Member spotlight: Louisiana State University

Cynthia Peterson, Dean of the LSU College of Science

Louisiana State University (LSU), a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, is the only public Carnegie designated Research Extensive University in Louisiana. With more than 2,000 funded research projects underway at any given time, LSU has developed a research strategy centered on enhancing, expanding and positively impacting the intellectual enterprise, cultural resources, and economic activities in Louisiana, the nation and the world.

LSU’s research focus areas include materials science and engineering, coastal sustainability and environment, conventional and renewable energy, high performance computing, biotechnology and biomedical research, communication and expression, and individual behavior and community context.  The university consists of ten major academic colleges offering more than 230 majors. Among these programs is the College of Science, one of LSU’s key research hubs, the School of the Coast & Environment, a dynamic player in the effort to understand, save, and restore coastal wetlands and the environment, and Pennington Biomedical Research Center, an internationally recognized medical research facility.

The LSU College of Science receives more than $30 million annually in external research funding, over 80 percent of which comes from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). With such well-funded faculty researchers and scholars, there is a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary research opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students providing a deeper more enriching academic experience. College of Science faculty conduct biomedical and genomics research; investigate problems and solutions using mathematics, chemistry, computing, and technology; study the earth and the stars; plot the course for new products and manufacturing processes through materials sciences; and study the oceans and wildlife as explorers and conservators of the world around us.  

The School of the Coast & Environment (SC&E) is led by an interdisciplinary faculty of national and international stature. SC&E students and faculty are involved in some of today’s most pressing environmental issues including wetland coastal land loss, fisheries management, environmental quality, sea level rise and climate change. SC&E’s annual sponsored funding exceeds $10 million, with mean per capita faculty funding over $250,000. SC&E faculty researchers have many fields of expertise including oceanography and coastal sciences, wetland studies, environmental toxicology and remediation, modeling, hurricane research, coastal ecology, coastal restoration planning and management, and fisheries, environmental management, environmental law, biogeochemistry, oil spill research, and emergency response to chemical spills, GIS modeling, biophysical systems and environmental assessment and analysis.

To support LSU’s array of research activities, the university maintains a number of research facilities on campus or nearby including the Center for Microstructures and Devices (CAMD), the only state-funded synchrotron facility in the US; the Laser Interferometer Wave Observatory, an NSF-funded facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic waves; and the LSU Medical Physics & Health Physics partnership with Mary Bird Perkins, which supports the Department of Physics & Astronomy’s nationally accredited medical physics program.                                            

LSU is also home to Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the largest academic nutritional research center in world. An international leader in the study of nutrition, exercise and chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, Pennington Biomedical’s enterprise encompasses 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who make up a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities. The center is at the forefront of medical discoveries in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia, with a goal of understanding the triggers of these diseases and improving both prevention and treatment methods.

Pennington Biomedical is the primary provider of nutrition information to the U.S. Department of Defense.  They have been involved in the development of all approved obesity medications on the market today, as well as key diabetes medications. With grant funding from an array of federal, non-federal, and corporate sponsors, Pennington Biomedical’s groundbreaking research is changing the way America eats, exercises and ages.

LSU’s research initiatives are helping to address the needs of a geographically unique and culturally and economically diverse world. Currently, Louisiana ranks No. 25 in the U.S. in national research funding based on the size of the state population. As a new member of Research!America, LSU lends its support to encourage the creation of new federal funding opportunities that could further strengthen and expand its research efforts to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health issues.


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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers