Official newsletter of the LSU College of Science | December 2015
This has been an outstanding year for the College of Science.
Our faculty have contributed to Nobel Prize-winning work and accumulated a number of national and international awards and recognitions. The impact of their work is extensive with collaborative efforts that reach as far as Antarctica, Japan, Italy and India. Our outstanding staff are providing invaluable support to our academic and research programs and have also garnered a diversity of recognitions for their hard work. And, our students are getting in involved in research earlier than ever before and making substantial contributions to the university's research pursuits. They are also involved in community volunteerism and other activities that showcase their commitment to bettering our community.
I am so proud to say that I am a product of the LSU College of Science. We are expanding our research connections throughout campus, the U.S. and the world, staking our claim as leaders in science for national education, literacy initiatives and high-impact research.
I hold great expectations for 2016. We are focusing on growing and diversifying our faculty, increasing our efforts to recruit and retain top-performing students and building networks that will better support our growing academic and research activities.
I am grateful for all that you have done to advance the College of Science. I wish you all the joys of the holiday season and a very happy New Year. See you in 2016.
Cynthia B. Peterson, Dean
Seola Arnaud and Richard Vernon Edwards Jr. Professor
LSU Alumnus and CDC Scientist James Lange Addresses Fall Graduates
The LSU College of Science hosted is fall 2015 diploma ceremony, Friday, December 18 in Maddox Fieldhouse. More than 140 degrees were conferred including 29 PhDs, 12 master's degrees and 108 bachelor's degrees. Dr. James Lange, distinguished LSU alumnus and research scientist with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, gave the keynote address.
"Today, you are joining a proud cadre of graduates to wear the purple and gold," said Dr. Lange.
He also encouraged the graduates to be generous with their time and resources to help move the college and the university forward.
"I really want to impress upon you that the groundwork has been laid and now it is up to you to go out and prove yourself," said Dr. Lange.
LSU Biologist Prosanta Chakrabarty Named 2016 TED Fellow
Prosanta Chakrabarty, associate professor of biological sciences and curator of fishes in the LSU Museum of Natural Science, was named one of 21 TED Fellows for 2016. TED, the international nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading ideas-usually in the form of short, thought-provoking talks-selects leaders and trailblazers in various disciplines from throughout the world to be TED Fellows. > More
LSU students Grace Sampson and Anna Suydam collecting samples in Mike VI's habitat.
Photo by Scott Chachere III (scottchachere.com)
Microbes and Mike VI
College of Science, School of Veterinary Medicine Launch LSU Mikereauxbiome Project
The LSU College of Science and the School of Veterinary Medicine have partnered to launch a novel instructional and research venture that uses molecular genetic data to define microorganisms and the collective genetic material on LSU's campus. The Mikereauxbiome Project, focuses on identifying gut microbes in tigers and other large cats to develop markers for health. This project is the first in a series of undergraduate research activities to contribute new knowledge to our understanding of big cats.
The Dr. Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium at LSU is an essential resource for the study of native and naturalized plants in Louisiana, the ecology of Louisiana marshes, the medicinal plants of the Gulf South and vascular plant systematics.
The herbarium, with help from the College of Science, have produced a video highlighting the herbarium's contributions to plant systematics and the extensive collections of preserved plant specimens housed in the facility.
Ivan Agullo, assistant professor in physics & astronomy, and Shawn Walker, assistant professor of mathematics and faculty member in the Center for Computation and Technology, have been awarded a five-year Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, grant from the National Science Foundation.
The NSF CAREER Award is one of the foundation's most prestigious grants given to promising junior faculty who effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.
Barry Aronhime, instructor of biological sciences, is one of LSU's 2015 Happy Award winners. The recognition, awarded each year by the Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL, celebrates the accomplishments of those who have gone above and beyond in the field of service learning. Aronhine is the most active service-learning faculty member at LSU, teaching 16 classes each year as part of a partnership with the Recreation and Park Commission for East Baton Rouge Parish. Aronhime and his students fight invasive species in the parks and help maintain biodiversity in Baton Rouge.
Gretchen Schneider Burton, coordinator for LSU's Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program, or IMSD, is a recipient of the 2015 LSU Foundation Outstanding Staff Service Award. The award recognizes the superior work performance and outstanding contributions of full-time, nonacademic staff at LSU.
Pallavi Dani, LSU associate professor of mathematics, is the 2016-17 recipient of the Michler Prize of the Association for Women in Mathematics, the second faculty member in the Department of Mathematics to receive this distinguished honor.
This annual award recognizes women recently promoted to associate professor, or an equivalent position, in mathematics. The prize provides a fellowship for Dani to spend a semester at Cornell University focusing on her research without teaching obligations.
Darrell Henry, LSU Campanile Charities Professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, and a team of petrologists and crystallographers from Canada and Japan, have discovered maruyamaite, the first tourmaline species that is both diamond-bearing and potassium dominant.
Vince LiCata, professor of biological sciences, and Trish Suchy, professor in the Department of Communication Studies, received a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers grant to recreate modern versions of some of the most iconic photography of the Antarctic continent captured more than 100 years ago.
James Matthews, professor of physics and astronomy, is celebrating 15 years of achievement at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. Matthews and an international team of scientists are reconstructing the path of the Universe's most energetic cosmic rays, bringing new insights into the origin and nature of this intergalactic phenomenon.
John Pojman, professor of chemistry; Naohiro Kato, associate professor of biological sciences; and Kermit Murray, professor of chemistry, are among 22 faculty members across LSU campuses to receive LIFT2 awards. Created by the LSU Board of Supervisors in January 2014, the fund helps support further commercialization of innovation and establishes data to support commercial feasibility of innovation.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Karen Maruska and her Ph.D student Julie Butler published a paper about their research of cichlid fish's lateral line system in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Their paper was flagged as an "Editor's Choice" article.
Geology PhD student Nicki Button referees a rugby match.
Rugby on Mars?
Geology PhD Student and Rugby Player Nicki Button Featured in the Advocate
Nicki Button, a doctoral student investigating the geology of Mars at LSU, is also an avid rugby player. Button was the focus of an Advocate feature about rugby teams in Baton Rouge. Button is president of the Baton Rouge Women's Rugby Football Club and vice president of Louisiana Lagniappe, a club of players from both Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Left to right: Bridges to the Baccalaureate students at BRCC Megan Moore and Ryan Leblanc, and LSU biochemistry major Brandon Byrd.
LSU, BRCC Students Recognized at National Biomedical Conference
One LSU and two BRCC students were recognized for their outstanding poster presentations at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, or ABRCMS, held in Seattle, Washington, November 11-14. Brandon Byrd, Ryan LeBlanc and Meagan Moore won awards for their poster presentations in the areas of chemistry and neuroscience.
LSU Math Circle Students Place at International Competition
The LSU Math Circle competition team competed in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament on November 14th. Held alternately at Harvard and MIT, the tournament consists of two 50-minute individual tests that require knowledge of subjects such as geometry, algebra and combinatorics, and two team rounds: a 60-minute team test and an 80-minute speed-based "guts" round.
The A team came in fifth place in the team test out of 135 teams and received 18th place overall, its most successful tournament showing to date. The B team, in its first appearance at the tournament, also scored highly.
Bill Gibson, LSU's Costal Studies Institute Field Support Group, guides geology graduate student Jeff Bomer and graduate James Smith during field work to collect vibracores in the upper Brenton Sound Estuary System, South East Louisiana.
Geology Graduate's Work Featured in Scientific Reports
Geology graduate James Smith is the lead author of a report that suggests that the Mississippi River is a key contributor to wetland development. The article, published December 2 in Scientific Reports, a Nature.com journal, provides the first account relating the long-term input of sedimentation to the Mississippi Delta from both hurricane flooding and river flooding spanning many decades.
Emi Gilbert, Kuni Hara, Reinosuke Hara, and Vice President of Development for the LSU Foundation Ann Marie Marmande photographed during Dr. Hara's visit to LSU in 2014.
Dr. Hara photographed on campus in 1953.
Remembering Dr. Reinosuke Hara
Reinosuke Hara, former president and CEO of Seiko instruments, and charter member of the LSU College of Science Dean's Circle, was a longtime friend of LSU and the College of Science. A giant in the global business community and in the Japanese scientific community, he was an active promoter of nanotechnology and brought a wealth of business experience and technical knowledge to his endeavors. When Dr. Hara joined Seiko, it was best known for developing radiation sensors. Under his leadership the company grew to become what it is known as today.
In the early 1950's, Dr. Hara was a postdoctoral researcher under late Boyd Professor Emeritus Phil West. He was always a staunch supporter of LSU and never forgot about his time at the university and what it did for him. Dr. Hara was recognized with an honorary doctorate degree from LSU and was among the first class of honorees to be inducted into the LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction in 2004.
Sadly, Dr. Reinosuke Hara passed November 1. The College of Science is grateful to have had such an accomplished scientist and all around remarkable individual as a supporter and friend of the college. His presence will be missed, but the impact of his generosity will forever remain in the hearts and minds of the LSU science community.
Development Director Emi Gilbert Named One of Baton Rouge Business Report's
40 Under 40
Emi Gilbert, senior director of development for the LSU College of Science, was one of 41 honorees named to the 2015 class of the Baton Rouge Business Report's 40 Under 40. Gilbert joins a diverse group of entrepreneurs, executives, educators and other professionals who are making a positive impact on the Capital Region.