Official newsletter of the LSU College of Science  |   JANUARY 2015 
Fish seen at the Ross Ice Shelf grounding zone beneath nearly 2,500 feet (740 meters) of ice.


WISSARD Team Discovers
Fish Deep Below Antarctic Ice


Brent Christner, associate professor of biological sciences, and the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) team have discovered fish, crustaceans and jellyfish below one of the world's most extreme ecosystems beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, which is located approximately 530 miles from the open ocean. The swimmers were found after drilling through nearly 2,500 feet of Antarctic ice.


PhD student Kathryn Denommee and Professor Sam Bentley

Photo by Javier Fern�ndez


Researchers Use Climate Records
to Explain Downfall of Mayan Civilization

Sam Bentley, Billy and Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology, PhD student Kathryn Denommee, and Rice University Professor Andr� Droxler made national headlines after their analysis of sediment samples from "The Great Blue Hole" revealed more details that led to the fall of Maya civilization. The researchers examined sediment samples from the massive sinkhole located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize, as well as samples from the Belize Shelf Lagoon.

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Office of Strategic Initiatives
LSU STEM Alumni Connect

LSU will host its inaugural STEM Alumni Connect: Building the Pipeline...From Scholars to Faculty, February 12 - 13, in the Lod Cook Alumni Center. An ideal setting to recruit promising new faculty and maximize diversification opportunities, the event will feature some of LSU's top STEM alumni pursuing PhDs at universities across the country. Activities include an alumni showcase and research presentations, and opportunities for the alums to network and visit with current LSU faculty and administrators.


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Dean Peterson Featured
in AAPG Explorer Magazine


Cynthia Peterson, dean and Seola Arnaud and Richard Vernon Edwards Jr. Professor, was featured in the latest edition of Explorer magazine, a monthly tabloid of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Peterson discussed her LSU roots and high regard for the geoscience field.


Research Magazine 2014
Highlights LSU Innovations


The LSU Office of Research and Economic Development featured a number of College of Science researchers in its 2014 edition of Research magazine. Some of the science faculty higlighted include LSU physicist Johnathan Dowling, Director of the Medical Physics and Health Physics Program Director Wayne Newhauser, and physicist and LIGO spokesperson Gabriela Gonz�lez.

LSU Science in the Movies 


Parts of the much anticipated reboot of the Fantastic Four movie were taped at LSU this summer. Shoot locations included LSU's Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, or CAMD, and the geology laboratory of Sophie Warny, AASP Associate Professor of Palynology. The movie teaser was released earlier this week. Take a look and see if you can spot CAMD (:40).

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Tradition Runs Deep 


Take a look at LSU's new commercial.



Meredith Blackwell
Gabriela G. Gonzalez
Darrell Henry
Kenneth Matthews
James Moroney
Jorge Pullin
Parampreet Singh
Jiandi Zhang
Rainmakers 2014

Two College of Science faculty have been named 2014 Rainmakers in recognition of their excellence in research:


James Moroney, Streva Alumni Professor in Biological Sciences, was given the Senior Scholar Award, which recognizes a tenured faculty member who has exhibited a sustained program of excellence as measured by significant contributions to his or her field.


Parampreet Singh, assistant professor, physics & astronomy, received the Mid-Career Scholar Award recognizing a faculty member holding a tenure-track or tenured position at who has exhibited a sustained program of excellence, and has strong name recognition in his or her field.


> Full list of 2014 Rainmakers

Distinguished Research Master


Jorge Pullin, Horace Hearne Chair in Theoretical Physics, is LSU's 2014 Distinguished Research Master for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Presented by the LSU Council on Research, this award recognizes outstanding faculty in research and scholarship.




Meredith Blackwell, LSU System Boyd Professor Emerita in Biological Sciences, was awarded the De Bary Medal, which is given to an individual who has made outstanding career contributions to mycological research.




Gabriela  Gonzalez, professor of physics & astronomy and LIGO spokesperson, was the keynote speaker at the Women in Physics Conference at Yale University earlier this month. The conference, one of eight hosted around the country sponsored by the American Physical Society, gives undergraduate women the opportunity to experience a professional conference, while also networking with other women in physics.


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Darrell Henry, Campanile Charities Professor in Geology, was a keynote speaker at the quadrennial International Mineralogical Association meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. He presented "The petrologic potential of tourmaline: Interaction between crystallography and local environment revisited." Meeting participants included some of the world's top crystallographers, mineralogists and petrologists.


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Kenneth "Kip" Matthews, associate professor of physics & astronomy, has been named president-elect of the Southwest chapter of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


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Jiandi Zhang, professor of physics & astronomy, has been named Fellow of the American Physical Society, or APS, for his significant contributions to elucidating the correlation between bulk and surface static and dynamic properties of complex materials.


> Complete list of LSU's APS Fellows 




International Innovation has published an article featuring LSU Roy P. Daniels Professor of Physics & Astronomy Jerry Draayer and research assistant professors Kristina Launey and Tomas Dytrych and their nuclear structure research.


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Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy Mark M. Wilde's research on quantum key distribution was published in a recent issue of Nature Communications. The work establishes a fundamental bound on the rate at which quantum secured information can be communicated over an optical communication channel, such as a fiber optic or free space link. The U.S. government is now using the bound as a benchmark to assess quantum key distribution protocols.


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Geology Students to Spend
29 Days Investigating
the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Retreat


A student research team led by Phil Bart, associate professor of geology & geophysics, are participating in a 29 day Antarctic sea expedition aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer, an ice breaking ship and research vessel. The group, which includes three undergrad students, two master's students, and one PhD student, will be collecting geophysics and geological data to help explain the West Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat.


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Math Majors Awarded
NSF Undergraduate Research Grants

Math majors Rachael Keller and Amanda Mayhall have each been awarded a Supervised Undergraduate Research Experiences, or SURE, grant by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the grant seeks to increase the participation of women and other underrepresented minorities in STEM fields by fostering opportunities for students to conduct supervised research with a faculty mentor.

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Andrew Mullet Receives Outstanding Supplemental Instruction Leader Award


Andrew Mullet, dual major in biochemistry and Spanish, is the recipient of this year's Dr. Saundra Yancy McGuire Outstanding Supplemental Instruction Leader Award.

College of Science graduate
Hunter Chapman (left)

Biology Graduate Elected
President of the American Optometric Student Association


Hunter Chapman, May 2012 graduate with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry, was elected president of the American Optometric Student Association, which has a membership of more than 6,500. Currently, Chapman is a student at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN.


LSU alum and Dean's Circle Member Dr. Xiulu Ruan is a fellowship trained pain management specialist practicing comprehensive pain management at Physicians' Pain Specialists of Alabama in Mobile.
Dr. Ruan during a visit to LSU

Dr. Ruan examining a patient

Investing in SUPERIOR
Graduate Students 
DC Member Gives to
Endowed Superior Graduate Program 


The LSU College of Science has established a reputation for attracting the nation's best and brightest students. To engage and recruit these high performing students the college must remain competitive with its peer institutions offering scholarships and fellowships to support student research and other activities needed to provide a world class education.

This fall, the Louisiana Board of Regents established the Endowed Superior Graduate Student Scholarships to help academic departments and units recruit, retain, and graduate excellent candidates. This endowed scholarship is available for private contributions of $60,000 and is matched by $40,000 from the Board of Regents. LSU alumnus and Dean's Circle member
Dr. Xiulu Ruan
is the first to endow a Superior Graduate Student Scholarship.

Dr. Ruan is all too familiar with the difficulties that graduate students have in securing scholarships. A graduate of LSU master's in biochemistry program, Dr. Ruan is an acclaimed pain specialist practicing in Mobile, AL, but more than 26 years ago he was a Chinese international student who was given an opportunity to study at LSU through a graduate assistantship.

"This was my first home away from China," said Dr. Ruan. "It was my first step towards a new life. There were challenging times, but LSU helped me to improve and learn in a warm and welcoming environment."

In 2013, Dr. Ruan held the world record for the most medical board certifications with eight certifications. He credits LSU for laying the foundation for his success and hopes that his investment in the Endowed Superior Graduate Student Scholarships Program will help give others the same opportunities he received as an LSU graduate student.

"I was not a great student because I was not sure of my research direction, but the support I received at LSU helped me to not give up and to work hard," said Dr. Ruan. "There is always hope."

For more information about the Endowed Superior Graduate Student Scholarships Program, email



The College of Science would like to welcome the newest members of the Dean's Circle.
Thank you for your contribution to the teaching and research activities in the college.

  • Dr. Dennis and Mrs. Doris Bauer, December 2014
  • Mr. Daniel J. Bonnet, December 2014
  • Col. Charles W. Chappuis Jr., December 2014
  • Mr. Keith and Mrs. Karen Evans, December 2014
  • Mr. Darrin and Felicia Gipson, December 2014
  • Dr. Sarah B. Homann and Mr. Kenneth L. Homann, December 2014
  • Mr. Jarrod and Mrs. Emily McGehee, December 2014
  • Mr. Stephen F. Skrivanos, December 2014
  • Mr. James and Mrs. Janet Walker, December 2014
  • Mr. L.J. and Mrs. Chee Chee Gielen, January 2015


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