological Sciences Christina Marcel Leonard, Biological Sciences Collin Terrez Miller, Biological Sciences Charles Allen Moore, Computer Science Anna Evangeline Normand, Chemistry Jeffrey Mark Pearson, Biological Sciences

• • • •

Matthew Stringfello Sanzalone, Biochemistry Victoria Jannell Serpas, Biological Sciences Jaclyn Denise Smith, Biological Sciences Katie Elizabeth Veron, Biochemistry

The College also recognized six students who graduated with College Honors distinction, the highest honors recognition awarded by the College of Science in conjunction with the Honors College. These graduates earned a minimum of 32 semester hours of Honors courses during their four-year enrichment program and completed research and a senior thesis under the director of a faculty advisor. • • • • • •

Jeffrey Peter Cunniff, Biochemistry John Thornton Gilmer, Computer Science Katie Marie Hamel, Biological Sciences Courtney Lynn Mumfrey, Biological Sciences Jessica Marie Rosselot, Biological Sciences Bradley Morgan Wood, Biological Sciences

The College of Science also recognized Amanda Lynn Callegan who received Upper Division Honors. Callegan completed 12 hours of Honors course work at the 3000 level or above and completed research and a senior thesis under the direction of Rui Lu, assistant professor, biological sciences. Patricia “Pat” Bodin, CIO and vice president of global information technology (retired) for ExxonMobil provided the commencement address. Bodin, a native of Hammond, received her bachelor of science degree in mathematics in 1972. Her commitment to LSU over the years includes service on many boards and committees including the LSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Chancellor’s Advancement Advisory Committee, the LSU Foundation Steering Committee, and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the E.J. Ourso College of Business.

“My life is research and I want to keep it that way.” - Dante’ Johnson, sophomore chemistry major



Student Researchers Blazing the Paths to Tomorrow’s Innovation

Science and research have been mainstays throughout Dante’ Johnson’s life. Her love of science was fueled by her interest in pursuing new discoveries and modeled by her mother, a former science teacher currently working as a medical technologist. “I have always been impacted by my mother’s interest in science,” said Johnson, a sophomore chemistry major and LA-STEM scholar at LSU. “She helped me to develop my love of science. Because of her, I love science and research.” Like Johnson, many LSU science majors are pursuing science careers for the thrill of unearthing the latest discovery and impacting new age innovation. These student researchers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and scholars, have spawned a community of future scientists who are in it for the Science. 11 11


Innovation The Pursuit 2012

Johnson also credits her high school teacher Kris Clements and George Stanley, LSU Cyril Tutta Vetter Alumni Professor of Chemistry, for exposing her to the excitement of research. With Clements’ encouragement, Johnson started conducting research her junior year in high school. During her senior year in high school, Johnson participated in the Science and Medicine Academic Research Training (SMART) Program at the LSU Health Science Center’s Biomedical Institute in Shreveport, LA. While many of her peers were working retail and fast food, she spent her time in the laboratory. Her dream job is to lead a pediatric cancer research team at St. Jude Hospital. With a little push from her mother, Johnson decided not to veer far from her Shreveport home and enroll at LSU. She hoped to give her self an advantage by enrolling in CHEMIS, the pre-college boot camp offered through LSU’s chemistry department. While at boot camp, she met Professor George Stanley. Johnson described Stanley as vibrant and very exciting, quite contrary to how she thought a chemistry professor would be. Presently, Johnson is an undergraduate researcher in Stanley’s lab where she is studying organometallic catalysts in an effort to produce more environmentally friendly aldehyde products. “I went from delving into research to see what I wanted to do with my life, to not knowing what to do with my life without research,” said Johnson. “My life is research and I want to keep it that way.”

Scott & Susan Brodie Science Honors Scholar and sophomore physics major Melanie Carroll is another example of the College of Science’s best and brightest undergraduate researchers. In addition to receiving the Science Honors Scholarship, Carroll is also a LA-STEM scholar and Centennial Award recipient. Currently, Carroll is working in the medical physics laboratory of Kenneth “Kip” Matthews, Mytrang Hoang Do LSU associate professor Graduating Senior, Biochemistry, Houma, LA of physics & astronomy, Faculty Advisor: Vince Licata, where she has helped Louis S. Flowers Professor of Biological Sciences to build a CZT gamma camera, which is a radiation detector used in medical imaging to detect radiation in a specific location. This detector could be used to locate cancerous tumors and assist in treating an area infected with cancer without harming healthy cells. Growing up with parents working in accounting and finance—her mother is a CPA and her father is a financial advisor—she was never afraid of math. The family’s philosophy was “numbers are your friend, not your enemy.” Without the phobias that normally dissuade students from fields requiring lots of mathematics, Carroll has been quite successful in her physics curriculum maintaining a 4.0 GPA. “I am really proud of my GPA and I am holding on to it for dear life,” said Carroll. “I work really hard in my classes and it feels good when my hard work pays off.” Carroll plans to complete an MD/PhD program upon graduation. 

Research is also commonplace for Goldwater scholar, LASTEM scholar and all around high achiever Mytrang Hoang Do. “I have always liked science and I am really good at it,” said Do. “I think when you are good at something you should keep moving forward with it.” Do, a graduating senior in biochemistry, was very surprised to receive the nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship. “I did not think that I had a chance,” said Do. “They must have seen something that they liked in my application.”

Melanie Carroll Sophomore, Physics, Alexandria, LA Faculty Advisor: Kenneth “Kip” Matthews, Associate Professor of Physics 12

Do spent a summer at Cornel Medical College where she won a fellowship for best student in the summer program. While in high school, she also conducted research at Schlumberger Oil Company. Do currently works in the biophysics lab of Vince LiCata, Louis S. Flowers Professor of Biological Sciences. Her research on the effect of potassium glutamate on the overall functionality of Pol I DNA polymerase examines the structure and function of Pol I DNA polymerase and aims to better and more fully characterize these proteins in vivo environment.

“Dr. LiCata motivates me to work hard,” said Do who credits LiCata for encouraging her to be the scholar and researcher that she is today. Another source of motivation for Do has been her parents who left Vietnam in 2006 to re-locate to Houma, LA. “We have weathered many hardships,” said Do. “My father’s dream was to be a scientist and now his dream will be fulfilled through me.” Do plans to earn an MD/PhD degree after graduation. She has been accepted to the Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD program to pursue graduate studies in virology and infectious disease. 

PhD candidate in biochemistry and molecular biology Elena Batista is passionate about making a difference in the world. Batista works in the lab of Aaron Smith, assistant professor of biological sciences, examining the phosphate and arsenate uptake in plants. Through her research, she hopes to determine how the uptake arsenate in plants can be eliminated so that farmers can grow clean crops in soils that are contaminated. The results of such research could positively impact global crop production. Batista visited Indonesia this past summer and saw first hand how her research could impact populations in third world countries. “The rice fields were full of harmful agents,” said Batista. “Once you see what your main goal is, it changes your perspective on your work. It personalizes it.” Batista thanks her parents for always emphasizing education and ensuring that education was a priority for her and her three sisters. Batista is also a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In ten years, she plans to conduct research on an international level working overseas. “I love research. It just clicks with me,” said Batista. “I am happy to be successful in a field that I am truly passionate about.” 

Graduating senior and Dr. Mike & Cille Ribaudo Science Honors Scholar Michael Oldenburg was one of the first recipients of the Science Honors Scholarship. He chose LSU for a combination of reasons—academic prestige, his love of Louisiana culture and “it doesn’t hurt that we are big in sports,” said Oldenburg. But the opportunity to work alongside a national leader in genetic research, LSU System Boyd Professor and Mary Lou Applewhite Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences Mark Batzer, was a huge draw. “Dr. Batzer is a great mentor and he is extremely interested in helping students achieve their goals,” said Oldenburg. The topic of Oldenburg’s research is Using Mobile Elements as Phylogenetic Markers to Better Understand Primate Relationships. Oldenburg is working with a team of researchers who are analyzing mobile DNA elements, or “jumping genes” in gibbons that have been found to cause insertions and deletions that normally lead to genetic diseases

in humans as well as the creation of new genes and gene families in the genome. Through his research, Oldenburg hopes to understand how gibbons absorb particular amounts of genetic mutation and do not contract diseases like cancer. Understanding this mutation could impact future cancer treatments. “It is exciting to be on the ground level of a ground-breaking discovery, said Oldenburg” Working in Batzer’s lab has opened Oldenburg’s understanding of the power of research. “Every scientific advancement began with research and sometimes the start may not relate to the end. You don’t always know the path that your research will take, but if you work hard enough you are going to find something important,” said Oldenburg.

Elena Batista Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology New Orleans, LA Faculty Advisor: Aaron Smith, Assistant Professor of Biological Sci-

Oldenburg’s greatest influence is his father. “The most important lesson he taught me was that the right risks are worth taking.” Oldenburg’s risks have certainly paid off. He has been accepted to the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans and will start there in the fall. He plans to specialize in orthopedic surgery and become a sports doctor. But before medical school, Oldenburg will spend the summer hiking part of the Appalachian Trail. 

urg nces ldenb iological Scie O l e a Mich ing Senior, B afayette, LA at L u d a r inor), G tzer, istry M r: Mark Ba f m e h (C ro iso y Adv rofesso Facult tem Boyd P ys LSU S al Sciences ic g Biolo


The Pursuit 2012


News Scholarship

| Research

| Innovation

| Excellence

This has been a year of breakthroughs, discovery, and innovation for the LSU College of Science. The faculty, staff, and students in each of the College’s six departments are engaged in stimulating research that not only contributes to the body of scientific knowledge, but also impacts the way we live our daily lives. The College’s various research efforts are helping to restore our gulf, grow the economy, discover new medical treatments, better analyze data, resolve long-standing scientific enigmas, and foster the cross pollination of ideas across the diverse fields of science and other academic disciplines. The community of accomplished faculty researchers and scholars, along with a student body that is engaged, involved, and connected, has created a learning environment that spawns constant discovery and keeps the College on the cusp of today’s latest innovations. The following pages provide a glimpse into the pioneering research underway in each department.





Departmental News

Biologists Examine the Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Gulf Coast Fish The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 drastically changed life along the Gulf Coast. For communities accustomed to a thriving fishing and tourism industry, relaxing beaches and fun vacation get-a ways, the oil spill was an unwelcome interruption. The spill, which stemmed from a sea-floor oil gusher that resulted in the April 20, 2010 explosion of Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, flowed unabated for three months before the leak was plugged on July 15, 2010. An estimated 53,000 barrels per day escaped from the well before it was capped, damaging marine and wildlife habitats and temporarily suspending the coasts flourishing fishing and tourism industry. The magnitude and impact of the spill attracted many scientists to the coast to help assess the damages and begin studies to examine its effects. A research team led by LSU associate professors of Biological Sciences Fernando Galvez and Andrew Whitehead published a study in the National Academy of Sciences Journal examining the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on fish living in Louisiana marshes. The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative shows that despite very low to non-detectable concentrations of oil constituents in the water and in fish tissues, biological effects in fish indicate dramatic responses that are indicative of exposures to the toxic components of oil. “Though the fish may be ‘safe to eat’ based on low chemical burdens in their tissues, that doesn’t mean that the fish are

Hat with oil from Deepwater Horizon oil spill

healthy or that the fish are capable of reproducing normally,” said Whitehead. Results of the study found that the toxic oil affected the genes of the fish resulting in changes in gills, hearts, and embryo formation. Gill tissues, which are important for maintaining critical body functions, appeared damaged and had altered protein expression coincident with oil exposure, and these effects persisted long after the visible oil disappeared from the marsh surface. Controlled exposures in laboratory settings of developing embryos to fieldcollected waters induced similar cellular responses. “This is of concern because early lifestages of many organisms are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of oil and because marsh contamination occurred during the spawning season of many important species,” said Whitehead.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Fernando Galvez

The team garnered quite a bit of local and national attention with their study. On October 12, 2011, Galvez was invited to testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources in Washington, DC to discuss the research. The day before Galvez presented his testimony, Sen. Bill Nelson, FL, used portions of the researchers’ findings on the Senate floor in his discussion of the continuing Associate Professor of economic, environmental and ecological Biological Sciences Andrew Whitehead consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. During his talk, Senator Nelson emphasized the important role science has played in relaying these effects to public servants as well as to the local and national communities. Galvez and Whitehead were also invited to Baton Rouge radio station WRKF 89.3 to discuss their research on air with radio personality Swede White.



The Pursuit 2012

Super Funds for SUPER RESEARCH Chemistry Professor Receives $11 Million From NIEHS for Superfund Research LSU's Barry Dellinger, Patrick F. Taylor Chair for the Environmental Impact of Hazardous Waste in the LSU Department of Chemistry, received more than $11 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or NIEHS, to continue the LSU Superfund Research Center and focus its research on Environmentally-Persistent Free Radicals, or EPFRs. The center was originally funded $3.8 million in 2009 and has been hugely successful since its initiation. EPFRs are pollutants generated by hazardous waste, and just like their name suggests, they remain readily available in the environment for long periods of time. EPFRs are introduced to the environment in a variety of ways, most commonly through the combustion process often found in industrial sites. Those generated from Superfund Sites, an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people, are particularly long-lived. "Simply breathing on a worst-case scenario day in Mexico City, for example, is like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day," said Dellinger. "EPFRs are essentially incomplete molecules. We believe, when pollutants are attached to fine particles in the environment, they actually exist as EPFRs, rather than molecules." 16

Prior to Dellinger's ground-breaking work with EPFRs, these dangerous pollutants had not been proven to exist. But now, not only do researchers know that they are real, but thanks to the work being done at LSU, researchers are also starting to realize just how hazardous they can be. Now, Dellinger is finding that when extraction of EFPRs is attempted with solvents, a whole new problem is created. NIEHS grants, particularly of this size, are extremely difficult to secure because of the intense competition. Gaining full support was an uphill battle. Dellinger originally received an individual award allowing him to get a foothold within the institute and the specialty. Only a few years later, he was able to secure funding for the center, and now has received this renewal due to their impressive research and publications record. The work also developed a key partnership of units across the state, bringing in collaborators from the LSU Health Sciences Centers in both New Orleans and Shreveport to work with Dellinger's group in Baton Rouge. Goals of the center include determining just how prevalent these EFPRs are in the environment and how they occur there, as well as understanding more about their biological chemistry and developing correlations between this information and epidemiological data.


Geology &

Departmental News

Associate Professor of Palynology and AASP Professor in the Center for Excellence in Palynology Sophie Warny

LSU Palynologist Receives NSF CAREER Award, Teams With Columbia University Professors to Mentor K-12 Teachers American politician John C. Crosby (1859 - 1943) describes mentoring as “…a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” Sophie Warny, assistant professor of palynology in the Department of Geology and curator of education at LSU’s Museum of Natural Science, is applying Crosby’s definition through a collaborative effort with Columbia University to mentor k-12 teachers as they earn master’s degrees in natural science. Warny, a recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, will share her extensive research experience and knowledge with teachers like Steve Babcock, LSU Laboratory School ninth grade science instructor, and Zachary Elementary School science teacher Breigh Rainey. Warny will comentor Babcock and Rainey with Suzanne Carbotte, senior scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), and Frank Nitsche, associate research scientist, Columbia University LDEO. “The NSF CAREER Award offers me an opportunity to guide instructors through the natural science graduate program and provide them with the support, research opportunities and mentoring they need to grow in this discipline,” said Warny, who added that “in return,

working with outstanding instructors like Steve Babcock and Breigh Rainey provides me with the opportunity to transfer the research of my group to the K-12 curriculum in a meaningful way.” Babcock trained with Nitsche during the 2011 CAREER Award Regional Forum at the LSU Lod Cook Alumni Center, November 8-9. The forum was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the LSU Office of Research and Development, and the Gordon A. Cain Center for Scientific, Technological Engineering, and Mathematical Literacy. One of the outreach components of Warny’s award provides funding to mentor one other middle- or high-school teacher in addition to Babcock and Rainey. The teachers will have three summers to complete coursework and conduct research. They will also assist in building a professional development program for science teachers based on maps that they will construct of Antarctic paleovegetation and paleohydrology. The teachers will work with Warny, Carbotte, and Nitsche using Columbia University’s GeoMapApp mapping software and will present their research findings at national conferences and serve as peer mentors in their schools.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.


The Pursuit 2012



Mathematics Professor Develops Marine Robotic Methods for Oil Spill Study LSU Professor of Mathematics Michael Malisoff partnered with Fumin Zhang, Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor at Georgia Tech, and Mark Patterson, College of William & Mary professor of marine science, to develop marine robotic methods to conduct surveys on the weathered crude oil off the coast of Louisiana. The autonomous marine robots are capable of detecting pollutants and taking sediment and water samples while their human controllers remain safely on dry ground. Malisoff’s contribution to the study is the development of mathematical methods to guide the robots through a constantly changing environment like the ocean, where currents, temperature and weather can change in an instant. Zhang and a team of Georgia Tech students built the robots and tested them in Grand Isle nearly a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Zhang and the students spent 20 days in the field. During that time, they coordinated their robots with another marine vehicle that was developed by Patterson’s College of William & Mary students.

The marine robots were able to detect oil in the Gulf more than a year after the spill.


Photo by Fumin Zhang, Georgia Tech

“We are working on developing fundamental theory of uncertainty and delays to manage marine robots,” said Malisoff. “This type of science is extremely important and adaptable. By modifying the sensors on Fumin’s boats, we hope to use the robots to detect algal blooms or for other autonomous forms of underwater research.” The project was initially funded through a National Science Foundation, or NSF, Rapid Response Grant following the oil spill in order to develop a faster mechanism of response to such disasters. Once the grant expired, the NSF engineering directorate continued Malisoff’s support for another three years.

Mathematics Professor Michael Malisoff

The new NSF support will allow the research team to continue the theoretical work to enhance practical applications. Malisoff is working with three Ph.D. students, including Aleksandra Gruszka, whose research focuses on autonomous curve tracking under uncertainty. “The whole purpose behind using these machines is to keep humans out of harm’s way,” said Malisoff. “Right now, we still need humans in the vicinity to oversee their actions, but the next generation won’t need such close supervision.” Once the theories are fully developed and tested, the applications for such technology are very broad.

The Super Kamiokande Detector

Departmental News

Top to bottom: Physics & Astronomy Thomas Kutter, Martin Tzanov, and William Metcalf

Physics &


LSU Physicists Highlighted in Physics World Top 10 Breakthroughs LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Professors Thomas Kutter and Martin Tzanov and Professor Emeritus William Metcalf were recently recognized as part of the Physics World Top 10 Physics Breakthroughs of 2011 for their studies recording the first real indication of a new type of neutrino oscillation. The professors, along with graduate and undergraduate students, have been working for several years on an experiment in Japan called T2K, or Tokai to Kamioka, Long Baseline Neutrino Oscillation Experiment, which studies the most elusive of fundamental subatomic particles – the neutrino. In the spring of 2011, they announced an indication of a new type of neutrino transformation or oscillation from a muon neutrino to an electron neutrino. In the T2K experiment in Japan, a beam of muon neutrinos – one of the three types of neutrinos, which also include the electron and tau – was produced in the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex, or J-PARC, located in Tokai village, Ibaraki prefecture, on the east coast of Japan. The beam was aimed at the gigantic Super-Kamiokande underground detector in Kamioka, near the west coast of Japan, 295 km, or 185 miles away from Tokai. An analysis of the detected neutrino-induced events in the SuperKamiokande detector indicated that a small number of muon neutrinos traveling from Tokai to Kamioka transformed themselves into electron neutrinos. As part of the experiment, high energy protons were directed onto a carbon target, where their collisions produced charged particles called pions, which travelled through a helium-filled volume where they decayed to produce a beam of the elusive neutrinos. These neutrinos then flew about 200 meters through the earth to a sophisticated detector system capable of making detailed measurements of their energy, direction and type.

“It took the international collaboration about ten years to realize the project and bring it from first idea to first results,” said Kutter, leader of the T2K project at LSU. “The entire LSU team is honored to be part of the collaboration and proud to contribute to the experiment. We expect many more results in the near future and look forward to the new research opportunities which are likely to arise from the tantalizing indication of this new neutrino oscillation.” According to the article in Physics World, this breakthrough could allow researchers to pinpoint the final undetermined neutrino “mixing angle,” as well as provide a clue toward solving the mystery of why matter, rather than antimatter, dominates the universe. The physicists have been part of a number of measurements over the last decade, which include Super Kamiokande, SNO, and KamLAND that have shown that neutrinos possess the strange property of neutrino oscillations – one flavor of neutrino can transform into another as it travels through space. This is significant because neutrinos were first predicted theoretically in 1930, first actually detected in 1956 and for 50 years were assumed to have zero mass. But neutrino oscillations require mass. Work at T2K is ongoing, but was severely interrupted due to the 2011 earthquake in Japan that devastated the country’s infrastructure and caused significant loss of life and hardship to the nation’s population. T2K facilities were partially damaged, but a swift and dedicated recovery effort by many people led to the restart of the research facility in December 2011 and neutrino measurements resumed in January 2012. Photomultipliers from the Super Kamiokande experiment


Natural Science

Museum ofDepartmental News













The Pursuit 2012







Like Mike:

Making a Big Splash Louisiana Fishes Exhibit Coming June 2012

Museum of Natural Science Erects Exhibit of LSU’s Beloved Bengal Tiger In celebration of the nation’s most popular Bengal tiger, the LSU Museum of Natural Science with help from the LSU Veterinary School, raised funds to immortalize the University’s mascot in a new interactive exhibit that not only captures the beauty of our beloved tiger, but also highlights the tiger as an endangered species. The exhibit is centered around the taxidermied figure of Mike I and includes interactive components such as a pug mark (paw with print), distribution maps of tigers in the wild, and panels with fun and historical facts about the mascot over the years. Sophie Warny, associate professor of palynology


and Museum of Natural Science curator of education, said that the museum is ecstatic to finally open the exhibit to the public after years of fundraising and planning. She added that the new exhibit will enhance the visitors’ experience by teaching them about conservation issues dear to the Museum’s research mission. The exhibit also allows visitors to relax and listen to the four main sounds tigers make in the wild or an original recording of Mike I’s famous roar. The current Mike the Tiger, Mike VI, has more than 100,000 visitors each year. Mike’s new habitat, erected in 2005, has been lauded as one of the country’s largest and finest tiger preserves, measuring 15,000 square feet with a number of lush amenities including a waterfall, flowing stream, wading pond, and rock plateaus.

Warny and Curator of Fishes Prosanta Chakrabarty have received a $120,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to develop a Louisiana Fishes Exhibit in the LSU Museum of Natural Science.


Alumni & Development


Training Math, Science Teachers


for the

In recent decades, numerous studies have charted a significant decline in the numbers of students entering math and science disciplines in the U.S. Implications of this downward trend have and will continue to impact American innovation, global competitiveness, and national security. One factor linked to the decline is the number and quality of K-12 science and math teachers. In Louisiana, the shortage is particularly severe at the secondary level. To address this critical issue, LSU faculty from science, education, and humanities & social sciences have redesigned the teacher preparation program into one that now requires students to achieve a degree in biology, chemistry, physics, or math while earning a concentration in secondary education. This degree path is now known as GeauxTeach! (GT). Geaux Teach! students begin teaching experiences as freshmen and continue through their senior year. The rigorous education and training received prepares and certifies Geaux Teach! graduates to provide quality math and science education, including AP courses, immediately upon graduation. In 2007, LSU was one of 12 institutions awarded a $2.4 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to expand its already successful program. Since then, Geaux Teach! has become a leader in the recruitment of highly qualified 6th -12th grade science teachers. As part of the grant, NMSI will provide a matching gift opportunity to help sustain the program over time. A 1:1 match for every dollar donated to Geaux Teach! will be given to LSU if we raise $1 million by the end of May 2012. To date, we have raised $650,000 towards the $1 million goal. A gift to Geaux Teach! is an investment in the future of math and science education in Louisiana and beyond. The College of Science needs your help to meet the $1 million match. A successful effort will result in a $2 million endowment in support of math and science teacher education at LSU. To give to the LSU Geaux Teach! program, contact Ann Marie Marmande at 225.578.4906 or email

College o

f Science


Ahead of


the game

The rigorous coursework and demanding schedule of a science major can leave many students feeling unprepared and intimidated. Even the most capable students may have some difficulty adjusting to the rigors of college courses. The College of Science has developed week-long pre-college “boot camps” to help prepare incoming freshmen for the first semester of college. BIOS (biology), CHEMIS (chemistry), GIOS (geology and geophysics), Tiger Prep Math Camp, and PhIOS (physics and astronomy) offer incoming students a tangible head start in their introductory classes and orientation to the academic environment that they are about to enter. The boot camps expose students to real college lectures and exams in their chosen field. The participants are more successful in their coursework than non-participants, have higher retention rates in their major, and usually graduate within four years. “CHEMIS prepared me for the workload that I would encounter once I entered college,” said Logan Leblanc, chemistry major. “The program helped me to adjust my study habits before the semester even started.” Our college-wide annual capacity is currently about 450 students with a total cost of approximately $500 per student. The camps have proven to be an effective and less expensive alternative to summer-long pre-college preparation programs. The support of the College of Science Dean’s Circle members is important to the continued success of the pre-freshman year academic boot camps. Many of the students supported with Dean’s Circle funds may not have been able to attend boot camp without some level of financial support. The College of Science faculty and staff would like to thank all of the Dean’s Circle members for giving to the science boot camp programs. Your investments have given tomorrow’s scientists the tools that they need to succeed.


The Pursuit 2012 research,” said Andrew Maverick, chemistry department chair and Dr. Philip W. & Foymae West Professor of Chemistry. The building is scheduled for completion May 2012. The five-story facility, although technically referred to as an annex, will be a free standing building located east of Choppin Hall in the North Knapp Hall and Life Sciences parking lots off Highland Road. The state has allocated $33 million for the building, which is enough to build the structure and complete the first four floors. The top floor will be a “shell” to be completed after additional funds are secured.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION Chemistry & Materials Science Building Update The LSU Chemistry Department has grown tremendously in the last 10 years attracting more top-notch faculty and research scholars, increasing undergraduate and graduate student enrollment, bringing in new grants, and expanding its role in interdisciplinary teaching and research. All of the areas of growth in the department support the importance of the new Chemistry & Materials Science building and the added benefit that this facility will provide relative to space for additional research labs, faculty, staff and post doc research offices, and instrumentation rooms. “The Chemistry & Materials Science building allows us to better accommodate the impressive growth that the department has experienced in the last decade by providing the type of facility needed to comfortably support the structural needs of today’s chemistry and materials science

Architectural firm Lyons & Hudson out of New Orleans has completed the primary building design with scientific lab expertise provided by Karlsberger Inc. Alumni Professor of Chemistry Bill Daly has been the lead chemistry person on the construction team working closely with the architects over the last seven years.

The top right picture is the architects’ rendering of the front building, as it would appear from Highland Road. Choppin Hall is located directly behind the building separated by the service driveway that runs to the Life Sciences Building. The first floor will house major instrumentation to support materials science, chemistry, and other science-engineering areas. The second through fifth floors are planned to have essentially the same layout, with laboratories designed for synthetic chemistry and materials science. Help to ensure the continued growth of the Chemistry Department. For naming opportunities or to make a gift to the Chemistry & Materials Science building, contact Eric Guerin at, 225.578.7602.





Gift Level/Amount Per Unit




Ground Floor (Microscopy & Materials Characterization Facility)



Microscopy Suite



Large Modules (Microscopy Preparation & Shared Instrumentation)



Entry way/art work, etc.



Instrumentation Labs


$200,000 - $500,000

Conference Rooms


$100,000 - $250,000

Break Rooms


$75,000 - $100,000

Faculty & Staff Offices



Second - Fifth Floors



Laboratories with Student Office Space





A Profile of




Major General Jasper A. Welch


asper Welch was born in 1931, in Baton Rouge, and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelors degree in physics from LSU in 1952. During his time on campus, Gen. Welch was involved with Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honors society for college students, and Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated with distinction from the ROTC program and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force in May of 1952. He also earned a masters degree in 1954 and a doctorate in physics in 1958 from the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, he is a distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.

Top to Bottom: Major General Jasper A. Welch and his wife, former LSU Darling Jane Ann

Welch’s experience at LSU had significant influence on both his career path and personal life. Experiences that shaped his life during that time include Gen. Troy Middleton’s mentorship, studies under Professor Eric Voegelin, the Korean War, and an internship at the Oakridge National Laboratory arranged by LSU’s physics department chair. In the beginning of the Cold War era, Welch sought a career that incorporated science, defense and international relations as he knew that technology was going to be the “winner of the times.” This three-legged approach to his profession would be the means of achieving his goal to help the world. LSU’s influence on his personal life through his mother’s employment as a music professor would manifest later. In the 1950’s, the field of nuclear physics was still relatively new and was just starting to be studied and understood. In the five years post-Sputnik (1957), Welch led a team to determine the effects of nuclear weapons detonated in the upper reaches of the atmosphere and in space. During this period he was invited to present the results of his pioneering scientific research in space physics to the National Academy of Sciences and several international symposia. During the 1960’s, Welch served as a consultant to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, Defense Science Board, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, North

Atlantic Treaty Organization Advisory Group on Aerospace Research and Development, and the President’s Science Advisory Committee. In February 1968, he was the first person to brief the newly formed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He also was a leader in crafting the policy that the military was to follow in deciding where to target nuclear weapons. These policies had to be public, convey the right political and diplomatic message, and produce the right result. Welch worked under two presidents (Nixon and Carter), and has known or worked with every Secretary of Defense since the 1960’s. In 1976, he was promoted to major general. He became defense policy coordinator for the National Security Council in November 1979, and retired from the military in 1983. During the Reagan administration, Welch was asked to be the leader of the top level design team for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, or “Star Wars”) missile defense system. Throughout his career, he has been an advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Defense Science Board, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Welch continued on page 24 23

The Pursuit 2012

College Increases Efforts to Enhance Corporate, Foundation Relations Gifts from College of Science alumni, friends, and supporters have enabled the College to provide meaninful academic and research experiences to hundreds of science majors at LSU. In an effort to enhance the College’s foundation of giving, the Office of Alumni Relations and Emi Gilbert Development has established a Director of College Corporate corporate and foundation relations & Foundation Relations division. This office will help organizations assess opportunities for collaboration and investment in the educational pursuits underway in the College of Science departments. This effort will be led by Emilia “Emi” Gilbert, the newly named director of college corporate and foundation relations. Gilbert previously held the position of associate director of development in the College where she worked with alumni and corporations with interests in computer science, geology & geophysics, mathematics, and physics & astronomy. The goals of the College’s corporate and foundation relations effort are:

• To enhance external relationships including research collaborations and philanthropy in support of our mission on behalf of all departments in the College • To strengthen our connections through strategic partnerships with industry, government, and other higher education institutions • To provide a single point of contact to our partners in business and industry for all things related to the College of Science • To assist faculty and staff members in seeking external funding We invite industry to partner with the College to gain access to the research expertise of our nationally-recognized faculty and to interact with some of the nation’s top science students. Our efforts with corporations will enhance industry sponsored projects, speaking engagements and opportunities for students to learn about careers in science. To learn more about the College’s corporate and foundation relations effort, please contact Emi Gilbert, 225.578.2321,

Welch continued from page 23

This is but a summary of Welch’s work and achievements. He was well-known for his politico-military work and his humanitarian approach to science. Welch had a firm grasp on the human and sociological issues related to keeping a country safe. Besides his technical expertise, Gen. Welch was also a brilliant strategist and leader, in large part because he was able to speak in a common language so others could understand the science behind the initiative. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon. Welch has been proud that his promotions in the military were always a result of his contributions to science. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union and the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1983, he was inducted into the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction, and was inducted into the College of Science Hall of Distinction. The Welch family has had a personal association with LSU for decades. His mother, Ora May Welch, was a wellknown music professor for 30 years. His wife, Jane Ann, studied violin under his mother and the two developed 24

a very close relationship. In her second year at LSU, Jane Ann was named “LSU Darling.” She maintained her friendship with Ora May throughout her lifetime. When Jasper retired from the military, Jane Ann was invited to the ceremony. She called the Pentagon to regret the invitation and spoke directly with Jasper. That phone call led to a renewed friendship and eventually marriage, and they recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Jane Ann’s father also graduated from LSU, and her son was captain of the basketball team in 1984. Gen. Welch believes that LSU prepared him for his work and successes in life. It also introduced him to a life-long love of gardening, which was initiated when he worked as a lab assistant for the horticulture department. Most significant, Jane Ann’s study under his mother, Professor Welch, eventually brought the two of them together. Gen. Welch’s leadership, service and contributions to science bring great prestige to LSU and to the College of Science, and we are proud that he is among many accomplished alumni. A full biography of General Jasper Welch’s career can be found at and

Alumni & Development

College of Science Honors

Hall of Distinction The LSU College of Science will welcome seven new members during its Hall of Distinction ceremony on April 20 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center. This year’s inductees are Larry Arthur, Frank “Billy” Harrison III, Henry Howe, Ron and Dr. Mary Neal, Dolores Spikes, and James Wharton. Larry O. Arthur earned a BS in microbiology and chemistry from Northwestern State University in 1966 and later earned an MS and PhD in microbiology and chemistry from LSU in 1968 and 1970, respectively. In 2000, Arthur was named President of SAIC-Frederick Inc. and Principal Investigator of the Operations and Technical Support (OTS) contract at NCI-Frederick. Arthur retired as president of SAIC-Frederick Inc. in 2011, and currently serves as Scientist Emeritus at NCI-Fredrick. Frank W. “Billy” Harrison III, co-founder of independent oil and gas exploration company Houston Energy LP, graduated from LSU with a BS and MS in geology. He co-founded Houston Energy with fellow LSU zoology and geology graduate Ron Neal. Harrison has more than 29 years of petroleum exploration experience in Texas, the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. He also serves on the LSU Foundation Board of Directors, has made significant contributions to the College’s Geology & Geophysics Department, and has been a member of the LSU Foundation since 2007. Henry Howe (1896-1973) earned his BS degree in humanities from the University of Oregon in 1916 and received his PhD in geology from Stanford University in 1922. After graduation, Howe was recruited by Louisiana Governor John M. Parker, as an assistant professor with the task of reconstructing the Geology Department at LSU. Howe served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1944-1949. As part of rebuilding the LSU Geology Department, Howe brought his

Class of 2012

former colleague and friend, Richard J. Russell from Berkley to expand into the area of physical geography. Howe initiated geology summer camps for LSU students and established LSU’s camp on the Keeton Ranch. This is the oldest, continuously operating, permanent geology summer camp in the country and is located near Colorado Springs, CO. He served his entire career at LSU until his retirement in 1966. In 1987, the new geology building was named the “Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex” in honor of his legacy. Ron and Mary Neal have been members of the LSU Foundation since 2000 and the LSU College of Science’s Dean’s Circle since its inception in 2007. Mary is the development chairperson for the Dean’s Circle Executive Committee. Together, they have been significant supporters of the departments of biological sciences and geology & geophysics. Ron earned his bachelor of science degree in zoology in 1974 and a MS in geology in 1977 from LSU. After earning his masters degree, Ron held positions with Amoco Production Company and Davis Petroleum from 1977 until 1988. He co-founded Houston Energy LP, an independent oil and gas exploration company, with partner and LSU alumnus Billy Harrison in 1988. Mary earned her bachelor of science degree in zoology from LSU in 1975 followed by an MD from LSU Medical School in New Orleans in 1979. Mary practiced for 18 years with Obstetrical and Gynecology Associates in the Houston area and held appointments at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas and the Harris County Hospital District. She was named one of the “Top Docs” by Texas Monthly magazine in 2007. Mary retired from her practice in 2010, and now spends two days a week volunteering at a local clinic. She is an active board member with Medical Bridges and Children’s International.

Dolores R. Spikes, Southern University and A&M College System President Emeritus, is the first African American woman to lead a public college or university system and the first African American to graduate with a PhD in mathematics from LSU (1971). She received a bachelors of science degree in mathematics from Southern University in 1957 followed by a masters of science in mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1958. Spikes began teaching in the SU Mathematics Department in 1961. She rose through the academic ranks and was named chancellor of the Southern University, Baton Rouge campus in the late 80s and was later appointed president of the SU System. LSU Chancellor Emeritus James H. Wharton earned bachelors degrees in chemistry, physics & mathematics. He received his PhD in physical chemistry on a National Academy of Science Fellowship from LSU. After graduation, Wharton became an assistant professor of physical chemistry at LSU and was later promoted to associate dean of chemistry and physics. Wharton was named chancellor of LSU in 1981. As chancellor, he was instrumental in restructuring the Alumni Federation to form the LSU Alumni Association and led the LSU Foundation to be more dynamic in its fundraising efforts. Under his leadership, admission standards were implemented that have enhanced the national image of the University. About the Hall of Distinction:

Larry Arthur

Frank “Billy” Harrison III

Henry Howe

Ron and Mary Neal

Dolores Spikes

In 2004, the College of Science established the Hall of Distinction to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to science, the community, the College, and the University by demonstrating sustained excellence in their scientific, business, educational, governmental, and community service activities. Biographies of past inductees can be found online at: Hall-of-Distinction.

James Wharton


Celebrating a2012 The College of Science would like to thank all of the alumni and friends who have The Pursuit

Tradition of

given to the College. Your gifts support students, faculty, and outreach initiatives within the College. Thank you for being an important part of the our Formula for Excellence and for helping us to prepare tomorrow’s global scientists. The names listed in this publication reflect donations given to the College of Science or one of its departments through the LSU Foundation from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.


Individuals $300,000 and above James H. Painter $100,000 to $299,999 Anonymous Clarence & Ann Cazalot Bill & Gail Pryor $50,000 to $99,999 Patricia Hewlett Bodin Jay & Laura Moffitt Joe & Kim Reid Marvin & Loretta * Stuckey $10,000 to $49,999 Jim & Jenelle Andrews Mary Lou Applewhite Byrd & Alice Ball Mark Batzer & Pamela Richard Christian & Anne Boussert Michael & Donna Griffith S. Sitharama & Manorama Iyengar Neil & Arlene Kestner Jimmie & Ann Peltier Ward & Betty Plummer Mike & Cille Ribaudo Thomas D. Shockley Jr. Mike & Lea Ann van den Bold $1,000 to $9,999 Halvor & Peggy Aaslestad Stephen & Janet Abernathy Samuel & Camille Abshire Bruce A. Adams Jr. Margery Altman Ronnie & Denise Alvarez Larry & Alice Arthur Frank & Dianne Auer Jeremy & Lu Ellen Bariola Charles & Mary Barré Peggy A. Battalora George Belchic Jr. Charles & Jo Black George & Debbie Boudreaux Scott & Susan Brodie


Brad & Julie Broussard Stephen L. & Cynthia Brown Stephen T. & Catherine Brown Jon & Jonell Brubaker William & Glenda Brundage Peter & Alice Burland Sybil Callaway & Elias Bou-Waked Roberta G. Carlisle Kevin Carman & Susan Welsh Peter & Li-Chuang Chen Mike & Julie Cherry Purnell & Joan Choppin Carlo & Beverly Christina Joanne J. Clark Hardy & Jeanette Coon Frank & Diann Cornish Bill & Janet Daly Gregg & Hyacinth DeMar Jason C. Devillier Brooks & Sue Ellwood Lazar & Chee Chee Gielen Darrin & Felicia Gipson Linda A. Goodrum Beverly Greenwell Gary S. Grest Jack W. Grigsby * Bill & Mary Helen Hamilton Reinosuke & Kuni Hara Frank & Patricia Harrison John & Theresa Havens Dicky & Judy Haydel George & Deborah Hearne Stewart & Lauren Henry Robert & Paula Herman Julie L. Hill Bob & Joanne Holladay Michelle & B. B. Holoubek Greg & Joan Hussey Ronnie Johnson & Candace Hays Bryan & Kerri Lynn Kansas Stephen & Karen Katz George C. Kent Jr. * Amanda Barré Kogos & Philip Kogos Richard & Helene Kurtz Arlo & Eunice Landolt James & Neilanne Lange Terry & Cheryl Latiolais Jeff & Karen Lewis

Bill & Marilyn Lovell Barbara Lowery-Yilmaz & Recep Yilmaz Martin & Delores Richard Carolyn B. Mattax Mary E. McKinley Fred & Misty Meendsen Betsy Mellor Lawrence & Linda Messina Louis & Lori Minsky John T. Moore Ron & Mary Neal Stuart & Kim Oden Beverly Ogden & Bayne Dickinson James & Judith Oxley Ed Picou & Dan Armstrong Charles & Pamela Pinckney William & Mary Lou Potter Rachel & Jason Reina Keith Rhynes & Susan Futayyeh David & Jennifer Rincon Xiulu Ruan & Ling Cui Arthur H. Saller Roland & Susan Samson Judy A. Schiebout Erik & Angela Scott John P. Sevenair Fred Sheldon & Jody Kennard Wayne & Anne Simpson Jeffrey & Shelly Sketchler Charles M. Smith Marion & Esther Socolofsky George & Karin Sonnier Curtis & Helen Sorrells Steven & Christine Sotile William & Versa Stickle Karen Adler Storthz & Joseph Storthz Mancheol Suh Tom & Judy Taylor Estes & Brenda Thomas Jim Traynham & Gresdna Doty Mel & Diane Triay Margaret Vail Roussel & Wilson Roussel Harold M. Voss Jan Wampold & Brian Petit Earl H. Weidner Keith & Katie White Danny & Kay Williamson Armour C. Winslow

Winnie K. Wong-Ng $250 to $999 Eric & Patty Abraham Byron & Gladys Ayme Diola & Ella Bagayoko Brian & Mary Barkemeyer Eugene C. Beckham III William & Katherine Blake Christopher & Elizabeth Brantley Jay & Sherry Breaux Shawn S. Brown Sam & Karen Buckley Carol O. Caplan Robert P. Colligan Joseph A. D’Anna Jr. Gaston & Mimi Daumy Terry R. David Ronald J. Deck Patrick & Carmen Dessauer Kevin J. Dileo M. Patricia Doody Edwin & Mazie Doody Lisa & Scott Dunn Harold P. Dupuy Gary & Sophit Ewing Darryl & Jennifer Felder Juhan Frank Charles Goldberg Cheryl E. Grenier Robert T. Grissom John W. Grubb Marcella W. Hackney John R. Harper Brett Hinton Jay & Judith Huner Gordon & Angela Johnson Ann T. Kessel John & Patsy Laker John & Diane Legleu Rowdy & Donna Lemoine Daniel Lewis David Longstreth & Sue Bartlett Robert & Mary MacGregor Charmaine B. Mamantov Ann Marie Marmande Craig M. Matherne Donald J. McGarey Jr. Jarrod & Emily McGehee Marsha D. McNeese Kyle M. Metz Christine M. Micheel Virginia L. Mouw

Sally M. Murray James & Karen Nickerson Rodney & Pamela Ott Laureen V. Paraguya Edward L. Patterson IV Fred Rainey & Alanna Small Larry & Ann Raymond Theodore & Dina Robinson John & Toni Sardisco James & Carol Schnabel Judith K. Schulz Faye H. Seaberg Harold & Edna Silverman Wayne & Marian Slocum James R. Stewart Jr. Phillip & Pamela Wallace Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh Lawernce E. Wilkinson Billy J. Wilson Jack & Anna Woods Liangang & Lei Ye Janet N. Younathan Richard P. Zingula $100 to $249 Ajay K. Arigala John & Nancy Bair Rodney Barlow & Patricia Fithian Robert D. Bates Clay C. Bernard Steven Bishop Bradley & Cynthia Black Ethel H. Boagni Sid & Peggy Bonner Barry J. Breaux John & Betina Breaux Nathan & Linda Brener Charles P. Brocato Martha A. Brooker Karen Bruggers & Mark Odom Robb & Tiffanie Brumfield Jeffrey M. Burford George & Carol Burleson Kevin J. Burns Premila Burns John G. Burvant Angelo & Gretchen Capparella Edward & Cecilia Carlos Paul & Kathleen Castellanos Victor & Carolyn Cavaroc Milton C. Chapman

Organizations $25,000 and above Chevron Entergy Hubert Charitable Foundation Marathon Oil Corporation Arjay and Frances Miller Foundation Shell Oil Company $5,000 to $24,999 American Chemical Society

Qi Chen Holly Jean Clause & Andrew Stoebner Frank M. Coates Jr. Sharon & Clayton Coleman Harry & Joyce Conrad Kenneth C. Corkum Robert L. Curry IV Glen L. Daigre James & Dorothy Dake Frank & Ellen Daspit Aurora Fernandez de Castro Luzmaria Mata de Leder & Harold Leder Martin & Linda DeGravelle Thomas & Elizabeth Demars Richard & Dawn Denne Charles & Martha Diehl William J. Donnaway Jr. William & Latricia Drennen Robert E. Drumm Michael & Rosemarie Eger Sid & Jennifer Felps William Flores & Jane Caldwell Flores William & Avril Font Ann T. Forster David M. Fortenberry Alfred L. Gardner Robert & Paula Gerdes Keith R. Gibson Harold & Verne Green Chritopher & Andrea Grenier Meagan E. Griffith Joseph D. Guillory Jr. Gerald V. Hannan Carolyn H. Hargrave David P. Harper Celeste & Jeffrey Heath Virginia G. Hodge Edward & Suzanne Homan Daniel & Rosemary Hoolihan Marilyn J. Hoyt Brett A. Hutchinson Chad & Jamie Jackson Robert & Jane Jemison Marilyn & Kenneth Jones Thomas G. Jones III Daniel M. Judy Judy C. Kang Jerome & Holly Keister James R. Kemmerly

Baker Hughes Foundation BP America, Inc. Devon Energy Electric Power Research Institute ExxonMobil Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Roy Kiesel Ford Doody & Thurmon APLC Science Applications International Corp.

William Wright Family Foundation

Walter P. Kessinger Jr. Terren & Maria Klein Kenneth & Sandra Kneipp William & Mary Koederitz Thomas A. Lacour Jr. Joseph A. Lamendola Jr. Richard & Elaine LeBlanc Jim Lee Joon H. Lee Karla & Robert Lemoine Robert & Arabella Levorsen Frank & Peggy Listi Yvonne M. Louviere Tiansheng S. Lu Anita S. Lui Bing-Hao Luo Duncan & Sandy MacKenzie Mary & James Maley Ann C. Marchok Stephanie A. Martin William & Marilyn Martin Louis & Dorothy Mattison Andrew & Anne Maverick Roger and Karen May Patrick J. McCormick Henry C. McKowen Robert & Judith McNew Brad & Kay McPherson Glen K. Merrill Shawn & Mary Milligan Judith A. Monte Ronald & Janet Montelaro Sheila L. Moore Jim & Patricia Moroney Harry E. Moseley David & Wendy Muth Frank & Kristy Neubrander Edward P. Nixon Hope & Tom Norman Willette Y. Norman Judith L. O’Neale Charles & Diana O’Niell William H. Opdyke Kevin C. Osburn Glenn & Mildred Ousset Stephen L. Pagans Brian & Jaimee Pangburn Timothy J. Pardue Brad & Susan Patt Dave Patton Linda M. Pett-Conklin Robin & Lynn Philippe Richard W. Pitcher Don Plaisance Norbert & Sylvia Psuty Meghan G. Radtke

Richard T. Rauch James & Lea Reeves Virginia & Gregory Rigamer J. E. Roberts James & Diane Roberts Mary C. Roberts William K. Robinson Douglas & Sharon Rossman Kenneth & F. C. Roussel Lynn Roy & Albert Russo Jr. John H. Runnels George Ruppeiner Jr. Stephen M. Russell Dennis A. Russo Carl T. Sanchez Philip Sandberg & Susan Brown-Sandberg Robert E. Sanford Ashley B. Saucier Thomas & Minh Tho Schulenberg Peter & Diana Scott Lynn Seeholzer David F. Shannon Terence & Kristine Sillett Joel & Marla Silverberg Edward & Terri Simmons Edward D. Sledge Gwen B. Smalley Stacy & Kelly Smith Gene St. Martin Julie & Jody Stagg Charles & Mary Steele Alison & Matthew Styring Patricia H. Suter Michael & Julia Svoren Erick M. Swenson Jesse L. Taylor Scott B. Terrill Christopher & Katherine Thompson Raymond & Jean Turner John & Cindy Tyler Huey H. Tynes Graham A. Vance Shiao Y. Wang Bruce Williamson Hai D. Wu George J. Young Jr.

$500 to $4,999 ACS Baton Rouge Section Albemarle Corporation American Assoc. of Petroleum Geologists American Birding Association Bayou State Oil Corp. Newfield Exploration

up to $99 Richard O. Adolf Ussamah Ahmed Joseph L. Alcorn Jr. Joan C. Alford

Up to $999 Archbishop Shaw High School Dunham School Baton Rouge Magnet High School Benjamin Franklin Senior High School Central High School Dow Chemical Corporation Foundation Erath High School

Charles R. Allor * Lester & Jacquelyn Ancelet Aida & Sidney Anderson Ann Anderson Jane & Tom Anderson Christine E. Angelloz Paul & Barbara Antolik Robert & Linda Ardoin Deidra S. Atkins Johnson & Irene Awumah Champ L. Baker Jr. Jerry W. Ball Miles & Carole Barnett Sharon Barrell & Robert Hetes Victoria M. Bayless Roberta L. Beckers Carol L. Berseth Lawrence C. Bird William & Mary Bisland Allen & Claudia Black Andrey & Larisa Blokhin Louis & Diane Blouse Nell T. Boersma Daniel & Tena Bonnet Kiron C. Bordoloi John & Laura Bosnak Richard E. Boucher Alvin & Mary Ann Boudreaux Kevin A. Boudreaux Jared & McKenzy Boyd Donald M. Bradburn Harold & Priscilla Breaux Roger & Barbara Breedlove Billy & Jaclyn Brizzard Bivion C. Brooking David W. Brown Jr. Joan H. Brown Melody Bruce & David Ray Wendell & Dawn Brumfield Jerry * & Frances Bullock Alexis N. Nacchio Resa F. Burke Thomas W. Byrd John * and Sabra Caldwell Joseph & June Cannizzaro James L. Cantey Hendrik & Mary Carleton Adam W. Chachere Michael & Crystal Chatelain Christina Jia S. Chen Win-Yeu W. Chen Zachary & Christen Cheviron

Hageman Family Foundation North Vermilion High School Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Project Consulting Services Inc. Redemptorist High School St. Aloysius School St. Alphonsus School Stupp Bros. Bridge & Iron Co.

Craig & Patricia Clifford James Coleman & Elizabeth Swiger Stan & Isabel Cowley Elizabeth J. Crandall Janene Crosby Kalman S. Csigi Samuel & Donna Cunningham Jacek M. Cygan Benny & Sandra Daigle Kenneth & Marcia Daigle Clifford E. D’Angelo Doris Darden Anupam & Kasturi Dasgupta William & Peggy Davis Charles E. Davis Brian & Sharon Dearing James L. Decker William B. DeJean Anthony J. DeLucca II Amber A. Denham Daniel B. Denson Gertrude R. Derman Philip & Catherine Disalvo Angela Z. Dorris Matthew R. Dosher Patricia A. Dunhardt & Robert Taylor Robert & Mary Dunnell Michael T. Duplechain Anthony & Jacqueline Duplechin Marc Dupuy Jr. John & Louise Dye Ryan J. Edwards Mary L. Eggart Jeffrey M. Elder Susan A. Epps Jen K. Erbil John E. Erffmeyer Marie C. Erie Robert L. Eubanks Jr. John S. Everett, Jr. John & Susan Exnicios Judith D. Fall Kyle S. Farrar Carolyn H. Feinberg Joelle J. Finley Robert W. Flammang Tom A. Flanagan Jr. Catherine A. Fletcher Peter & Alice Fogg Diane J. Fomby Carol B. Foster


Andrea P. Fournet John F. Fraiche Bethany S. Franke Tony & Ann Fuselier A. R. & Richard Gaines Loganayaki Ganesh Paul T. Gaudet Kathryn L. Giepert Stewart & Clarice Gordon Michael & Virginia Gremillion Stephen K. Griffin Kurt & Wendy Gust Kevin C. Haaga Jene & Maxine Hall Michael & Danella Halle Edward & Amanda Haluska Kyle & Jessica Harms Donna & Brian Harvey Robert N. Harvey James Hebert & Christin Ann Lott Torrie A. Hebert Ludwig C. Heintz Richard & Caroline Henderson Ann Hogan Charles & Ruth Horne Dorothy & John Hudson Susan & Edward Hussey

Morton & Phyllis Isler The SarahPursuit K. Janes 2012

Frances A. Janney David S. Johnson Erik I. Johnson Shelley & Scott Johnson James G. Jolissaint James & Patience Keisler Roy & Margaret Kelly Ronald & Stephanie Kober Robert J. Kramer Sonja & Lucien Laborde Doug & Pat Lacour Tak S. Lam James J. LaNasa, Jr. Donald & Cheryl Langenbeck Patricia P. Lanier Robert F. Lax Terry B. Lein Dawn M. Lemoine Binshan B. Lin Leopold & Josephine Loeb Maria & Andrei Ludu Pamela J. Lulich James & Grace Lutschg Sonny Maciasz Stephen B. Maley Shirley Maxey O. Carruth & Mary McGehee

1860 Society Members Hal & Peggy Aaslestad Mary Lou Applewhite Kenneth C. Corkum Michael & Donna Griffith

Dean’s Circle


Hal & Peggy Aaslestad Eric & Patty Abraham Samuel & Camille Abshire Bruce A. Adams Jr. Baylus R. Albritton Jr. Ronnie & Denise Alvarez Mary Lou Applewhite * Larry & Alice Arthur Frank & Dianne Auer Byrd & Alice Ball Jeremy & Lu Ellen Bariola Charles & Mary Barré * Peggy A. Battalora Mark Batzer & Pam Richard * Charles & Jo Black Bill & Katherine Blake Pat Hewlett Bodin & Eric Bodin George & Debbie Boudreaux Scott & Susan Brodie Brad & Julie Broussard Robert & Linda Brousse Stephen & Cynthia Brown Stephen & Catherine Brown * Jon & Jonell Brubaker Bill & Glenda Brundage Peter & Alice Burland Gary Byerly & Maud Walsh Sybil Callaway & Elias Bou-Waked Kevin Carman & Susan Welsh *

George McGlynn Thomas L. McNeely Jr. Joe L. Meyer J. Scott Miller Nancy I. Miller Linda R. Mills David & Chaleo Morais Jesse & Charlina Mulkey Daniel E. Mulligan Charles & Cindy Murphy Charles R. Neatrour Nancy & Paul Newfield Robert E. Oliver Barret R. Olivier Richard M. Olivier Margaret P. Osborn Elizabeth A. Oszewski Joe Parker Amanda C. Pearson Kenneth & Christi Perret Allen & Elizabeth Phillips Garrett L. Pizzaloto George & Gail * Poche Eddie & Donna Prestridge William & Alice Price Richard & Angela Provensal Dorothy Prowell Erika & Robert Rabalais Stephen C. Rice Leonard & Joan Richardson Stephen L. Richey

Bert & Suellen Riemenschneider Richard G. Roberts Jeanette P. Robideaux James & Krista Roche Angela & Jon Ross Barbara F. Rourke Denise M. Rousseau Aaron & Linda Roy Barbara Saffer Marilyn L. DeVille Virginia E. Sanders William & Diana Sanderson John H. Scandrett Rodney & Helen Schiltz John & Lisa Simpson Barbara A. Smith Suzanne B. Smith Donald M. Soignet Timothy & Ann Sorrells Jimmie P. Spurlock Jr. Sharon B. Staffel David W. Steadman Troye & Olga Svendson Jay C. Svoboda Mary K. Thomas Alison G. Thompson Karl V. Thompson Mack F. Thompson Robert & Betty Toups Trina & Michael Toups

Jeffrey & Alice Trahan Robert & Ellise Turner Linda & John Upton Joseph G. Vallee Willem L. Van Wyngaarden Amanda & Matthew Veazey Emanuel A. Waddell Alan M. Warren Patricia G. Watermeier Philip L. Waterworth Stacey H. Weckstein Frederick & Anna Wehle Stephen & Maria Weimer Edward A. Weisblatt Kathryn L. Wild Kenneth & Shannon Wiley Duane J. Williams Sartor O. Williams, III Charles R. Wilson * deceased The College of Science makes every effort to accurately report donations. If there is an error, please let us know. The names listed in this publication reflect donations given to the College of Science or one its departments through the LSU Foundation from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.

The College of Science 1860 Society recognizes alumni and friends who have made a planned gift to the College that will endow scholarships, programs, professorships, faculty chairs and excellence funds, and will enrich the College with many resources in the future. For more information on the 1860 Society and other planned giving opportunities,go to

Neil & Arlene Kestner Gene St. Martin Virginia L. Mouw James H. Painter

Edward Picou & Dan Armstrong Bill & Gail Pryor James W. Robinson Sr. John & Toni Sardisco

Eileen Skelly Frame & George Frame II Charles M. Smith James R. Stewart Jr. Mary L. Tobin

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 , email or Clarence & Ann Cazalot * Purnell & Joan Choppin * Carlo & Beverly Christina * Hardy & Jeanette Coon * Bill & Janet Daly Gregg & Hyacinth DeMar * Lisa & Scott Dunn L. J. & Chee Chee Gielen Darrin & Felicia Gipson Linda A. Goodrum Beverly Greenwell * Bill & Mary Ellen Hamilton * Reinosuke & Kuni Hara * Frank & Patricia Harrison * Billy & Ann Harrison * John & Terri Havens Dicky & Judy Haydel * George & Ann Hearne Stewart & Lauren Henry * Robert L. Herman Ken & Janet Hogstrom Robert & Joanne Holladay * Michelle & B. B. Holoubek Sarah & Jason Jackson Bryan & Kerri Lynn Kansas Neil & Arlene Kestner Terren & Maria Klein Amanda & Philip Kogos Rich & Helene Kurtz

Arlo & Eunice Landolt Jim & Neilanne Lange Terry & Cheryl Latiolais Jeff & Karen Lewis * Bill & Marilyn Lovell * Barbara J. Lowery-Yilmaz & Recep Yilmaz Robert & Mary MacGregor Gordon P. Marshall Mary & Dennis McKinley Fred & Misty Meendsen Lawrence & Linda Messina John Moore Bonnie M. Muro Ron & Mary Neal * John & Lucinda Noble Stuart & Kim Oden Beverly Ogden & Bayne Dickinson Pamela & Rodney Ott James H. Painter * Jimmie & Ann Peltier * Ed Picou & Dan Armstrong * Charles & Pamela Pinckney Sean & Maureen Potts Chad L. Prather & Camile A. Silva Joe & Kim Reid Rachel & Jason Reina Keith Rhynes & Susan Futayyeh David & Jennifer Rincon

Xiulu Ruan & Ling Cui* Roland & Susan Samson John & Toni Sardisco Erik & Angela Scott Fred Sheldon & Jody Kennard Wayne & Anne Simpson Eileen Skelly Frame & George Frame II Jeffrey & Shelly Sketchler Charles M. Smith * Soc & Esther Socolofsky George & Karin Sonnier Steven & Christine Sotile Lehrue & Betty Stevens Karen Adler Storthz & Joseph Storthz Marvin E. Stuckey Mancheol Suh Phyllis M. Taylor Estes & Brenda Thomas Jim Traynham & Gresdna Doty * Mel & Diane Triay * Harold M. Voss Jan B. Wampold Earl Weidner Keith & Katie White Danny & Kay Williamson * Armour C. Winslow Winnie Wong-Ng * charter members







RONALD J. SIEBELING MEMORIAL FUND Ronald J. Siebeling, PhD, received his BS degree from Hope College in Holland, MI, and later earned an MS degree from the University of Arizona. He came to LSU in 1966 as an assistant professor shortly after completing his PhD at the University of Arizona under the direction of Wayburn Jeter, PhD. His dissertation research related to mechanisms of delated-type hypersensitivity associated with tissue transplantation in rabbits. SIEBELING had a reputation as an outstanding professor of immunology and pathogenic microbiology. His lectures were models of clarity, precision, and insightfulness, masterfully delivered in such a way that his classroom was usually filled with anywhere from 60 to 80 students. The Ronald J. Siebeling Memorial Fund in Biological Sciences was established by many of Ron’s friends, former students, and colleagues who have made gifts in his honor. To date, the College has raised $40,000. The immediate goal of the Ronald J. Siebeling Memorial Fund is to raise $60,000 to establish a professorship that directly impacts graduate student support. Gifts towards this fund will be used to support initiatives that best reflect Dr. Siebeling’s unwavering commitment to LSU and his various contributions as an educator, research scholar, and mentor. The best use of these gifts will be determined by the College of Science Dean. Help keep Ron’s legacy of scholarship, mentorship, and achievement going by giving to the Ronald J. Siebeling Memorial Fund in Biological Sciences. For more information on the Ronald J. Siebeling Memorial Fund or to discuss multi-year pledges to the fund, call Eric Guerin at 225.578.7602 or email

“Ron Siebeling was a great teacher, supportive mentor and dear friend. I support the Ronald J. Siebeling Fund because I will always be indebted to him and his memory.” • James Lange, PhD, Atlanta, GA

(BS ‘69, MS ‘74)

“Dr. Siebeling left a lasting impression on countless students at LSU. He was not shy in making clear what were his expectations. Those expectations drove students to excel. Those of us who worked with him outside the classroom had the privilege of getting to know a man with a larger than life persona.” • Brad Broussard, MD, Lafayette, LA (BS ‘98)

“Few individuals have influenced my life more than Dr. Siebeling. With a gleam in his eye, a hearty laugh and a corn cob pipe in his mouth, he taught me scientific discipline and an appreciation of the influence of creative science. I am grateful for having known him and for the opportunity to have worked with him. Forever Ron Siebeling and Forever LSU!!” • Stephen P. Katz, MD, Alexandria, LA (BS ‘69) “I am honored to contribute to the Memorial Fund for Ron Siebeling. LSU has never known a finer teacher.” • M.D. Socolofsky, PhD

Alumni Professor Emeritus, Microbiology, Baton Rouge, LA

336 Hatcher Hall  Baton Rouge, LA 70803


to the 2012 LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses!

The College of Science salutes nine alums who own or lead some of the world’s fastest growing businesses. All of the LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses are at least 50 percent owned by former LSU students, have all been in business at least five years, and have revenue of at least $100,000 last year. For a complete list of 2012 honorees, go to Daniel Strecker President & CEO C-K Associates Baton Rouge, LA (chemistry) Class of 1981

Bret Esquivel President Immense Networks, LLC Baton Rouge, LA (computer science) Class of 2007

Will Baccich CEO Global Data Vault Dallas, TX (computer science) Class of 1980

Keith Jordan President & COO Indigo Minerals Houston, TX (geology & geophysics) Class of 1979

Brian Pangburn President & CTO The Pangburn Group New Roads, LA (systems science & computer science) Class of 1999 (masters) and 2002 (Ph.D.)

William “Bill” Drennen Senior Vice President Hess Corporation New York, NY (geology & geophysics) Class of 1976

William Clay Kimbrell Kimbrell and Associates Baton Rouge, LA (geology & geophysics) Class of 1981

Rachel S. Reina Baldone Reina Dermatology Covington, LA (zoology) Class of 1995

The PURSUIT is an official publication of the LSU College of Science | 10M | 3/2012

Lisa D. Traina Owner Baton Rouge, LA (computer science) Class of 1982