Contents Environment 4 • A Flood of Concern … The Mighty Mississippi 11 • Horse Fly Studies Show Impact of BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster 12 • Measuring the Dead Zone
Louisiana 14 • Louisiana Lagniappe 18 • Listening to Louisiana Women 22 • Sense of Place … LSU Screenwriting Professor Writes for HBO’s “Treme” 24 • The Public Policy Research Lab
Undergraduate Research 25 • “Writing” Past Wrongs 28 • The Gold Standard: Undergraduate Research at LSU 30 • The French Connection: LSU Undergraduates Get International Experience
Multidisciplinary Work 31 • Sustainable Collaboration 36 • Into the Abyss: Where Art and Science Converge
Economic Development 38 • A Different Kind of Networking: LSU Researchers Develop and Support Biomedical Research Network in Louisiana
40 • Groundbreaking Graphics: Building a World-Class Video Game Design Program in the Deep South 44 • A Material World: LSU Materials Science Group Lands Major Grant 46 • E. J. Ourso College of Business’ Louisiana Business & Technology Center
Awards & Acknowledgements 47 • LSU Distinguished Research Masters 48 • The Midas Touch 50 • Rainmakers 52 • Faculty Awards 54 • Dirty Research 56 • Media Shelf 58 • VetMed World Congress 59 • Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series
Annual Report 60 – 61 Five Year Funding Trend Federal Funding Patents Issued
LSU and its subsidiary units have successfully competed for and received grants supporting several extensive biomedical training programs with the collective goal of developing and sustaining a thriving biomedical research network across the state of Louisiana. Read more about the innovative programs going on at the university on page 38.
RESEARCH LSU Research is published annually by the Office of Research & Economic Development, Louisiana State University, with editorial offices in 130 David F. Boyd Hall, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Any written portion of this publication may be reprinted without permission as long as credit for LSU Research is given. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of LSU faculty or administration.
Send correspondence to Office of Research & Economic Development, to the address above, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 225-578-5833 Visit us on the Web at: www. research.lsu.edu
Louisiana State University and Office of Research & Economic Development Administration Michael Martin, Chancellor John Maxwell Hamilton, Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost, Academic Affairs Thomas R. Klei, Interim Vice Chancellor, Research & Economic Development Matthew R. Lee, Associate Vice Chancellor, Research & Economic Development Kalliat T. Valsaraj, Associate Vice Chancellor, Research & Economic Development
LSU Research Publisher and Executive Editor: Matthew R. Lee Editor: Ashley Berthelot Coordinator: Holly Carruth Contributing writers: Ashley Berthelot, Melissa Foley, Ginger Guttner, Katherine Harrington, Matthew Lee, Aaron Looney, Zac Lemoine, Tamara Mizell Design: Steve Radcliffe/LSU Office of Communications & University Relations Photographers: Eddy Perez and Jim Zietz
LSU IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/ACCESS UNIVERSITY Produced by the LSU Office of Communications & University Relations 353-0001 â€˘ 2M â€˘ 11/11
Louisiana State University is the state’s flagship university. As one of only a handful of Land, Sea, and Space grant institutions in the country, LSU has a diverse portfolio of research and creative activity. In 2011, our researchers and scholars continue to explore the frontiers of knowledge, help lead the state into the 21st century, and impact the lives of people and their communities across the globe. In this annual report of our research, funding and intellectual property activity, the reader will be given a glimpse of some of our most cutting edge research and creative endeavors that vibrantly illustrate the deep commitment our faculty have to excellence at every level. Our faculty focus their research on environmental matters ranging from the impact of opening spillways designed to tame the mighty Mississippi river to a Superfund project on air pollution to the hypoxia related ‘Dead Zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, the significant work our faculty do pertaining to Louisiana is also highlighted here, whether it is an English professor serving as a screenwriter for an acclaimed television series or a cutting edge oral history project on women’s lives in Louisiana. Our efforts to advance biomedical research training are evident in the multiple interrelated programs profiled here that together account for millions of dollars in external funding, and the ongoing focus on coastal sustainability—a defining challenge for this state for the foreseeable future—is also profiled within. The ways in which our faculty are able to blur intellectual boundaries are also apparent in the ‘Into the Abyss’ project, detailing how art and science at LSU converge. Undergraduate students are critical to the research mission as well, and their accomplishments are also illustrated. Our broader impact on economic development is also something we take great pride in, and our growing partnership with EA Sports and the establishment of a video game design program speaks directly to one of the future directions our state is taking in the area of digital media. Finally, a world class research university like LSU relies on internationally prominent and award-winning faculty to sustain the research and creative program. In spite of the budget challenges of recent years, our awards section is packed with AAAS fellow inductees, Rainmakers, Distinguished Research Masters and multimillion dollar grant recipients. Their creativity and innovation lay the foundation for this great institution, and their work impacts the lives of our students and of many others around the globe. Thank you for taking the time to explore the variety of scholarly activity that takes place at LSU, and we hope you enjoy reading about all the wonderful things happening at our institution.
Thomas R. Klei Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development
A Flood of Concern
What happens when the Mississippi River overflows its boundaries, causing the spillway systems in Louisiana to be opened? The Mississippi River has long held an almost mystical place in our imaginations. As the most powerful river in the United States and the fourth-longest river in the world, its position in music, literature and folklore is understandable. But those living near it — and the scientists who study it — have a different kind of respect for the mighty river, which in the spring of 2011 reminded us that manmade boundaries cannot wholly restrict the path of a river on the rampage … and sometimes, those structures actually produce unintended consequences of their own. With Louisiana’s wetlands already delicate and disappearing at the rate of a football field every 40 minutes, understanding the full impact of opening manmade flood relief structures is more important now than ever – and might even hold the key to restoring what once was an integral part of the state.
When opened, the Bonnet Carré spillway, located near New Orleans, Louisiana, delivers floodwaters from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain through a total of 350 bays. In April and May of 2011, when a combination of unusually high precipitation and annual snowmelt caused the river to swell well beyond its boundaries, inundating highly-populated areas like Nashville, Tennessee, the Army Corps of Engineers was forced to open 330 bays in order to divert high water from New Orleans and Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge. But, many wondered, at what cost? A team of LSU researchers, including geologist and principal investigator Samuel Bentley, decided to find out. Bentley, a marine sedimentologist whose most recent line of research focuses on the fate of the Mississippi Delta, immediately contacted his National Science Foundation program director,
and asked if a proposal focusing on what happens in the spillways after they’re opened might be well received. The answer was a resounding “yes” and, soon after, the team from LSU had almost $100,000 supporting them, with another $20,000 or so from the Louisiana Sea Grant Program. “This is an exciting time for researchers,” said Bentley, who recently returned from a five-year stint in Canada. “The ideas that are being talked about in the region aren’t new, but what is new is the government’s interest and willingness to look at it in new ways.” Bentley serves as the principal investigator for the grant, titled “Sediment, water and nutrient flux and fate in Lake Pontchartrain from the 2011 Bonnet Carré Spillway Opening.” In addition to Bentley and his team from Geology & Geophysics, who spent their time collecting data and analyzing the flow of sediment into and out of the system, several co-investigators from the School of Coast & Environment’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences led teams focusing on different areas including: John White, whose group studied nutrient transport; Sibel Bargu, who looked at the impact of nutrients on harmful algal blooms; Nan Walker, director of the Earth Scan Laboratory who provided satellite imagery tracking everything from water temperature to sediment paths; and Chunyan Li, whose team looked at water input and exit from the Lake Pontchartrain system as well as the mixing of the lake and river waters under various tidal and wind conditions. Additional researchers funded through different mechanisms include biologist Gary King and chemist Robert Cook. Cook measured the fluorescence of dissolved carbon to track its transport and utilization in order to understand the impact of spillway opening on the carbon within the lake waters, while King looked at the microbial profile of samples filtered for Cook’s lab. With a bevy of researchers working together in an organized network and basing research off one another’s expertise, the hope is that soon we will have a comprehensive view of what goes on in the Mississippi River spillways when they are engaged.
“The measurements were very labor intensive, and very much a group effort,” said Bentley. “Without the number of people involved in the research, we wouldn’t have been able to have so many samples. Also, without unique LSU attributes like the Earth Scan Lab, our understanding of this event – and those prior to it, wouldn’t be possible.” Each researcher, while focused on his/her own area of study, actively collected samples for the others involved, so that each would have the materials needed to facilitate thorough, well-rounded research. The entire group involved in the research, which is expansive, has been able to obtain measurements prior to, during, and after the event, with final samples expected to be taken in fall 2011. Overall, the entire lake has been sampled three times, including sediment cores, plus weekly samples from a transect, as well as continuous recording of water level, temperature, salinity and flow velocity at a number of locations for several months. “This was also a great opportunity for our graduate students, particularly Eric Roy and Emily Smith, to gain critical hands-on experience in the field,” said Bargu. “Eric
and Emily were not only gathering samples at least once a week, but were also able to utilize this experience to gather research for their dissertations.”
Water Flow Analysis In 2008, the spillway was opened a bit earlier in April, when water temperatures were much cooler. In 2011, though the Bonnet Carré was opened later, nearly triple the amount of water passed into the system as during the previous opening. “One of the most interesting things we’ve seen is that when water enters the system, a plume of fresher but relatively cold water forms, which subsequently expands into the lake and partially mixes with the lake water,” said Li. “Our models and the Earth Scan Lab images were able to show that the plume water, when pushing into a new system, is driven mostly by wind and partly tidal oscillations, which can have a combination of complex flows and eddies inside the lake and relatively strong coastal currents along the shorelines.” In fact, observations show that when the spillway was opened in 2008, approximately 40 percent of the lake
was never occupied by the introduced river water. That’s not the case this time … according to the group’s in situ measurements and satellite remote sensing of images from the Earth Scan Lab, the introduced water covered 70 – 80 percent of the lake. With an acoustic Doppler current profiler mounted on a small boat, a conductivity-temperature-depth profiler and a surface thermosalinograph, Li’s group was able to map the sharp plume boundary where the river and lake waters mix. They also used these instruments to map the total water flux at the spillway on the lake side. As much as 7,000 cubic meters per second of river water was measured during one of the surveys along the two-mile spillway in the lake. To complement the in situ observations using small boats and satellite remote sensing, Li’s group also used bottom-mounted acoustic Doppler current meters and conductivity-temperature-depth sensors deployed at both bottom and surface to record the water velocity, temperature and salinity every 15 minutes at the Rigolets and Chef Menteur, the two tidal passes that connect the lake with the coastal ocean.
The data collected from these instruments will help us to understand how fast the introduced river water flushed out of the lake in the few months after the opening of the spillway. These hydrodynamics data, combine with Walker’s satellite data, will also be combined with sediment data from Bentley’s group, chemistry data from White’s group, and biological data from Bargu’s group for a comprehensive understanding of the fate and impact of the Mississippi River water and waterborne materials such as suspended sediments and nutrients delivered into the lake system and its ultimate function in affecting the ecosystem as a whole.
Sediment Analysis In simple terms, Bentley’s group focused on determining how much mud, sand and silt came out of the Mississippi River and into the spillway. “This was our first opportunity to be able to look firsthand at the rate and manner in which sediment travels through a major diversion into a contained area such as Lake Pontchartrain,” said Bentley. “It’s approximately the same rate that we need to reproduce in order to save the
The Bonnet Carré spillway, located near New Orleans, Louisiana, delivers floodwaters from the Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain through a total of 350 bays when opened.
delta region. The Bonnet Carré is on the upper end of the same order of magnitude as other diversions being designed for the purpose of sediment transport to coastal wetland regions.” So far, they estimate sediment deposit rates at around 1-4 million tons, based on concentrations in previous openings multiplied by the amount of water input measured by Li’s group. “That is an environmentally significant amount of sediment,” Bentley said. But how does a researcher determine that the sediment found in Lake Pontchartrain is actually from the spring 2011 flood event? He uses a naturally occurring radioisotope called Beryllium-7, which has a half-life of only 54 days, making it easily traceable to recent events. It sticks to sediment, and because of flow patterns, tends to concentrate in river water, so it has become the isotopic signature of freshly deposited sediment.
According to Bentley, some researchers believe that in order to access the most sediment, diversions needed to tap into the areas closest to the riverbed. But the Bonnet Carré only uses the top 20-30 feet of the water column, and so far, its sediment load has proven substantial. “The key to designing sediment diversions is sustainability,” said Bentley. “You have to remember that there has to be a sediment source that can be tapped over the years.” Measurements indicate thick deposits with layers 3 to 4 inches thick around the opening of Lake Pontchartrain, but satellite imagery from Walker’s Earth Scan Laboratory shows fine sediment particles throughout the lake and beyond. The entire system eventually empties into Louisiana’s wetland areas, where coastal erosion is at its worst, and then into the Gulf of Mexico. “We can’t restore the wetlands to where they were 100 years ago, but we can develop better mechanisms of conservation to reduce future losses,” said Bentley.
Nutrients and Algal Blooms While it was the first time a group has measured sediment rates, John White and Sibel Bargu were able to conduct research when the Bonnet Carré was last opened in 2008. “The problem with the situation is that no one wants to fund research focusing on Lake Ponchartrain when there isn’t an impending flood event, and therefore no one really understands what the lake looks like over the course of a normal summer,” said White. “So, we have lots of results from our work in 2008, but after going back in 2011, one thing is certain: the research community doesn’t know a whole lot about this environment, at least as far as the aspects of our research go.” White and Bargu’s research is inextricably linked because of the impact excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) can have on algae and algal blooms. White’s tests showed nitrate-nitrogen levels were slightly lower in 2011 than they were in 2008, most likely because of the bigger volume of water that was introduced to the lake ecosystem. This year, approximately 25, 400 metric tons of nitrate-nitrogen and 1,100 metric tons of dissolved inorganic phosphorus entered Lake Pontchartrain from the spillway, a nutrient load roughly 2.5 times that observed in 2008. Bargu studied phytoplankton, with a main concern that a flood of nutrients flushed in with excess river water would create a harmful bloom of cyanobacteria, potentially toxic bacteria harmful to both humans and marine life. “In 2008, we saw an increase in toxic cyanobacteria, so we expected to see an even bigger biomass this time,” she said. “But that didn’t happen.” However, during the last event there was a significant delay in time between the influx of river water into Lake Pontchartrain and the beginning of the toxic bloom. It is possible that this lag could occur again, especially if a hurricane were to impact the lake environment, since one concern is that the re-suspension of nutrient-rich sediment can fuel the cyanobacterial bloom even when the water column is depleted.
chlorophyll levels in the lake for many years and they have seen cyanobacteria blooms in the summertime. But they are sampling from a specific area of the lake that doesn’t necessarily get its nutrients only from the spillway. So the bloom dynamics where they sample may be different than the areas directly affected by the spillway. More spatiallyspecialized monitoring is needed to understand the algal bloom dynamics of the lake when the spillway is open vs. when it is closed. If we were able to take these measurements more often and truly understand what drives these cyanobacteria blooms, we would determine how to manage resources to avoid them,” she said. “Since the rate of flow is so dramatic and the resultant turbulence is so significant, that could be a determining factor in why we aren’t seeing blooms,” said Bargu. “Algal blooms need stable water to breed.” And, as Li’s research proves, the rate of flow into the system was so turbulent that the environment was not conducive to the formation of blooms, at least while the Bonnet Carré gates were opened. Robert Cook is looking at dissolved organic matter, or DOM, which gives fresh water its brownish color, to determine what happens when increased amounts enter the lake system, and if the influx might add to the potential for algal blooms. “We are using excitation—emission matrix [EEM] fluorescence to give us 3-D fingerprinting capabilities with the DOM,” said Cook. “With this, we can track introduced DOM and see compositional changes, allowing us to see how it is being used in the environment and in the food chain.” Since a large amount of this organic matter comes from terrestrial sources but is converted into microbial matter through consumption, it can affect the food chain and carbon production. “Understanding where the DOM goes, what happens to it and how it’s changed can impact carbon balancing, which has implications for things like the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone and other important issues,” said Cook.
“What fueled the blooms, and what caused the delay? It Since there seems to be little data connecting the could be delayed due to sediment reintroduction to storms, past opening to 2011’s, it is a little frustrating for but we just don’t know,” Bargu mused. “Turner et al. (LSU) researchers. But 2008 presented them with a so-called and Rabalais et al. (LUMCON) have been monitoring “dry run”; in other words, it was an opportunity to try out
testing methods and also determine the gaps in their methodology. “Basically, what we have learned is that we have a lot to learn,” said White. “We expected to see some form of pattern emerge between the two events, but so far there hasn’t been one. We have results, but no connections between them yet. That’s going to take continuous study over an extended period of time. “
Mysterious Developments As soon as the final numbers are in, the LSU group will connect with state and regional authorities, including the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as other researchers, to further develop the big picture of what this means and how it can be applied. While the results are thus far inconclusive, a new and intriguing question has emerged: what is going on with the pH level of Lake Pontchartrain? In 2008, the pH levels of the lake remained in large part normal, with short-lived spikes here and there. In 2011, however, the researchers have found levels near 5 in the Mississippi River plume coming from the spillway, a level that can result in aluminum toxicity and other problems. “For a reference point, we see levels of around 9 when there are algal blooms present, and around 7.7 when there are no blooms around,” said Bargu. “Normally, we do not see unusual pH levels in the lake at this time of year. This was unique to this particular spillway event.” This situation did not occur in 2008, when pH levels remained normal throughout the lake. Though the researchers aren’t sure where the abnormal pH levels are coming from, that’s all part of the game, said White. “This is the fun part of science,” he said. “Finding something that doesn’t make sense, then making sense of it – that’s what it’s all about.”
Did you know that LSU has a 24 x 48-foot model Small Scale Physical Model of the lower 84 miles of the Mississippi River? It gives researchers the ability to model a year’s worth of river activity in only 30 minutes.
Studies Show Impact of
BP Deepwater Horizon
disaster Tamara Mizell
Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, Department of Entomology Professors Lane Foil and Claudia Husseneder sought to assess the damages to tidal marshes in Louisiana. Foil and Husseneder surmised that greenhead horse flies (Tabanus nigrovittatus), a native species, could serve as ideal bioindicators of ecosystem health and as logical benchmarks for such a study. Under normal conditions, populations are consistent; adult females are autogenous and can lay 150 eggs without a bloodmeal. In order to reach adulthood, a process of three to nine months, horse fly larvae need abundant food sources. Due to their rate of maturity and dependence on a healthy ecosystem, their populations are representative of marsh conditions for the previous year. Made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Foil and Hussenederâ€™s testing revealed that, after the oil spill, adult populations were decimated along the coast, in places like Grand Isle and other barrier islands, while populations in western Louisiana remained plentiful. The professors are currently conducting research to use for comparison to last yearâ€™s benchmark data so they can examine long-term effects on population density and genetic diversity, identify the mechanisms of the acute toxicity, and analyze the health of the food chain. Both graduate and undergraduate students from LSU, as well as scientists from other coastal states, are assisting in the research. Analysis of both years should be completed by April 2012. Foil and Husseneder also hope to obtain funding for continued sampling through 2012 since the impact of the disaster is still evident in marshy areas like those around Barataria Bay.
e h t g n i r u s a e M Ashley Berthelot The Hypoxia Research Team, led by researchers at LSU and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, or LUMCON, released their annual Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone measurements in August 2011. The group has been conducting mid-summer mapping cruises since 1985, and the areas determined on these cruises form the basis of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Task Force Hypoxia Action Plan to reduce the size of the low oxygen area to 5,000 square kilometers (about 1,930 square miles). The 2011 hypoxic, or oxygen-depleted, area measured 17,520 square kilometers, or 6,765 square miles, which is larger than the average Dead Zone spread (17,350 square kilometers), but below the size expected following record-breaking flow of the Mississippi River in the spring and summer. Turner and Rabalais survey the Gulf.
“The major disruptor of the size was Tropical Storm Don that followed the Research Vessel Pelican across the Gulf of Mexico towards Texas and whipped up the winds and waves,” said LUMCON chief scientist and LSU adjunct faculty member Nancy Rabalais. Mixing of the water column re-supplies oxygen to the lower layers and reduces the area of low oxygen, at least temporarily. Hypoxia was more severe and extensive off two lines of stations in midJuly—one off Terrebonne Bay and one off Atchafalaya Bay.
The Hypoxia Research Team travels to the Gulf of Mexico annually to test, process, then report findings.
Researchers gather water samples for evaluation.
Hypoxia is a recurring environmental problem in Louisiana (and sometimes Texas and Mississippi) offshore waters. It forms as a result of the nutrient-overloaded waters of the Mississippi River stimulating the excess growth of phytoplankton. Symptoms of a hypoxic region include sightings of marine animals known to be bottom-dwellers. Researchers on the 2011 cruise reported seeing both mud eels and blue crabs at surface level. “The indisputable linkage between water quality in the river and its effect off of Louisiana’s coast means that we need to work with the farmers in the Midwest,” said R. Eugene Turner, LSU professor of oceanography and coastal sciences. “They also have water quality problems, and these become our problems, including harming coastal wetland restoration efforts. This is a large and complex issue that we hope will be addressed with some of the 2010 oil spill restoration funds.” Research on the dead zone requires lots of time and equipment.
Want to know more? Visit www.gulfhypoxia.net for news and updates about the Hypoxia Research Teamâ€™s latest findings.
There’s something about Louisiana that’s just plain interesting. Everything from the culture to the cuisine is exotic and unique. Cajun and Creole influence infuses nearly everything about the state, including the way its inhabitants speak. But that lilting Cajun accent isn’t just cute and charming —it may also make identifying speech and language impairments in the children of our state difficult. Researcher Janna Oetting, together with Michael Hegarty and Janet McDonald, are facing that problem head-on to make sure that tests are available to meet the needs of Louisiana’s children. For these researchers, the dialects of Louisiana are far more than lagniappe.
“Nationally, only 29 percent of kindergarteners with Specific dialect. The study of language development and language Language Impairment [SLI] are identified and receive any impairment for non-standard dialects is therefore a support or assistance; we believe the rate is even lower in pressing need. Louisiana because of issues related to the understudy of In July 2009, the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, our dialects,” said Oetting. “This is troubling because we recognized the importance of studying Louisiana dialects also know that close to 60 percent of kindergarteners with and rectifying this situation in the form of a five-year, $1.8 this impairment will present with a reading impairment million grant. in fourth grade. Children with impairments who speak Standard English are identified much younger and much “This project and its results hold theoretical interest to more often. In areas of Louisiana and elsewhere where linguists and psychologists as well as speech-language nontraditional dialects are spoken, the fear is that we’re pathologists—hence the composition of the research missing a lot of children.” team,” said McDonald, interim associate dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and director Worse yet, some children may be considered speech or of Interdisciplinary Programs. “It also has real practical language impaired when in actuality, they happen to implications for the children in Louisiana and elsewhere speak what’s known as a non-standard form of the English who are non-standard dialect speakers.” language. This is especially common in Louisiana. Oetting and her colleagues lead a large team of graduate Standard American English is not a dialect of English, but students from LSU’s Department of Communication rather, a collection of dialects which have high national Sciences & Disorders, Department of Psychology and the visibility, and which, for historical reasons, are widely Interdepartmental Linguistics Program, to study how considered to exemplify American English. Standard the mind handles language and how children acquire American English dialects include ones commonly spoken it, specifically regarding abstract grammar rules, such by middle and upper class Whites in the central and as verb agreement with a subject and the expression of upper Midwest, and in urban areas throughout much of tense. The group focuses on children with SLI, which the Western U.S. Non-standard dialects are ones with refers to children who have no other discernible cognitive pronunciations and/or grammatical features, which are impairment or contributing health factors but who notably different from the standard, for example, the nevertheless lag in the mastery of language, measured speech of people throughout the Southeastern U.S., in against linguistic timetables. In 2010, they began to Brooklyn, or the rural West, and distinctive forms of conduct their field research in Assumption and West African-American speech throughout the country. NonBaton Rouge parishes and by 2014, they hope to have standard dialects are the native or “home” dialects of tens kindergarten data from Iberville and St. James also. of millions of speakers throughout the country, including speakers of all education levels and all racial and ethnic The research is two-pronged: first, the researchers want to groups, even though some learn to employ standard document dialects of Southern Louisiana more fully. American English for business or professional purposes. “There’s not one Southern white dialect, and there’s not just Studies of child language development and of language one African American dialect,” said Oetting. “Every town impairment have most commonly been conducted in we visit has a different, distinct dialect that has similarities northern urban or suburban settings where standard to its neighbors, but also lots of variation within itself.” American English is common, and some have deliberately The second goal is to develop tools essential for measuring focused on standard dialects in order that a single set aspects of language development that are specifically tailored of results might have the widest applicability. This has to Louisiana dialects, language subsets that include African facilitated comparison of results across studies, and it American English, Southern White English, Creole, Cajun has facilitated the development of theoretical tools and and any combination thereof, but before that can be done, methods of empirical investigation in these fields. But the team must clearly identify problems with existing tests. the results obtained in studies of standard dialects do not necessarily apply, or play out in the same way, for the “Right now, we’re working with the Diagnostic Evaluation majority of American speakers who speak a non-standard of Language Variation test, which was created in 2003.
This tool was designed to assess children who speak a wide range of dialects but it wasn’t field tested with a large number of Louisiana children,” said Oetting. “We are putting it through its paces to see if it’s flagging or missing those children with documented clinical speech and language impairments.” What they’re finding is consistent with the original concern—the test is not sensitive to the variety of dialects found in South Louisiana and therefore the accuracy of this test is not as good as the normative data suggests. “It isn’t sensitive to the many dialects our children produce because it only offers three different dialect categories and it isn’t as sensitive to impairment as we would like it to be because it is over-classifying children as impaired.” said Oetting. “We’d like to increase the dialect levels to at least five and change some of the items to better reflect the grammar structures of our dialects. At its current level, it’s simply not detailed enough to be beneficial in areas that have a high level of dialect variation.” Oetting and colleagues are grateful for the support they have received from the public schools. They have been welcomed into schools with open arms, spending the first year after receiving NIH support testing their stimuli and their second year collecting one-fourth of their projected data. “Children also love our experiments because we use laptops with videos of adults, children, and a large number of puppets.” “Language researchers from all over are constantly surprised at the amount of data we at LSU are able to collect from the residents of our state,” said Oetting. “But that’s because of the immense pride people here have in their Louisiana culture. They’re proud of their languages, and rightfully so.” In fact, more than 76 percent of parents signed consent forms to allow their children to participate in the study in 2010; in other parts of the country, rate of consent form return can be as low as 30 percent. With data from 115 children collected in 2010, they are set to meet their target of 300 children ahead of schedule. So far, their work confirms that grammar measures need to be a part of testing; however, these markers need to be customized to reflect the children’s Louisiana dialects. One interesting identifier they have been able to consistently report is known as the “Zero BE,” the result of
omitting occurrences of BE used as an auxiliary or linking verb. This structure is sometimes omitted in a range of Louisiana dialects; however, omission isn’t random. While “is” and “are” forms are omitted in up to 80 percent of nonstandard dialects, “am, was and were” are almost never left out. Therefore, when a kindergartener doesn’t produce “am, was, and were” that is one sign they can use to rule in a language impairment for that child. Of course, additional testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis, but a child’s nonuse of some forms of BE can be telling. Another interesting discovery they have made is that children speaking various Louisiana dialects add and omit certain grammar structures. This reflects a highly productive and creative use of what some might consider improper English, making statements such as “I knows about that,” or “I cookeded the food.” However, children with impairments primarily omit grammar structures, as in, “Yesterday, I cook.” This is in large part because typically developing dialect-speaking students have strong language systems to draw from, so their creativity is based in part on their strong language abilities. Children with impairments simply don’t have the language abilities to produce a high number of innovative and complex grammar expressions. “We need our test to recognize that children who speak in these Louisiana dialects produce ‘am/was/were’ at different rates than ‘is’ and ‘are.’ So, in this state, we need to target all five of the ‘be’ forms,” said Oetting. “In so-called standard English dialect testing, we might only need a small sample of the ‘be’ forms because in that dialect, children produce ‘am, are’ and ‘is’ at similar rates.” However, although the literature led clinicians to believe that their current tools might be inappropriate for dealing with Louisiana dialects, Oetting’s data is showing that this isn’t completely true. “Right now, what we’re seeing is that some of our tools and existing tests can be modified and, more importantly, it looks like we can use a combination of tools and mathematical models to develop empirically-derived combinations of tools and clinical cut-offs for these tools to identify children with impairment,” she said. “We are learning many things,” said Oetting. “Some grammar omissions seem to be tied to the cultural origin. For instance, in some areas such as Pierre Part where Cajun English is commonly spoken, the word ‘to’ is
often omitted and we suspect that it is omitted at higher rates in Cajun English areas than in areas where other dialects are spoken. “Andrew Rivière, a native speaker of Cajun French and English and current Ph.D. student in Communication Disorders is working on our project and with his help, we may be able to tie the children’s high rates of ‘Zero To’ to their families’ French roots.”
higher than we expected but lower than the 45 percent fail rate Oetting has previously documented for preschoolers.” “We want this particular screener to err on the side of overidentifying. Children flagged in this case simply get more testing—it doesn’t mean that the child is impaired,” said Oetting. If used in the public schools, “Our information should help clinicians get a sense of what he/she can
“Language researchers from all over are constantly surprised at the amount of data we at LSU are able to collect from the residents of our state.” — Janna Oetting
Oetting’s students pour through data in the hope of improving tests for Louisiana’s non-standard dialectspeaking children.
That is what is so special about this project—it ties a language-based need of the state to its own unique cultural past.
expect with this screening tool and the rate of false positives; it will also give us a good baseline from which we can test other screeners we might develop in the future.”
“In my experience, when college students realize that their culture, specifically their language, can be studied as a scientific topic, passions develop and career goals are established,” said Oetting. “Students are always amazed when they learn that they can study the way their family communicates. Suddenly, college becomes ‘a fascinating puzzle’ for them, and because LSU is so uniquely situated, students from other parts of the country are beginning to come here just for that type of language-based research.”
While they’re definitely making process, the end-goal is to develop tools essential for language development that are specifically tailored to several Louisiana dialects, including a number of different African American English dialects, Southern White English, Creole, Cajun, and any combination thereof.
“Currently, the group’s fail rate on the language screener we are using has over-identified childhood impairment within our sample. Its fail rate last year was 31 percent which is
“Most people think of language and their minds immediately think of the arts,” said Oetting. “But studying language, literacy, and language disorders is just as scientific—and important—as topics in the physical sciences.”
All history was once an oral tradition, but the advent of the written word created lasting first-hand accounts. Stories and entire histories that had been passed down through the spoken word were transcribed in stone, scrolls, books, and now computers. Once the technology was created to capture and reproduce sounds, a recording, the oral tradition was revitalized. Today there are droves of audio recordings of historical events, but unique are the first-hand accounts of people’s histories—told in their own voices. Associate Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies faculty affiliate Alecia P. Long began “Listening to Louisiana Women” as part of a service learning course she created in 2009.
I would love to see us get to the place where we could talk about real issues … things that really should matter, instead of peeking into somebody’s bedroom and worrying about what they’re doing behind closed doors.
The course, HIST 3119, originally looked at sexuality and the way its expression and regulation have changed through the course of U.S. history. By adding the service learning component, Long enabled her students to do oral history and develop the skills necessary to conduct in-depth interviews, which enhanced their understanding of the course content and enabled them to look at the history of sexuality in a different way. Oral history is a qualitative method of collecting and preserving unrecorded information about the past that fill gaps in the written record and results in the creation of primary resources.
My mother had a cousin with whom she was very close. That cousin got pregnant in 1944 and had an illegal abortion. I know it affected my mother. I think it’s what made her pro-choice.
“Oral history has a number of advantages,” said Long. “One of which is you have to develop the ability to ask questions about people’s lives in a different way – particularly by developing open-ended questions that don’t privilege your own values and judgments.”
Long and her students interviewed nearly 50 women, ranging in age from 22 to 92, from around the state with regard to how they felt their gender affected them economically, civically, legally, and socially.
The goal was to provide information and knowledge about the lives of Louisiana women and (to bring up issues that aren’t normally part of the broad social dialogue). But Long believes that it is difficult to generalize about the lives of Louisiana women.
So it’s very difficult to have meaningful conversations about issues with people whose opinions differ because when we get down to it, all we have is these little sound bites that don’t actually talk to each other. They just get louder and louder.
“My students asked open-ended questions about sexuality, reproduction, and social equality,” said Long. “Women have shared stories with us that are searing in their detail.” The interviews were conducted to give subjects the opportunity to speak about and reflect on the links among sexuality, reproduction and social equality in their own lives.
And I said, “Well, how do you see our future? How many children?” He said, “Well, we’ll have the children God gives. If he gives fourteen, that’s how many.” And I was looking at him and I was thinking, “okay, well, I’m out of here.”
Many questions focused on the experiences of Louisiana women with regard to policies related to reproductive health services. Interviewees had the option to share relevant responses with the project’s servicelearning partner, Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta, which may, in turn, use those responses to provide education and information about public policies that improve access to reproductive health services and information. Long began publicizing the project in 2009, seeking women throughout the community through press releases, social media and newspapers. It was entirely a voluntary endeavor on the part of the women who have shared their stories.
While the interviews will be housed at the LSU T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History in order to provide primary sources of the history of Louisiana women, the students who conducted the interviews will not soon forget the stories they documented. The benefits to the students aren’t only the profound effect of listening to these stories. “It’s also a fairly direct way to create a primary source. These students, who are interested in history, learn how historians function,” said Long. The funding support for this project was provided though a Ford Foundation grant. Additional support also came from the following entities: LSU, Louisiana State Museum, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, LSU Department of History, The T. Harry Williams Oral History Center, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, and LSU’s Center For Communing Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL.
Because of course in Louisiana, your next of kin is by definition people in your birth family, first and foremost. And if you have any children, they have to inherit at least 50 percent of your estate. So for gay people, you know, you have to have those legal instruments or else you’re really risking it.
“I think the project has potential for accumulating a unique
But where I’m left with it is, I’m tired of the female body being a legislative item. Why isn’t the male body a legislative item? Whether anybody wants to admit it or not, the good old boy network is alive and well. set of interviews with Louisiana women that have value in the present but also in the future,” said Long. “As a result, we will have gained more intimate and accurate knowledge of the lives of the women in this state.” Pictured at left top: Donna Brazile, founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC Pictured at left: Alecia Long, Associate Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies faculty affiliate Pictured above: Mary Kathleen “Katy” Coyle, assistant vice president at R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates.
Sense of Place
LSU Screenwriting Professor Writes for HBO’s
People along the Gulf Coast have had their share of recent manmade and natural disasters to contend with, from oil spills to hurricanes, and from those trials, both heartbreaking and inspiring stories have emerged. Last April, a new series began on HBO, which zoomed in on one microcosm of destruction surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Named after one of the oldest and most historically significant neighborhoods in New Orleans, “Treme” began its story months after the city’s levees broke and loosely chronicled events from 2005-06. Creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer wove the uniqueness of New Orleans and South Louisiana culture into a universal narrative of loss, grief, hope, and resilience. After the first episode, HBO quickly renewed the series for a second season to be set in 2006-07. Through blogs and conversations, many New Orleanians proclaimed “Treme” the most realistic film/TV depiction of life in the Crescent City, albeit at the worst time in its history, and saw the show as not only an opportunity for catharsis, but as a way to help the viewing world understand, to some extent, life after devastation. Associate Professor of English and New Orleans resident Mari Kornhauser was in her first semester teaching screenwriting at LSU when Katrina struck in fall 2005. “At that point, I kind of lost interest in fiction film making because I was in New Orleans when it happened and it just changes your life perspective,” said Kornhauser. “I just felt my services were needed elsewhere—teaching, rebuilding, defending New Orleans—so I dropped the [independent film] project I was doing and primarily focused on teaching and getting used to LSU.” Slowly, Kornhauser began to take on small side projects and when “Treme” aired in spring 2010, she became a regular viewer. As a friend of Overmyer and fan of Simon’s previous shows like “The
“My writing is very connected to my sense of place,” said Kornhauser. “It was very interesting for me, for my own personal psychology, to go back and look at it with some distance [after Katrina] and explore a new sense of place when I was doing research for ‘Treme.’” Kornhauser had written scripts for three feature films, released worldwide, and worked on numerous other projects, but had never written for television. In meetings, during script revisions, and on the set, she soaked up as much knowledge as she could. “I am so in awe of people who do television now because it’s like doing an 11-hour feature,” she said. “In my humble opinion, I’m working for some of the best writers in television, so I’m learning from the best.” In addition to being a staff writer, Kornhauser wrote the teleplay and shares a story credit with Simon for episode five. Working on “Treme” has not only afforded her a learning experience, it has enabled her to share a new realm of knowledge with her students, a credit she shares with Department of English Chair Rick Moreland and College of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Gaines Foster. “They were so supportive to allow me the opportunity to still teach and do the show,” she said. “I really couldn’t have done it without them and the support of LSU.” A graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television, Kornhauser believes LSU’s writing programs can stand alongside the top schools in the country. As she looks forward to working on the third season of “Treme,” Kornhauser soon plans to teach a special topics
class on how to write for television. Her screenwriting classes will also benefit from her experience working with Simon and Overmyer, whose working styles Kornhauser says are “genius.” Among other things, she intends to share their approach to multiple story lines and characters, and the transitions between them, with her students and impart to them the level of professionalism required to work for an internationally renowned company like HBO.
Photo: John McCusker/The Times-Picayune
Wire,” Kornhauser often bumped into them at events around New Orleans and was sometimes asked to give feedback about the show. Then, during a Jazz Fest-inspired brunch with Overmyer, she was asked if she had ever thought of writing for television and, by extension, “Treme.” After an enthusiastic yes, Kornhauser found herself on a list of potential “Treme” writers for the second season. An interview with Executive Producers Overmyer, Simon and Nina Noble followed months later and Kornhauser was offered the job. She welcomed the opportunity to write about a city she loved while working with writers she had long admired.
Phone interviewers in action at LSUâ€™s Public Policy Research Lab.
The Public Policy Research Lab The Public Policy Research Lab (PPRL) at LSU is one of the largest and most active survey research centers in the southeast region. The lab currently operates 52 Computer-Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI) stations for telephone interviewing, and is also capable of performing mail surveys, web surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and studies that measure a subjectâ€™s physical response to outside media and stimuli. The research the lab helps facilitate has been published in some of the leading social science and mass communication journals in the country, including The Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Sciences Quarterly, and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. The PPRL has also undertaken no fewer than seven projects on the human impacts of the BP oil spill, with several of these ongoing. The efforts of the PPRL have real-world impacts as well. Governor Bobby Jindal routinely cited the Louisiana Business Image Survey in his 2007 gubernatorial campaign and his first legislative session in support of ethics reform. The Louisiana Health Insurance Survey (a 10,000 household survey) has been used to target outreach efforts to enroll uninsured children in LaCHIP. The Louisiana Survey has been routinely cited showing public opinion in support of a balanced approach for addressing budget shortfalls as well as overwhelming support for cigarette taxes. The PPRL is committed to staying on the cutting edge of policy-related and communication research by experimenting with new methods (e.g., online and cell phone surveys), regularly attending conferences and workshops, and learning from ongoing research in the field. The lab has also just completed a self-initiated external review as part of its continuing effort to facilitate high quality research in the state and region.
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Facebook and headline tickers—timeliness is one of the most relevant aspects of modern journalism. The idea of getting the day’s top story first is paramount, but five students in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication spent a week in April digging through the National Archives in Washington, D.C., researching cold case civil rights murders in rural Louisiana in the 1960s.
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Greeks,” said Albright. “I started to und erstand the people behind the headlines and the footnotes of history, and that was rewarding.” While leafing through countless files in the National Archives was a unique experience, it was one where patience was essential. “The most trying aspect was going thro ugh all the files,” said Stewart of the dozens of boxes pert aining to the cases.
According to Shelledy, the students filed about two dozen Freedom of Information Act requ ests for heretofore sealed FBI records. “We started to get them last year and have some 30,000 to 40,000 pages of investigative records coming available for our inspection this com ing school year,” said Shelledy. A student team will return to Washing ton, D.C., to the National Archives to review and record these documents in the fall and again in the spring. Wilson, who will return to Washington in the fall for another round of leafing through case files, believes this project provides a sense of fulfillme nt that often is lost in the day-to-day grind of deadline journalism. “I receive a great sense of accomplishm ent knowing we are helping bring closure to those who lived through this period.”
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The Gold Standard:
Undergraduate Research at LSU Ashley Berthelot
LSU is home to a variety of outstanding research programs and opportunities. Some, like the Office of Research & Economic Development’s Chancellor’s Future Leaders in Research, or CFLR, program, offer scholarships to undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential. The CFLR program provides a unique opportunity to conduct research early in a college career. Students work side-by-side with mentor professors in a research setting, such as a laboratory or in the field, and learn what a career in their chosen field is like. Other opportunities, such as working with faculty in the acclaimed LSU Museum of Natural Science, allow students access to world-class DNA and ornithological collections to support their studies. LSU students also successfully compete for excellent internship opportunities at foundations, museums, and universities across the globe. Students participating in undergraduate research programs at LSU have won some of the world’s most prestigious awards, including the Udall Award, the Truman Scholarship, Ford Fellowships, and more. At right, you’ll find a sampling of the many outstanding undergraduate researchers at LSU.
Lauren Oliver is an undergraduate researcher at LSU’s Museum of Science, where she works with Chris Austin, curator of herpetology. Currently working on population genetics of invasive species, specifically Carlia from various Pacific islands, Lauren has a manuscript in press at Biological Invasions and is working on a project on the genetics, phylogeny and systematics of a group of frogs from New Guinea that will be soon be submitted for publication. She spent the summer of 2011 in New York at the American Museum of Natural History on a prestigious AMNH Summer Fellowship. “Lauren is outstanding,” said Austin. “She will be pursuing a PhD in the near future at a top school and I am convinced she will be a great scientist.” Justin Kutz started working with Prosanta Chakrabarty at the Museum of Natural Science as a high school student. Now a freshman, he has created www.cacichlids.com, an extremely useful resource for people studying Central American cichlids. It has all the original descriptions of the nearly 150 species of cichlid from Central America. He also conducted a project for the LSU Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, during the summer of 2011 with graduate student Caleb McMahan, and presented a poster at the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network Summer Undergraduate Research Forum. His poster focused on one particular species of Central American cichlid that was once recognized as two. His project looked at how the color-pattern character used to separate those two species was in fact due to environment and allometric (growth/ size) effects and not due to a separate ancestry (since the character may not be heritable), doing an outstanding job of quantifying what was previously only described qualitatively. “Justin did all the scanning and literature searches to get papers into cacichlids.com, which was hundreds of hours of work. The website also includes info on the work my lab is doing on my NSF taxonomy grant,” said Chakrabarty. “Justin is a freshman and is interested in becoming a human geneticist.”
Clockwise from top left: Lauren Oliver with mentor Chris Austin; Justin Kutz and Parker House at the Museum of Natural Science; Leigh Griffin and Anna Meyer; Devon Wade.
Parker House, another student of Chakrabarty’s at the museum, is doing a lit bit of everything. He has put in a tremendous amount of effort to improve the collections where the majority of the 300,000 fish in the museum’s collection are stored, and has also been making X-rays for various projects, including one for Jim Cronin, associate professor of biological sciences, focusing on the ecology of parasitoids. “Parker is outstanding. We recently submitted a paper dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and which fish species may be the most vulnerable,” said Chakrabarty. “He will be traveling to Honduras for part of a collecting trip that my grad student Caleb and postdoc Wilfredo Matamoros will be leading.” Leigh A. Griffin, biological sciences junior at LSU, is a Chancellor’s Future Leaders in Research scholar. She is in her second year of conducting scientific field research on conservation ecology of longleaf pine at Camp Whispering Pines in Tangipahoa Parish. She is investigating the effects of restoration of fire regimes to pine savannas on recruitment and patch dynamics of longleaf pine by building on her faculty mentor, Professor of Biological Sciences William Platt’s, previous research. Griffin submitted her research for publication in the fall of 2011.
Anna A. Meyer, biological sciences and renewable natural resources senior, is also mentored by Platt, and has spent more than a year studying the effects of larger mammalian herbivores (deer, rabbits, cotton rats) on the dominant grasses in pine savannas being restored. She has extended her work to explore the importance of herbivores on the plant community during restoration of natural fire regimes. Devon Wade received the prestigious Truman Scholarship prior to graduation and also received a Ford Fellowship to support his graduate studies. While at LSU, he studied with sociology professor and associate vice chancellor for research & economic development Matthew Lee. “Devon was an outstanding student who completed a very good research project on the effects of parental incarceration on their children’s educational aspirations and achievements. This research experience helped lay the groundwork for his acceptance to several top tier sociology graduate programs, and he will be an excellent ambassador for LSU at Columbia University.” Wade is currently pursuing a PhD in sociology at Columbia University, focusing on social phenomenon that plague urban or inner city children and families.
The French Connection:
LSU Undergraduates Get International Experience
On June 20, LSU faculty and undergraduate researchers met at the United States/France miniconference at the esteemed Institut Pasteur de Lille in France for a celebration of French and American science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, excellence. In addition to several faculty members, four LSU undergraduate students attended the event through the support of LSU’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, or HHMI, program. “This was the first time LSU undergraduates funded by HHMI have been able to attend an international conference at the Pasteur Institute. The opportunity to present their research, network with both established and up-and-coming scientists, and experience the research community at the international level is an invaluable experience,” said Randy Duran, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Gordon A. Cain Chair in Scientific, Technological, Engineering, and Mathematical Literacy. At the meeting a few of the LSU students presented these posters, the undergraduates received information on enhancing and furthering their international research experiences by the representatives from Fulbright, the French Ministry, the Pasteur International Network, CEAGrenoble, and Chateaubriand Fellows funded by the French Embassy. LSU engineering student Tel Rouse presented a poster titled “Lipid Extraction Techniques on Native Chlorella Strain,” chemistry major Top: LSU Faculty Sheri and Bill Wischusen participated in the project. Middle: Students were afforded the opportunity to present their work to researchers from a variety of top notch international institutions. Bottom: A group of LSU faculty and mentors, along with HHMI-funded undergraduates from six different institutions.
Liz Lissy presentd “Making Fuels Green Using Molecularly Imprinted Polymers,” physics student Seth Burleigh presented “Hybridized gold nanoparticles of ssDNA systems” and biological sciences major Danielle Fusilier presented “Bacterial Microbiome of the Carnivorous Plant Sarracenia Alata.”
Sustainable Collaboration Aaron Looney When trying to solve a problem, it’s often beneficial to look at all aspects of the situation, in order to achieve the most effective solution. In a university setting, however, conducting research to solve pressing situations may not always see collaboration between different fields of study. Since its inception two years ago, LSU’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, or CSS, continues to defy this trend by bringing together experts in numerous disciplines to conduct research and find ways to address issues affecting Louisiana’s coastal areas. CSS is a multidisciplinary group of engineers, scientists, and designers at LSU. It features different teams working across disciplines to conduct and fund research on topics such as coastal restoration and environmental and cultural development in coastal areas, among others.
“The studio is trans-disciplinary,” said Jeff Carney, an assistant professor in the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture who serves as the studio’s director. “All of our projects engage at least three disciplines, primarily drawn from the LSU School of the Coast and Environment, the LSU College of Engineering, and the LSU College of Art & Design, but also joined by students and faculty of law, history, geography, and philosophy and religious studies.” Joining Carney on the studio’s advisory board are Executive Director Robert Twilley, a former LSU faculty member who is now the vice president for research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Associate Director Lynne Carter, who is also associate director of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program; LSU School of Architecture Professor and Director Jori Erdman; LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture Professor Elizabeth Mossop and LSU College of Engineering Professor Clint Wilson. A board of university representatives and external advisors also aids in the studio’s efforts. A community based studio located in the university’s Design Building, CSS projects are developed through collaboration with its local partners, Carney said. “Our work is subject to input and review by community members and other outside experts, and the project teams take all of those inputs and develop remarkable new ways to accomplish the projects’ multi-purpose goals,” he said. CSS is a place where scientists, engineers and designers come together to intensively study and respond to issues at the intersection of settlement, coastal restoration, flood protection and the economy, Carney said. Often pitted against one another, these themes are in fact
bound together through their primary relationship to the Mississippi River. “The river is the shared backbone to our economy, environment, and way of life,” he said.
Saving the coast Since its formation in 2009, the studio has been a part of numerous coastal environment studies, with its members’ works being honored both nationally and internationally. In the studio’s first year of operation, its primary project concerned the Central Wetlands Unit and the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Through studies, it was found that Hurricane Katrina’s disproportionate toll on the Lower 9th Ward was directly related to the pre-existing environmental degradation of the natural environment surrounding New Orleans. The studio’s design was driven by the concept of a robust wetland zone that supports a resilient natural environment alongside sustained human settlement. In the project’s vision, the northern part of the Lower 9th Ward is transformed to optimize its location on the water’s edge. Dense housing and community buildings are concentrated in infrastructural corridors; schools and other institutions benefit from the wetland. Large open spaces provide opportunities for urban agriculture and stormwater retention. Over the course of the year, a team of architecture, landscape architecture, coastal ecology, economics, and engineering faculty and students designed new strategies for this region’s future. This comprehensive view ranges from the neighborhood to the region and showcases the interrelationships that extend across different scales. Community outreach continues on this project with the
CSS is a place where scientists, engineers and designers come together to intensively study and respond to issues at the intersection of settlement, coastal restoration, flood protection, and the economy.” — Jeff Carney
studio’s community partner, the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Design. In 2010, CSS worked as part of a collaborative project of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and coastal scientists from LSU and architects from the Princeton University School of Architecture that received international acclaim. “The Mississippi Delta: Constructing with Water” demonstrated how a multi-disciplinary approach can be used to address issues of coastal sustainability in two high-profile coastal communities: New York City and southeast Louisiana.
sediment and eventually rebuild central wetlands, taking into account what that would mean not only for the landscape but for the inhabitants who currently live there. Their designs included visualizations of new paradigms for building communities, changing infrastructure to support more sustainable and resilient living, and three-dimensional maps of the coast with new landbuilding capacity. More detailed speculative designs were undertaken for the Lower Ninth Ward and the restoration of Bayou Bienvenue as well as parts of St. Bernard Parish.
The project, combined with the similar Princeton study concerning coastal sustainability in New York, was included in the themed exhibit “Workshopping: An American Model of Practice.” The exhibit was unveiled that August at the Venice Biennale, the largest and most prestigious art and design exhibition in the world, and displayed at the American Pavilion during the threemonth exhibition. The project was selected from among hundreds of applicants from around the world to represent the American Pavilion, and was a collaborative effort of Princeton engineer Guy Nordenson and architect Catherine Seavitt and the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio. Together, they expanded on an earlier project of the Princeton team that looked at what would happen in New York City during sea level rise. In its conceptual approach to answering that question, the team proposed opening up the river in five spots and creating diversions or basins that would fill with
In the studio’s first year of operations, CSS found that Hurricane Katrina’s toll on the Lower 9th Ward was related to degradation of New Orlean’s natural surrounding environment.
CSS also spent much of 2010 trying to find solutions to the problem of coastal erosion in Louisiana. Projects along these lines specifically involved the town of Lafitte as well as both Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. The Lafitte project took a trans-disciplinary approach to the examination of relationships between the built, natural and cultural environments of the Jean Lafitte area, 35 minutes south of New Orleans in the Barataria Basin.
A recent CSS project called “Measured Change: Tracking Transformations on Bayou Lafourche” revolves around the intersection of people, land, and water.
At the core of the project’s research proposals and studios, operated in conjunction with the LSU School of Architecture, was the development of place-based resiliency strategies, with emphasis on environmental systems and services and community service and engagement.
Titled “Measured Change: Tracking Transformations on Bayou Lafourche,” the project saw Carney team with Kristi Dykema Cheramie from LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and Michael Pasquier from LSU’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. The trio collaborated with architecture, landscape architecture and history graduate students to produce a multileveled vision of Lafourche Parish and how its history of living between land and water could inspire a rich and sustainable future. Pasquier said the project revolved around three things in the Lafourche and Terrebonne area—people, land, and water.
The project was comprised of independent scholarly research and two architectural studios: a fourth year undergraduate service-learning studio, “Barataria Exchange,” and a second-year graduate level studio focused on environmental systems, “Learning from Lafitte.” The project leverages the expertise of Lafitte residents, academics, social activists, historical precedents/research “We have three methodologies—the cultural and historical and students through in-depth exploration of the aspect; the design component of how we can respond to geography’s complex systemic coastal issues. cultural and environmental changes; and the geospatial analysis of the landscape both inside and outside of the In the fall of 2010, the Barataria Exchange Studio ring levee system and how it has changed over time,” he challenged students to reexamine operations of place via said. “The main focus of the study is that if we can project unconventional oppositions of “inside vs. outside” and land loss by 2050 and 2100 being what it is, and we can “natural vs. artificial” through an intense five-stage process: look at what has worked and what didn’t work so well, we creating a common language, engagement, reflection, can put all of that together and think towards the future.” re-engagement, and critique. Ultimately resulting in the development of proposals and a trans-disciplinary pedagogy Earlier this year, the project earned the studio the for design education, the project expands the application 2011 Place Research Award from The Environmental of architectural studio and disciplinary strategies as a Design Research Association, or EDRA, an international, framework for engaging multiple communities and types of interdisciplinary organization founded in 1968 by design knowledge through design process. professionals, social scientists, students, educators, and facility managers. According to EDRA, the project In Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, an award-winning represents human-centered research “of the highest order.” CSS project has brought together a multidisciplinary team of scholars committed to understanding how land “Working with Jeff, Kristi and their students is great,” management has affected life along Bayou Lafourche, and Pasquier said. “They’re amazing thinkers and even more can help current inhabitants face future challenges to spectacular workers. Often times you don’t have people coastal living. who are exceptionally bright and also very hard working.
Researchers at CSS are trying to determine what land loss will look like in Louisiana by 2050 and 2100. © LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio
Working in a studio environment is a little foreign to me, so I’m learning things from them and their students as we work together. It’s a very reciprocal relationship.”
The future In addition to tackling problems close to home in Louisiana, the studio is also beginning to branch out and lend its assistance to both regional and even national projects aimed at discovering why coastal land loss happens, and what can be done to stem the tide. Until recently, Carney said, the studio hasn’t conducted any work out of state. However, he said that the studio is about to take part in a multi-state project with the Gulf Coast Fund, working with the group’s stakeholders from Texas to Florida on a series of strategy sessions. As Louisiana continues to rebuild after the devastating impacts of hurricanes in recent years, CSS is also working to help research of the damaging effects that hurricanes have on the area. While he could not discuss certain projects publically, Carney said that there are some projects that the studio is currently funding in this realm.
“We’re funding a project between engineering, architecture, and geography looking at construction standards in hurricane prone zones,” he said. “The project will look at flood and wind standards and revise them with more upto-date data.” CSS is also currently working with the National Wildlife Federation on a video of restoration techniques involving sediment diversions in the Lower Mississippi River area, Carney said. For its first two years of operation, CSS has been funded through a gift from Chevron and the America’s Wetlands Foundation, Carney said. “In the coming year, we hope to expand our funding base to enable us to engage in a wider range of activities and grow the organization to keep up with the demand for our work,” he added. To learn more about the Coastal Sustainability Studio, contact Carney at 225-578-4990, e-mail email@example.com or visit css.lsu.edu.
Where Art and Science Converge There is a separate world that exists beneath the ocean’s surface—a vast, dark world that most of us know next to nothing about. Even scientists who have spent their entire lives studying the processes of ocean mechanics only understand a relatively small piece of the puzzle. So when Robert Carney, professor of oceanography at LSU, began work on the COMARGE, or Continental Margin Ecosystems, project as part of the International Census of Marine Life, he felt that it was a wonderful opportunity for the world’s ocean experts to come together and demystify the depths. The project, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was wildly successful, with an international scientific team working for a decade to determine as much information as possible. Together, the team rediscovered species thought to be extinct and added some 1,200 to the list of formally described new species, with another 5,000 or more waiting to be described, while increasing the number of known marine species from 230,000 to nearly 250,000. It also created a searchable database, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, or OBIS, which is a portal or gateway, openly accessible via the Internet (www.iobis.org), to more than 800 datasets containing information on where and when more than 30 million marine organisms have been recorded. Carney, while proud to be a part of this mammoth effort to better understand the ocean’s inhabitants, knew the group was facing another problem. Having sampled the diversity of creatures living below the sea, he was impressed with the biodiversity that he saw, but immediately realized that there would be a great challenge in communicating the sheer difference of what he and his team had calculated.
“I have taught oceanography students for more than 20 years,” said Carney, who teaches students in LSU’s School of the Coast & Environment, “I have found that there are two issues that consistently give students considerable difficulty. Those are the concepts of gradients and diversity.” The ocean is filled with gradients—or changes in the varying degrees of a specific aspect of measurements. Color, depth, temperature, salinity, and so on—all these represent different forms of gradients. Diversity is also a difficult concept for students because of the necessity of a unifying factor. “Basically, we’re looking to find the concept of unity in a pile of many, very different things,” he explained. “How do you describe this? How do you show that things are different but the same?” He began searching for artwork illustrating these concepts, but nothing he found had the real depth that he was looking for in order to bring true understanding into the classroom. As he pondered this teaching quandary with the results of the census so fresh in his mind, he was coincidentally asked to participate in a review committee for the LSU School of Art & Design. This commitment helped him to join with other LSU faculty to create a new project that brought together all of his interests: he would challenge the students in the arts program to demonstrate those concepts of gradient and diversity as they relate to the deep sea. Courtney Barr, assistant professor of graphic design, would be the guiding hand throughout the process.
“There were some practical difficulties we had to face from the start,” said Barr. “There’s no way to embed this into the curriculum for more than one semester, so we grounded it in a preexisting course.” She happened to be teaching informational graphic design that semester, which fit the scenario perfectly. “Scientific visualization doesn’t always have to be computer-generated,” said Carney. “The task of visually representing something scientifically complex has always been challenging, but the idea of seeing students’ representations was really intriguing.” Together, Carney and Barr worked out the parameters of the competition, which involved several lectures on biodiversity and deep water environments by Carney. “I tried to give them a sort of visual vocabulary and to keep it as entertaining as possible,” he said. They also placed videos of the lectures online so that students unable to attend could still have the information at their fingertips. The results were incredibly varied and creative, with everything from a very labor-intensive abstract representation of the jellyfish to an educational board game. There was also a menu design, an iPhone app, websites and animations, among other interpretations.
“Without this program and its competition, it is doubtful that so many—if any—of our students would have been exposed to science at this deep-sea level,” said Barr. “Many discovered that they were quite good at scientific representation. It’s exciting and educational for them to be able to try new things. This is an avenue we will definitely pursue again.” Though there were several winners in a variety of categories, all students participating received the benefit of being exposed to the convergence of art and science. “Many people don’t know this, but there are careers in science and medical illustration,” said Carney. “This is a good introduction for students who might never have considered that as a viable career path.” For more information about the Abyss project, visit: www.intotheabyss.org.
A Different Kind of Networking
LSU researchers develop and support biomedical research network in Louisiana Ashley Berthelot
Biomedical research drives the advancement of society. Without it, our ability to combat disease and illness would be severely hampered, allowing simple, run-of-the-mill maladies like chicken pox to become raging, fatal pandemics. In fact, according to the National Center for Biomedical Research, survival rates from many serious diseases are at an all time high thanks to breakthroughs in drug development and immunology, as well as a deeper, more thorough understanding of individual diseases.
The need for well-trained, talented and driven biomedical researchers increases with every passing day, but in general, training for such scientists is focused at major institutions, leaving large gaps in rural areas and among many high quality, but smaller-sized, schools. Large, research-intensive institutions such as LSU have an obligation to not just contribute to the development of new research but also to the training and development of new researchers capable of significant contributions to the field. As such, LSU and its subsidiary units have successfully competed for and received grants supporting several extensive biomedical training programs with the collective goal of developing and sustaining a thriving biomedical research network across the state of Louisiana. “We act as a leader and stimulator of biomedical research in Louisiana, across our country and around the globe,” said Tom Klei, interim vice chancellor of research and economic development at LSU. “We connect the key players to one another to increase biomedical research training in Louisiana, expand the biomedical workforce within the state and generate high-quality, innovative research. Much of this has broad economic impact.” One program, the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, or INBRE, grant from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, supports the LSU-led Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, or LBRN, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012. Other Louisiana institutions involved in LBRN include Southern University, LSU-Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University, the LSU Health Sciences Centers, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Xavier. Biomedical support centers include the Tulane National Primate Center, or TNPC, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, or PBRC. With this NIH support, LSU and the School of Veterinary Medicine, or SVM, supply comprehensive research grants, arrange for up-and-coming researchers to work with mentors at large-scale biomedical research institutions and offer competitive funding for faculty and graduate students. “The LBRN program has focused on building the biomedical research capacity of the state by directly supporting the research and training of over 450 researchers, including faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students across Louisiana,” said Bill Wischusen, long-time LBRN program coordinator and current principal investigator, and associate chair of biological sciences.
In July 2004, the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine received a $9.9 million National Center for Research Resources, or NCRR, grant establishing the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, or COBRE, a grant that was renewed in July 2009 for more than $11.1 million. The original COBRE grant created a Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research, or CEIDR, which is a strategic alliance between the School of Veterinary Medicine, the LSU College of Science, the LSU Agricultural Center and the Tulane National Primate Research Center. CEIDR provides substantial funds to recruit, mentor and financially support full-time faculty.
in the country, only 14 have a similar program, so we’re excited to be able to offer this opportunity to LSU students.” Summer scholars in the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Program focus on producing an independent research project supported through the mentoring of a senior faculty member. Areas of research include such fields as immunology and infectious diseases, cancer biology, molecular epidemiology, nutrition and obesity, pharmacology, environmental toxicology, mechanisms of pathogenesis and others. Other enrichment activities include lectures, discussions, social events and field trips to nearby research institutions.
“Once successful in obtaining NIH funding, faculty are
The COBRE provides a unique chance for LSU Baton Rouge to establish CEIDR as a worldrenowned center in infectious diseases in the future. The $3 million MIDAS research network at LSU uses computational modeling techniques to better understand the spread of contagious diseases, specifically the dengue virus, and to calculate the potential impact of public health measures.
“Our biomedical research training programs start at the rotated out of COBRE, making room for new participants. student level, then work up to the graduate and junior The program has graduated eight faculty since its faculty level,” said Klei. “It really is a holistic approach inception making it one of the most successful COBREs in based on developing a critical mass of outstanding the nation,” said Dr. K. Gus Kousoulas, CEIDR director and researchers in the state of Louisiana, and we’ve had so principal investigator of the COBRE. “The COBRE provides much success at it because of our excellent record of a unique chance for LSU Baton Rouge to establish CEIDR research and grant acquisitions.” as a world-renowned center in infectious diseases in the future. Research outcomes from junior and senior faculty “Future development of an LSU-based Center for Infectious working through the CEIDR will be translated to new Diseases will bring together these efforts and impact diagnostics, vaccines and other treatment modalities for all aspects of academic life including research, teaching ameliorating human and animal infectious diseases.” and training the next generation of scientists. Also, there is high probability that this center will significantly Because of the success of the COBRE program, SVM was contribute to economic development efforts in Louisiana,” awarded both an NIH T32 postdoctoral training grant in said Kousoulas. conjunction with the Tulane National Primate Center to aid veterinarians in obtaining doctorates, and an NIH T35 Bringing together researchers from different institutions training grant funding the Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars and allowing them to collaborate on research and training Program, a summer program providing veterinary medical projects has been a worthwhile endeavor for LSU and the students the opportunity to explore the world of biomedical state as a whole. research, and develop and complete a research project “When you bring people together and let the ideas begin focusing on problems or models important to human health. to flow, that’s when your work starts to have a real impact,” “Our summer scholars program assists NIH in its goal said Klei. “That’s what we’re doing with our biomedical of incorporating more vet med students into human research training programs—impacting the quality of research,” said Klei. “Out of 28 total veterinary schools research—and life—in Louisiana.”
Video games are ubiquitous in our lives. No longer considered a “just for kids” form of entertainment, gaming has become not just another popular pastime but a full-blown accepted social activity for people of all ages. Because of their appeal across demographics, the development of games and gaming technology has become a significant international economic driver. LSU has remained at the forefront of advancements in this field, and with the recent groundbreaking of the Louisiana Digital Media Center on the university’s campus, has set about developing a world-class program called the Center of Excellence in Video Game Design, which will be complete in 2012. “Digital media and software development will rank among Louisiana’s top growth industries for the next two decades and possibly beyond. The future growth of this industry in Louisiana will depend to a great extent on the ability of our higher education institutions to produce the specialized talent that this industry requires,” said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development (LED). “The Louisiana Digital Media Center will help accomplish that goal, as will other partnerships between higher education and LED that we are beginning to cultivate this year.”
Big Beginnings In 2008, LSU and Electronic Arts Inc., or EA, one of the world’s largest video game developers, formed a unique partnership when the university’s Office of Research & Economic Development was able to leverage a lucrative idea. EA could take advantage of the large, talented student population and easy access to faculty expertise by opening a branch on campus. Soon, they did just that, locating EA’s national North American testing facilities in LSU’s South Campus Research Park, employing LSU students to find bugs in early-stage games and collaborating with faculty for new ideas and developments. That partnership was achieved through a number of advances in digital media on the university’s campus, including the AVATAR initiative, a multidisciplinary hiring initiative uniting faculty from many disciplines and enabling students to conduct research and complete projects on the intersections among art, technology, and computation, creating new research areas in virtual environments, digital art, electro-acoustic music, animation, video game design, scientific visualization, and more. AVATAR supports economic development in the state through new technologies, leveraging of generous state tax incentives for digital media and providing new curricula to train a talented workforce for one of Louisiana’s vibrant and growing industries. And the partnership is poised for explosive growth—growth that will benefit the university, the state and the industry as a whole. AVATAR, LSU’s Center for Computation &
Technology, or CCT, and the College of Engineering joined forces with LED, to develop a world class video game design program that builds off of previous success in the field.
Jindal said, “We are proud to make Louisiana the permanent home of EA’s North American Test Center as part of LSU’s Digital Media Center. We are quickly becoming a major player in the digital media industry, which is creating more high-paying and high-tech jobs for our people so they don’t have to leave the state to pursue the career of their dreams. We continue to make major investments in higher education—at LSU and across our state—so we become the best place in the world for businesses to grow and succeed.”
“Partnerships like the one between EA and AVATAR will not succeed unless there is close collaboration between faculty and industry, and direct support from local and state agencies, like Louisiana Economic Development,” said Stephen David Beck, director of the CCT’s AVATAR Initiative in Digital Media and the Derryl and Helen Haymon Professor of Music at the LSU School of Music. “Over the past The $29.3 million project is the result few years, we have recruited some of of a long-sought-after plan from CCT, the finest faculty in digital media from which marked its 10th anniversary across the nation. Our close links with in July 2011, and EA, to obtain industry ensures that we are not only contemporary, permanent homes for up-to-date on industry developments, their programs. The center is funded but that our curricula serves the by state capital outlay dollars and digital media companies workforce LED funds, as well as $3 million from development needs.” the U.S. Economic Development Administration. EA will be the major private-sector tenant with 30,000 square feet, and LSU’s Center for The university recently took a Computation & Technology will be the giant step toward making this major university tenant. The 50,000 goal a reality. On Wednesday, July square feet center also will include 27, Governor Bobby Jindal joined instructional space with cutting-edge EA’s Head of Worldwide Quality audio/visual capabilities supporting Assurance Mike Robinson, LSU LSU’s academic research efforts Chancellor Michael Martin, and related to developing the Center of East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Excellence in Video Game Design. Kip Holden to break ground on the 94,000-square-foot Louisiana Digital “The Louisiana Digital Media Center takes EA and Baton Rouge’s digital Media Center that eventually will media sector to a whole new be home to 600 EA video game level,” said Adam Knapp, president development workers, the AVATAR initiative research facilities, and CCT. and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The cross-pollination of The center is located adjacent to ideas between academic research the Louisiana Emerging Technology experts and the world’s leading Center on LSU’s campus, allowing for mingling and interaction between game development company has the potential to fuel digital business incubator start-ups and LSU students and faculty. media innovation in exciting and
From the Ground Up
unanticipated ways. This facility and the resources utilized for its creation will be a national model in public-private partnerships in higher education.”
Putting Together the Pieces While the groundbreaking signifies a major step in the realization of the university’s goals, there are more benchmarks that must be reached quickly for the establishment of a truly excellent program—and reputation—in video game design. With faculty dedicated specifically to the program, university research in intelligent and responsive systems (video games, training systems, and simulation visualizations) and collaborative digital media arts has increased over the past several years, and a minor in digital media focusing on either art or technology has been very successful. The program will graduate its first participants in the spring of 2011, with more than 50 students currently enrolled. However, in order to be considered a true success, the university needs a master’s program—and a highly visible director. “We have taken a somewhat unique approach to developing the curriculum for this master’s program,” said CCT Director Joel Tohline. “In the world of engineering, it’s normal to look at things from the perspective of industry. Programs are often tailored to meet the needs of the industry, so that graduates will be valuable commodities to the field. Because of this, our master’s will be offered through the LSU College of Engineering to better fit its design.”
In order to meet their goal of having identified as “best in class.”The goal of the master’s program fully established these visits is for the working group within one year, the Fall of 2011 to identify best practices and areas of was a particularly busy time for key opportunity for LSU and define course, players in the center. First, the group project, and internship requirements developed the Video Game Design for students pursuing a master’s in Industry Advisory Board, a group video game design. charged with providing high-level “The College of Engineering is feedback and guidance throughout delighted to work with CCT on this the development and implementation program,” said College of Engineering process. Representatives from Dean Richard Koubek. “The strength LED, EA Sports, Baton Rouge Area of Computer Science, Computer Chamber, and other digital mediaEngineering, Electrical Engineering, oriented companies were selected for and other faculty at LSU hold participation. Secondly, LSU developed the potential to make this one of a Video Game Design Working the premier programs nationally. Group composed primarily of faculty Working closely with our partners responsible for developing curriculum to build a stronger Louisiana is the and recruiting/selecting a director essence of the Land Grant mission for the center. This group also visited for LSU described by Chancellor three existing programs currently [Michael] Martin and Provost [Jack] Hamilton.” Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is identifying and then hiring an internationally-renowned program director. The working group will coordinate the search with specific input from their advisory board, and plan to have a candidate in place by August 2012. “The state of Louisiana and the city of Baton Rouge are really looking to LSU, as they have historically, as a critical cog in their recruiting efforts,” said Tohline. “The digital media industry requires expertise across several layers. Companies want to relocate to places where they have access to a qualified pool of talent. That’s what we’re offering here—it’s a service to the state and the industry.” * To see the plans for the Louisiana Digital Media Center, visit aetc.com/louisianadigital-media-center.
A Material World
LSU Materials Science Group Lands Major Grant Ashley Berthelot With technology driving the global economy, the workforce and our day-to-day lives, many believe that materials science—the study and design of custom materials with task-specific properties—is the key to our future. In light of this, LSU has made materials science a focus of interdisciplinary study on campus for several years, and recently, researchers had their efforts paid back by the millions. Faculty at LSU, together with scientists at universities across Louisiana, received one of the state’s largest ever grants from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, to form the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications, or LA-SiGMA. Participants include more than 23 faculty members at LSU, spanning the Departments of Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Biological and Agricultural Engineering and the Center for Computation & 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, Xavier, Southern University and Grambling State University to combine experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to studying three designated “science driver” areas: electronic, energy, and biomolecular materials. “Individual Louisiana institutions do not have a critical mass of researchers to address the challenges described in the proposal,” said Hall. “LA-SiGMA will build this critical mass by supporting collaborations between scientists and engineers at different institutions through shared graduate students and courses. A confluence of experimental and computational facilities, together with directed intellectual collaboration, will allow LA-SiGMA to have a transformational effect on materials science in Louisiana.”
James Madden teaches LA-SiGMA-supported teacher-students during the LAMSTI summer program.
LA-SiGMA capitalizes on the state’s cyber-infrastructure such as LONI, or the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, a state-of-the-art fiber optics network connecting Louisiana and Mississippi universities to each other as well as to the National Lambda Rail and Internet2. Computational scientists will play an integral role by developing new computational tools and helping researchers migrate existing computer programs to the next generation of computers. “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,” says Michael Khonsari, Dow Chemical Endowed Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of Louisiana’s EPSCoR program. “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.” Program objectives include building the next generation of experimentally validated formalisms, algorithms, and codes for multi-scale materials simulations;
implementation on present and next generation supercomputers; and educating the next generation of a highly skilled workforce of materials scientists and engineers. The group has made significant progress toward these objectives. In fact, during the summer of 2011, LA-SiGMA and CCT hosted more than 20 undergraduate and high school students at LSU in a Research Experience for Undergraduates, or REU, program, offering the opportunity for a cutting-edge research experience with LSU faculty.
Elements of LA-SiGMA will include: j an education plan that includes new materials science graduate courses delivered across the state j well-developed relationships between research universities, two-year colleges and the K-12 community through ongoing outreach efforts LA-SiGMA program objectives include educating the next generation of highly skilled materials scientists and engineers.
The REU student teams worked on projects focusing on everything from enhancing drug delivery systems to developing better methods of hydrogen storage. The Alliance funded three teachers from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts to learn about high performance computing and to develop computing modules for their courses. LASiGMA also supported three high school teachers participating in LSU’s LAMSTI program, a three-year program bringing high school teachers to study at LSU, enrich their teaching skills and earn a Master’s of Natural Science degree. These teachers worked with faculty to develop a stronger methodology for incorporating high-performance computing into high school math, science, engineering, and technology classes. “Together the LONI Institute and LA-SiGMA form an incredibly powerful and perhaps unique support network for computational materials and biological sciences. The LONI Institute provided funds to hire 12 faculty members throughout the state in computational materials and biological sciences as well as a support staff of computational scientists,” said Jarrell. “LA-SiGMA builds upon this structure with $20 million in funding to support these scientists and others and build a critical mass of researchers in these areas. Together, these resources will establish Louisiana as an internationally recognized leader in computational materials and biology and allow us to pursue resources needed to establish the first federally funded center of excellence in the state.” To learn more about LA-SiGMA, visit lasigma.loni.org.
j strong partnerships between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, two-year colleges and other universities in the State j involvement of predominantly undergraduate institutions as partners in research j a team focused on training students and researchers to fully utilize the next generation cyberinfrastructure j multifaceted diversity, workforce development and external engagement plans including relationships with industries through researchers, industry liaisons and the state EPSCoR committee; and j 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
LBTC One of LSU’s unique institutional assets is the E. J. Ourso College of Business’ Louisiana Business & Technology Center (LBTC), which enhances economic development in Louisiana through the support of existing small businesses and the development of new ones. The LBTC, acting as a proving ground for technology applications and utilization, stimulates small business formation, growth and survival, which in turn fosters growth, diversification, and job creation. Many of the businesses created and incubated through the LBTC are based off of research conducted by LSU faculty. Programs offered by LBTC include seminars and workshops on: j How to start a business j How to get funding for a business j How to develop an e-commerce business j How to write a business plan j How to market a business To date, the LBTC has:
j Produced $147,909,621 in equity, grants, and loans j Given 5,929 businesses & entrepreneurs technical and management assistance j Completed 3,396 projects j Offered Small Business Innovative Research, or SBIR, support to 2,001 companies j Assistance resulted in 534 businesses started and the creation and/or maintenance of at least 9,582 jobs j Held 392 training events for 20,299 participants j Housed 28 incubator tenant companies, creating 126 full-time jobs in Baton Rouge
• Graduated 139 tenants, with 2,278 jobs created since 1989 • Resulted in a 78 percent success rate, with 109 companies still in business
The 25,000 square foot LBTC small business incubator provides office space and a friendly business environment for new business startups. By allowing the incubator to handle administrative details and overhead problems, the tenant companies can concentrate on operations, production, and marketing, three factors that directly affect success. The LBTC has worked with over 5,002 businesses and entrepreneurs developing over 2,394 business plans, starting nearly 479 businesses and creating more than 9,207 jobs for Louisiana. There is also a 1,200-square foot student incubator that provides shared work space and a collaborative business environment for new student ventures. The LBTC began its operations on the LSU Campus in 1988 under a joint venture agreement between LSU, the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority. The LBTC is in its 21st year of operations and is located on the new LSU South Campus Research Park. The LBTC was chartered to provide assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and to serve as LSU’s contact in the business community and on economic development activities within the Capital City Region and the State of Louisiana.
Photo © iStockphoto
Once a year, LSU honors two deserving faculty—one from the arts and the other from sciences— and two graduate students for their hard work and success throughout the previous year. Recently, Kevin Cope and Robin McCarley were honored with the title of Distinguished Research Masters. Richmond Eustis and Adam Lodygowski were also recognized as recipients of the annual Josephine A. Roberts Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and the LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Science, Engineering & Technology, respectively.
Distinguished Research Master Recipients KEVIN COPE Cope, a professor of English, received a bachelor’s with honors in English literature and philosophy from Pitzer College, and a master’s and PhD in English and American literature and language from Harvard University. An author of books including “Criteria of Certainty,” a study of the art and rhetoric of philosophical explanation during eighteenth century Britain, and more recently, “In and After the Beginning,” which examines the uniquely modern concern for beginnings of all types, Cope is a widely renowned scholar of eighteenth century literature and intellectual history. Currently president of the LSU Faculty Senate, Cope founded and continues to edit the journal 1650-1850, now in its eighteenth year of publication as a widelyread outlet for interdisciplinary studies. He also serves as the general editor of ECCB: The Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography, which is considered the premiere interdisciplinary review and bibliographical journal for all aspects of Enlightenment studies. He came to LSU in 1983 and has maintained an extremely active research, publication and service record, having produced more than 100 articles and reviews and directing or organizing nearly a dozen academic conferences, among many other impressive accomplishments.
ROBIN McCARLEY McCarley, Barbara Womack LSU Alumni Association Professor of Chemistry, holds a bachelor’s degree from Lake Forest College and a master’s and PhD from the University of North Carolina. McCarley has been a major influence in the subdisclipline of chemistry focusing on interfaces and their chemical nature and reactivity.
McCarley’s highly cited publications in scholarly journals span a large breadth of scientific expertise, highlighting his focus on interdisciplinary research. He has attracted more than $20 million in research and education grants since his arrival on LSU’s faculty in 1992. With 27 former
Kevin Cope and Robin McCarley.
PhD students and 22 undergraduates who have served as an integral part of his lab’s work, the McCarley Laboratory at LSU boasts more than 100 publications resulting from student research activities alone. Five of those articles have been cited more than 100 times by others working in the field. He is currently leader of the training core for LSU’s Superfund Research Program, which is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The LSU Council on Research has proudly presented the Distinguished Research Master awards since 1972 in recognition of outstanding faculty accomplishments in research and scholarship. The council chooses recipients from a list of worthy nominees proposed each December by the university community. Nominations are made in the categories of engineering, science and technology; and the arts, humanities and social sciences. The Distinguished Research Master Award provides winners a salary stipend and the University Medal – the symbol of exceptional academic accomplishment at LSU.
The Midas Touch Katherine Harrington Christopher Mores, associate professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, has received an award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences a branch of the National Institutes of Health, to join the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, or MIDAS. The MIDAS research network uses computational modeling techniques to better understand the spread of contagious diseases and to calculate the potential impact of public health measures. Mores is the principle investigator for a project entitled, “Predicting vector-borne virus transmission and emergence potential.” The award will provide more than $3 million over the next five years for Mores and his consortium of researchers from LSU, Tulane University, and the University of New Mexico, to investigate, and predict the transmission and potential for emergence of various arthropod-borne viruses (or arboviruses), particularly dengue.
“Dengue is spreading into the southern and southwestern United States…”
Dengue is an arbovirus transmitted by mosquitoes, primarily Aedes aegypti. It is one of the few arboviruses that almost exclusively affects humans, causing over 50 million cases annually. Dengue historically has been a tropical disease, but international travel has facilitated the expansion of its range into other parts of the world. Dengue can cause high fever, chills, headache, pain behind the eyes, rash, mild bleeding of the nose or gums, and excruciating joint and muscle pain (hence the common name of “break-bone fever”). Since dengue is caused by a virus, there is no specific treatment. While the traditional form of disease is very painful and convalescence is slow, most patients recover fully.
However, more serious manifestations called dengue hemorrhagic fever , or DHF, or dengue shock syndrome, known as DSS, have appeared in the mid-20th century. The symptoms of DHF and DSS are the same as the typical form of the disease at first, but as the initial fever declines, the patient starts vomiting and develops abdominal pain and difficulty in breathing. Skin hemorrhages, bleeding nose and gums, and internal bleeding may also occur, and capillaries become “leaky,” allowing plasma, the fluid component of blood, to seep from the vessels into the body cavity. This may lead to circulatory system failure, shock, and death if not recognized early and treated properly.
applied discoveries and the modelers working on the theoretical end sometimes don’t communicate well with each other because they don’t speak the same technical language. And when people doing the modeling don’t have all the data they need, they must make assumptions, and sometimes those assumptions aren’t as accurate as they could be.” The work planned by Mores’ consortium is expected to provide improved forecasting of outbreaks of dengue and other arboviruses, predicting them before they begin or detecting them while still in the early stages, and to help the public health community get an accurate estimate of the scope of a burgeoning outbreak to better guide responses.
Incidence of these severe forms of dengue is increasing. There are four serotypes, or strains, of the dengue virus, but “What we intend to do is look at the whole system of infection with one serotype does not give an individual vector-borne viral diseases to help us get immunity to the others. a better estimate of the transmission “Dengue is spreading into the southern and southwestern and emergence potential of these United States,” said Mores. “Most of the dengue cases viruses through incorporation of detected in the U.S. are imported, but the number of clinical, field, and experimental locally acquired cases is increasing.” data into theoretical models,” said Mores. “We will also be looking at The aim of Mores’ project is to use mathematical modeling other mosquito-borne viruses such to more accurately forecast the transmission of dengue as Chikungunya and Rift Valley fever, and other viral diseases, particularly in the U.S. which also have the potential to expand “The entire Gulf Coast is at potential risk from dengue,” into the southern U.S. via infected travelers, Mores said. “Our borders are constantly being challenged animals, and vectors, and become entrenched in local by this introduced virus—it is being brought in by travelers mosquito populations.” and becoming established in local mosquito populations. NIH administrators are excited about the group’s potential Since 2009, we’ve seen local transmission of dengue in the for breakthroughs. U.S. when people vacationing in Key West became infected after being bitten by local mosquitoes. Furthermore, in “Dr. Mores has assembled a diverse and talented team to 2010, Puerto Rico witnessed an extensive outbreak with study the spread of insect-borne diseases, like dengue over 10,000 cases reported. The vector density needed to fever, which threaten to emerge in the U.S.,” said James achieve transmission is very low, so it doesn’t take many Anderson, who helps manage the MIDAS program at infected mosquitoes to trigger an outbreak.” the National Institutes of Health. “The team will first concentrate on establishing the factors that drive the Of particular interest to Mores’ research are the specific spread of dengue and assessing the impact of communityfactors that affect transmission in the vector and human based and international intervention strategies. They will populations separately, Dengue virus particles in tissue then seek to apply their findings to modeling the spread of sample and how these factors combine to affect overall other insect-borne diseases, an approach that will nicely transmission of the virus. complement the other projects in the MIDAS consortium.” “A problem with predicting the potential for emergence and spread of these viral diseases,” said Mores, “has been that often the data from field and clinical research don’t get into the hands of the people doing the mathematical modeling. We’ve seen that the researchers making the Photos © iStockphoto
Being a faculty member at a large university is no easy job. In order to succeed, one must cover demanding teaching loads, research and publication quotas, and departmental responsibilities, in addition to fieldwork, post-doctoral experience and sustained excellence within an individual’s field. But, faculty do all this and more out of passion for both their area of study and for the students they impact. While there’s no reward like a job well done, LSU’s Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED, and Campus Federal Credit Union believe that there’s also nothing wrong with acknowledging superior performance. Together, they recently announced this year’s LSU Rainmakers, those faculty members who are nationally and internationally recognized for innovative research and creative scholarship, compete for external funding at the highest levels, and attract and mentor exceptional graduate students.
“Being a part of the rich tradition at LSU means we [Campus Federal] look for creative ways to support distinguished faculty and their efforts toward improving the quality of education for students,” said Ron Moreau, vice president of business development and community relations. “Understanding the importance research plays in the success and differentiation of the university means Campus Federal should be a part of the Rainmakers event.”
Emerging Scholars Award This award recognizes junior faculty members exhibiting success at the assistant professor level as measured by significant contributions to the faculty member’s field of research or creative activity including publication in a high impact journal(s); a highly cited piece of work; external awards; invited presentations at national and international meetings; high journal publication productivity; critically-acclaimed book publication, performances or exhibits; or high grant productivity. This year’s recipients of the Emerging Scholars Award are: Graham Bodie, assistant professor of communication studies. Bodie’s recent accomplishments include being named 2011 Researcher of the Year by the International Listening Association; receiving the top paper award for the Communication Theory Division for “The Role of Thinking in the Comforting Process: Evidence for a Dual-Process Theory”; and recently being funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents Pilot Funding for New Research grant for the study
From left to right: Interim Vice Chancellor of the Office of Research and Economic Development Thomas Klei; Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations of Campus Federal Credit Union Ron Moreau; Associate Professor of Computer Science and Mid-Career Rainmaker Recipient Bijaya Karki; Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Emerging Scholar Rainmaker Recipient Graham Bodie; Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering and Senior Scholar Rainmaker Recipient Kalliat Valsaraj; Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Emerging Scholar Rainmaker Recipient Bryan Carstens; President and CEO of Campus Federal Credit Union John Milazzo.
“A Multitrait-Multimethod Validity Assessment of the Active-Empathic Listening and Attitude of Active Listening Scales.” Bryan Carstens, assistant professor of biological sciences. Carsten’s recent accomplishments include significant publications in such prestigious biological journals as Molecular Phylogenics & Evolution, Systematic Biology, Applied and Environmental Biology, and several others. Bodie and Carstens were each awarded a one-time stipend of $1,000 and a plaque in recognition of their achievements.
Mid-Career Scholar Award This award recognizes a faculty member at the associate professor level or recently promoted to full professor who exhibits a sustained program of excellence as measured by the criteria set forth in the emerging scholar category. Award winners in the MidCareer Scholar category have been at LSU for 7-10 years. This year’s recipient is Bijaya Karki, associate professor of computer science. Karki’s recent accomplishments include a grant from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, for “First Principles Computational Study of Defects, Diffusion and Grain Boundaries in Mantle Materials,” a study that aims to apply a combination of computational and visualization methods to further promote the understanding of key relevant properties in order to develop a firm theoretical basis to understanding the rheological properties of the silicate and oxide materials at high pressure-high temperature conditions. Karki was awarded a one-time stipend of $1,000 and a plaque.
Senior Scholar Award This award recognizes a faculty member whose work is comparable to the quality of that considered for the Distinguished Research Master award or Boyd Professor designation. This award is typically reserved for a faculty member who has been promoted to full professor and has
exhibited a sustained program of excellence as measured by significant contributions to the faculty member’s field of research or creative activity in the previous criteria. This year’s recipient is Kalliat Valsaraj, who at the time of the award was the chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. Valsaraj’s recent accomplishments include a perspective on a model to predict the environmental fate and impact of both the oil and dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico. The program is described in an article, “Marine Oil Fate: Knowledge Gaps, Basic Research and Development Needs: A Perspective Based on the Deepwater Horizon Spill,” published in Environmental Engineering Science. Valsaraj received a one-time stipend of $1,000 and a plaque. “We are proud to recognize those faculty members who are so integral to our success as an institution,” said Thomas Klei, LSU interim vice chancellor of research & economic development. “These researchers and creative scholars truly exemplify what it means to be an LSU Rainmaker. We couldn’t do this without the support of Campus Federal Credit Union, and we thank them for their support of our commitment to scholarly excellence.”
FACULTY AWARDS Suzanne Marchand, a professor in the Department of History in the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, received two nationally competitive awards for her book, “German Orientalism in the Age of Empire,” which challenges Edward Said’s influential theory that modern studies of the Orient are all rooted in western imperial hubris. Marchand’s book was published by Cambridge in 2010. The American Historical Association named Marchand the 2010 recipient of its prestigious George L. Mosse Prize, which posthumously honors Mosse by recognizing “an outstanding major work of extraordinary scholarly distinction, creativity and originality in the intellectual and cultural history of Europe since the Renaissance.” The American Library Association also selected the book for its prestigious “Outstanding Academic Titles of 2010” list, reflecting the top academic titles reviewed by the American Library Association ‘s Choice magazine in that year. Selection criteria included originality, overall excellence in presentation and research, and value to undergraduate students and university libraries. Alex Cohen, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, received a $148,000 award from the National Institute of Mental Health for his grant titled, “Identifying the Vocal Markers of Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders,” in collaboration with Yunjung Kim, an assistant professor for Speech and Hearing Sciences in the LSU Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders. Cohen’s Severe Psychopathology Research Laboratory in the Department of Psychology focuses on understanding treatment-resistant aspects of severe mental illness using novel technologies. Medications are helpful for managing some aspects of severe mental illness, but fail to address many critical features of the disorders. This grant is part of a larger line of research employing computerized acoustic analysis of speech to understand why many patients have difficulty producing speech, and why their speech tends to be devoid of emotion. The results of this project will be critical in identifying the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to these symptoms and identifying a way to reduce their severity. Julia Buckner, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology in the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, received a $359,716 award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for a National Institutes of Health Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant titled, “Multi-method Assessment of Affective and Situational Antecedents of Marijuana Use.” Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and internationally, and more than a quarter of current marijuana users in the U.S. suffer from a marijuana use disorder. Identification of high-risk marijuana use situations could provide invaluable information that could inform treatment and prevention efforts. This research project involves two studies aimed at identifying affective, cognitive, and situational predictors of marijuana use among users with and without social anxiety disorder, a disorder characterized by fear of scrutiny in social situations that is thought to serve as a risk factor for marijuana dependence. The studies will provide important information regarding proximal factors that maintain marijuana use as well as shed light on the understudied relationship between social anxiety disorder and marijuana use disorder. Such data have direct, translational implications for the prevention and treatment of marijuana use and marijuana use disorder.
In 2010, six researchers from LSU’s College of Science 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. 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.
LSU’s newest AAAS Fellows are: Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Science: for outstanding contributions in marine benthic ecology, excellence in teaching, and distinguished service as dean of LSU’s College of Science. Robin McCarley, Barbara Womack Alumni Professor of Chemistry: for distinguished contributions to the field of surface and interfacial chemistry, particularly for polymerization reactions in two dimensions, probe microscopy studies and polymer surface modification. Saundra McGuire, professor of chemistry and assistant vice chancellor for learning and teaching in LSU’s Division of Student Life and Enrollment Services: for distinguished contributions to the field of chemistry in teaching and mentoring of students and faculty for success in science careers and academics. Erwin Poliakoff, Roy Paul Daniels Professor of Chemistry: for demonstrating the importance of molecular photoionization for an array of scientific goals and developing a deeper understanding via experiments that highlight electron-nuclear coupling. Frederick Rainey, Gregory Cannaday Burns Professor of Biological Sciences: for distinguished contributions in bacterial systematics and ecology, particularly in determining the bacteria present in extreme habitats including deserts; for service to his scientific community. Edward Seidel, professor of physics: for distinguished contributions to numerical relativity and computational science, including development of software frameworks, and for national leadership through service at the National Science Foundation.
Dirty Resea Ashley Berthelot
We all know that cigarette smoke is deadly. It’s a concept taught to children as soon as they can talk, pushed by health advocates and underscored by statistics. In general, air-borne carcinogens are simply bad news and should be avoided at all costs. But what if simply breathing air from the outdoors was just as bad for you as smoking a pack of cigarettes? Environmentally-Persistent Free Radicals, or 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. And they’re definitely bad for your health.
“Simply breathing on a worst-case scenario day in Mexico City, for example, is like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day,” said LSU’s Patrick F. Taylor Chair of Chemistry Barry 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.” Prior to Dellinger’s ground-breaking work with EPFRs, these dangerous pollutants hadn’t been proven to exist. But now, not only do researchers know they’re real, thanks to the work being done at LSU, they’re also starting to realize just how hazardous they can be.
Dellinger recently 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 EPFRs. The center was originally funded by $3.8 million in 2009, and has been hugely successful since its initiation. The momentum Dellinger and his team have built in the relatively short time span of two years is still increasing. Because of the intense competition for NIEHS superfund center grants, 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. Now, he’s finding that when extraction of EFPRs is attempted with solvents, a whole new problem is literally created.
“We are seeing a reaction in solution that produces a new pollutant that was not originally there,” said Dellinger. “This is controversial due to the implications for public health. The reactions in solution mean researchers may be studying chemicals that don’t even exist in the environment.” Researchers are already well aware of the dangers inherent in dioxins, which, similar to EFPRs, enter the environment through combustion, refineries and other common industrial processes.
“Because of what we are seeing during the extraction process, it’s caused us to wonder if it might be the free radicals of dioxins that cause health impacts and not dioxins after all, which would be quite the blow to millions of dollars already invested in researching that area,” said Dellinger. After discovering species shift, Dellinger hypothesized that these radical elements could potentially enter into a catalytic cycle. After some experimentation, it appears that this is the case. Basically, the cycle represents the near-unending generation and regeneration of more damaging pollutants. For example, one EPFR could potentially cycle into thousands of dangerous radicals, the worst being hydroxyl and superoxide. 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—hope of all hopes—developing correlations between this information and epidemiological data. “No one knows what’s next for this grant—you can’t know with science like this,” said Dellinger. “But if we could determine, say, a spike in hospital admissions during times we know these EPFRs to have reached a fever pitch, well, that’s a game changer.”
“We are seeing a reaction in solution that produces a new pollutant that was not originally there,” said Dellinger. “This is controversial due to the implications for public health. The reactions in solution mean researchers may be studying chemicals that don’t even exist in the environment.”
Photo © iStockphoto
Learn more about Superfund Sites and see if there’s one near you at www.epa.gov/superfund.
Media Shelf Offenders and Substance Abuse: Bringing the Family Into Focus Catherine Lemieux, Margaret Champagne Womack Associate Professor in Addictive Disorders at the LSU School of Social Work Lemieux’s text takes an in-depth look at the family dynamics of offenders, with a focus on impact on families, family-oriented interventions, and self-help groups and theoretical underpinnings tying it all together. Deafness in Dogs and Cats George M. Strain, professor of neuroscience at the School of Veterinary Medicine
Dark Archive Laura Mullen, associate professor of creative writing
Strain’s text examines the increasingly common issue of deafness in household pets, providing complete coverage of the topic from anatomy of the auditory system to living and dealing with deaf pets.
Mullen’s fourth poetry collection examines the realities of loss and change, touching on everything from her own personal loss to the collective experience of Hurricane Katrina.
Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980 Danny Shipka, assistant professor of public relations in the Manship School of Mass Communication Perverse Titillation delves into the Eurocult phenomenon of exploitation films abroad, taking an entertaining look at everything from Italian Zombies to Spanish werewolves from the filmmakers’ perspective.
French Sonatas for Violin & Piano (CD) Lin He, assistant professor of violin, LSU School of Music & Dramatic Arts Gregory Sioles, assistant professor of piano, LSU School of Music & Dramatic Arts He and Sioles perform violin and piano music from 1911 to World War II, including work by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Francis Poulenc.
The Katrina Decameron (audio book) Andrew Banecker, Vincent Celluci, Brock Guthrie, Jane Stubbs, Kristen Foster Kirschner, Stephanie Nash, and Adrienne Comeaux, current and former LSU MFA creative writing students, and Andrei Codrescu, professor emeritus of creative writing A collaborative novel by current and former LSU MFA students and a professor, The Katrina Decameron is an experimental piece exploring several characters experiences as they sit stranded in a French Quarter home during Hurricane Katrina.
Treasures of LSU Laura Lindsay, dean of LSU’s College of Education Treasures of LSU is a largeformat book that showcases more than 100 of LSU’s most precious treasures and brings them to life through a series of interpretive essays and vibrant photographs. It was published specifically for the university’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2010, but is also a highlight of LSU Press’ 75th anniversary.
Lessons from Ground Zero: Media Response to Terror Ralph Izard, Sig Mickelson/ CBS Professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication, and Jay Perkins, associate professor emeritus, editors Lessons from Ground Zero takes a compelling look at what many consider journalism’s finest hour, while attempting to determine if long-term improvement in the field was gained through the tragedy.
Parenting Gifted Children: The Authoritative Guide From the National Association for Gifted Children Jennifer Jolly, assistant professor of education Together with Donald J. Treffinger, president of the Center for Creative Learning; Tracy Ford Inman, associate director for The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University; and Joan Franklin Smutny, founder and director of the Center for Gifted at NationalLouis University, Jolly’s definitive text guides parents toward finding the resources and support gifted children need to succeed in school and life. Image copyright Prufrock Press, www.prufrock.com
Modeling, Analysis, And Optimization Of Process And Energy Systems F. Carl Knopf, Robert D. & Adele Anding Professor of Chemical Engineering Knopf presents an exploration of how industrial plants use electrical power, explaining consumption and utilization through a variety of processes.
LSU School of Veterinary Medicine
LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences Rebecca S. McConnico was invited to present at a special veterinary component of the 17th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine, or WCDEM, in Beijing, China during June 2011. WCDEM hosted more than 1,600 participants from 57 countries. McConnico highlighted the school’s expanding disaster training program in response to increasing global concerns about society’s responsibilities for including animals in local, regional, and federal disaster planning. She gave two lectures, one focusing on biosecurity considerations for equine emergency sheltering, and the other dealing with experiential learning in disaster response for veterinarians and students.
Top: Dr. Rebecca McConnico, associate professor of veterinary medicine at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Dick Green, international director of emergency response, International Fund for Animal Welfare, in front of the conference banner in Beijing, China.
Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series In fall 2010, LSU hosted Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell for a talk titled “Which Does Nature Like Better, Lazy or Sloppy?” More than 300 attended the event. While present on campus, Cornell visited several departments, met with graduate students and discussed the opportunity for collaboration with university faculty.
Photo © iStockphoto
Cornell is one of the youngest recipients ever of the Nobel Prize in Physics. Currently a JILA Fellow and Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in 1995 he developed the experimental realization of the Bose-Einstein condensate, which was predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924. The condensate is achieved when atoms are chilled in the laboratory environment to just above absolute zero, with virtually all the atoms entering the same quantum state. Bose-Einstein condensates also exhibit perfect viscosity-free flow, known as superfluidity, providing a novel setting for scientists to study quantum phenomena. For more information about the Bose-Einstein condensate, visit www.colorado.edu/NewsServices/nobel/ background. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Cornell has received numerous honors, including the Fritz London Prize, the I.I. Rabi Prize of the American Physical Society, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, the Lorenz Medal, the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering and the Newcomb-Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The LSU Chancellor’s Distinguished Lectureship Series is an ongoing series bringing internationally renowned scholars to Baton Rouge to engage LSU’s faculty, students and staff in discussion about the world’s most complex problems and concerns. Speakers are nominated by faculty on campus and then selected through a vigorous review process by an interdisciplinary committee. For more information about the CDLS, visit www.research.lsu.edu.
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Clint Willson, LSU associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the universityâ€™s Vince A. Forte River and Coastal Hydraulics Lab, demonstrates their 24 x 48-foot model of the lower Mississippi River for media during the floods of 2011. The model helps Willson and Louisiana officials evaluate potential sediment diversion locations and strategies. See page 4 for more information about LSU research on the Mississippi River.