Juan Rodriguez

Juan Rodriguez

Professor of Physics and Biophysics
Keen Professor of Physics and Biophysics

2911 Centenary Blvd
Shreveport, LA 71134

Biophysics sketch

Find out more about the Biophysics B.S. program.

Academic Positions and Education

  • Full Professor of Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, since 2003.
  • Visiting Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, LSU Health Sciences center - Shreveport, 2001-2002.
  • Chair, Department of Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1997-2000, 2007-2013.
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Physiology, LSU Health Sciences Center, since 1997.
  • Associate Professor of Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1996.
  • Biophysics program director, instructor, and academic advisor, Centenary College of Louisiana, since 1993.
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1990.
  • Post-doctoral research associate, Department of Chemistry, Washington University (St. Louis) 1986-1990.
  • Ph.D. Physics, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, 1986.
  • Laboratory instructor, Laser Physics Laboratory, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville, 1982-1985.
  • B.S. Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 1980.

Educational Interests:
Curriculum development in physics and biophysics

My interest in physics laboratory development began as a graduate student at the University of Arkansas, where I spent three years designing experiments for the Laser Physics Laboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation. Since arriving at Centenary I have developed with my colleagues new approaches to our physics laboratories. Beginning with a grant from the National Science Foundation, my colleagues and I embarked in a decade long effort to modify our introductory physics laboratories. Another area of interest is the incorporation of hands-on activities into our advanced courses, which traditionally have been exclusively theoretical. This effort was co-funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the National Science Foundation.


Biophysics major Angela Hale (left) and biochemistry major Nola-Jean Sieber (right) examine molecular simulations that illustrate the optical properties of biomolecules. This activity was developed specifically for the lab that accompanies the Biophysics and Bioimaging course at Centenary. Angela Hale and Nola-Jean Sieber are now Ph.D. candidates at Rice and the University of Alabama Medical School in Birmingham, respectively.

During my postdoctoral years at Washington University, St. Louis, I had a chance to participate in a field of research where chemistry and physics were being applied to a classic biological question: how is light transformed into chemical energy in photosynthesis? Multi-disciplinary approaches to biological problems are increasingly common today, as Biology seeks deeper insights into the fundamental molecular events that drive life. One of the challenges now facing biological and biomedical research is how to prepare scientists for this new era of quantitative knowledge. Since 1992, I have been developing a science major focused on this idea. The biophysics major at Centenary College, the first of its kind at a four-year liberal arts institution, is a carefully chosen blend of courses in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics that prepares students for this future . The major includes a course entitled Biophysics and Bioimaging with a unique mission to bring biophysics to the reach of all undergraduate bioscience students.

Research Interests:
Biomedical Optics and Biophysics of Nitric Oxide

poster presentation
Biophysics student Julia Cornelius (center) and biology major Tuan Tran (right) present a poster at the Society for Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine (Indianapolis 2009). The poster summarizes their contribution to the development of a mass spectrometric method for the detection of nitric oxide products in biological samples.

Since receiving my Ph.D. in Physics, specializing in the field of quantum optics, my research interests have evolved into inter-disciplinary areas that include chemical physics, biophysics, and non-invasive medical diagnostics. In chemical physics, my interests have centered on understanding the dynamics (electronic and vibrational) of metalloporphyrins, a class of biological molecules that perform a wide range of functions in plant and animal tissues. Subsequently, my research focused on the implementation of optical techniques for the development of medical diagnostics. These techniques are based on time-of-flight and spectroscopic measurements of near-infrared photons through living tissues. Some of this work included the development of optical tomographic techniques with fast imaging capabilities, and the development of methods for the early detection of brain edema.

Following a year-long sabbatical in 2001 with Dr. Martin Feelisch (formerly from LSUHSC-Shreveport, now with the University of Warwick, UK) my research focused on understanding the role of a simple molecule, nitric oxide, in Biology. This research includes developing newl methods for the detection of nitric oxide products based on optical and mass spectrometric approaches. These studies have been published recently in Nature Chemical Biology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Medicine, and Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine, and Biological Chemistry. Also, in collaboration with Dr. Cuthbert Simpkins, CEO of Innovative Resuscitation Technologies, we have developed a generalized approach for quantitation of dissolved gases in aqueous media, including emulsions and whole blood. This technology is now being applied to the development of non-toxic resuscitation fluids with enhanced gas carrying capacities.

Recent Publications

Cornelius J, Tran T, Turner N, Piazza A, Mills L, Slack R, Hauser S, Alexander JS, Grisham MB, Feelisch M, Rodriguez J. “Isotope tracing enhancement of chemiluminescence assays for nitric oxide research” Biol Chem. Feb;390(2):181-9 (2009).

Feelisch M, Fernandez BO, Bryan NS, Garcia-Saura MF, Bauer S, Whitlock DR, Ford PC, Janero DR, Rodriguez J, Ashrafian H. “Tissue processing of nitrite in hypoxia: an intricate interplay of nitric oxide-generating and -scavenging systems”, J Biol Chem. 2008 Dec 5;283(49):33927-34

Edward Kelly, Jeffrey Mathew, Amy Blass, Juan Rodriguez, David I. Soybel, Cuthbert O. Simpkins, “Reperfusion Does not Correct Acute Heat Deficit in Short Term Intestinal Ischemia”, J. Surg. Res., 144, 423-424 (2008).

Jeffrey Mathew, Amy Blass, Juan Rodriguez, David I. Soybel, Edward Kelly, Cuthbert O. Simpkins, “Infrared Emission As a Monitor of Metabolism in Hemorrhagic Shock” , J. Surg. Res., 144, 430-431 (2008).

Vital, S.A., Fowler, R.W., Virgen, A., Gossett, D.R., Banks, S.W., Rodriguez, J. “Opposing Roles for Superoxide and Nitric Oxide in the NaCl-Induced Up-Regulation of Antioxidant Enzyme Activity In Cotton Callus Tissue.” Environ Exp Bot 62: 60-68 (2008).

Wang X, Bryan NS, MacArthur PH, Rodriguez J, Gladwin MT, Feelisch M. “Measurement of nitric oxide levels in the red cell: validation of tri-iodide-based chemiluminescence with acid-sulfanilamide pretreatment.” J Biol Chem. Sep 15;281(37):26994-7002 (2006).

NS Bryan, BO Fernandez, SM Bauer, MF Garcia-Saura, AB Milson, T Rassaf, RE Maloney, A Bharti, JR Rodriguez, and M Feelisch, , “Nitrite is a signaling molecule and a regulator of gene expression in mammalian tissues,” Nat Chem Biol, 1, 290-297 (2005).

J Rodriguez, V Specian, R Maloney, D Jourd'heuil, M Feelisch. “Performance of diamino fluorophores for the localization of sources and targets of nitric oxide” Free Radic Biol Med. 38, 356-68 (2005).

Bryan NS, Rassaf T, Rodriguez J, Feelisch M. "Bound NO in human red blood cells: fact or artifact?" Nitric Oxide. 2004 Jun;10(4):221-8.

Bryan NS, Rassaf T, Maloney RE, Rodriguez CM, Saijo F, Rodriguez JR, Feelisch M. "Cellular targets and mechanisms of nitros(yl)ation: an insight into their nature and kinetics in vivo." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 23;101(12):4308-13. .

Xiao F, Rodriguez J, Arnold TC, Zhang S, Ferrara D, Ewing J, Alexander JS, Carden DL, Conrad SA. "Near-infrared spectroscopy: a tool to monitor cerebral hemodynamic and metabolic changes after cardiac arrest in rats." Resuscitation. 2004 63(2), 213-20 (2004).

André Dejam, Petra Kleinbongard, Tienush Rassaf, Sandra Hamada, Putrika Gharini, Juan Rodriguez, Malte Kelm,and Martin Feelisch, “Thiols enhance NO formation from nitrate photolysis”, Free Radic Biol Med., Vol. 35, No. 12, pp. 1551–1559, 2003

Rassaf T, Bryan NS, Maloney RE, Specian V, Kelm M, Kalyanaraman B, Rodriguez J, Feelisch M. “NO adducts in mammalian red blood cells: too much or too little?” Nat Med. 2003 May;9(5):481-3.

J. Rodriguez and M. Feelish,” Functional spectroscopy approach to the assessment of nitric oxide storage in vascular tissues” Saratov Fall Meeting 2002: Optical Technologies in Biophysics and Medicine IV, SPIE Proceedings 5068, V.V. Tuchin ed., 149-154 (2003)

J. Rodriguez, R. Maloney, T. Rassaf, N. Bryan, and M. Feelisch, “Chemical nature of nitric oxide storage forms in rat vascular tissue.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jan 7;100(1):336-41

C. Delaney and J. Rodriguez, “A simple medical physics experiment based on a laser pointer,” Amer. J. Phys. 70, 1068-1070 (2002)

J. Rodriguez, R. Maloney, and M. Feelisch “Light-induced Vasodilation: Spectral and Aging Effects.” OSA Biomedical Topical Meetings OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, Washington DC, 2002), pp. 531-533.

J. Rodriguez, F. Xiao, D. Ferrara, J. Ewing, S. Zhang S, S. Alexander, and H. Battarbee, “Implementation of near-infrared spectroscopy in a rat model of cardiac arrest and resuscitation” Saratov Fall Meeting 2001: Optical Technologies in Biophysics and Medicine III, SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 4707, V.V. Tuchin ed., 83-91 (2002).

J. Rodriguez, C. Sisson, Chris Pattillo, Chad Hendricks, Megan McWaters, Chad Quarles, M.Hardjasudarma, I.V. Yaroslavsky, A.N. Yaroslavsky, and H. Battarbee “Experimental assessment of the CSF contribution to light propagation the adult brain”, Trends in Optics and Photonics (TOPS) Vol 56, Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics (CLEO 2001), Technical Digest, Post-conference Edition (Optical Society of America, Washington DC,2001), pp. 401-402.

J. Rodriguez, C. Sisson, Chad Hendricks, Chris Pattillo, Megan McWaters, Chad Quarles, I.V. Yaroslavsky, A.N. Yaroslavsky, and H. Battarbee.“Feasibility of using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy for the quantification of brain edema.” in Saratov Fall Meeting 2000: Optical Technologies in Biophysics and Medicine II, Valery Tuchin Editor, Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 4241, pp. 88-97 (2001).

I. Yaroslavsky, A. Yaroslavsky, H. Battarbee, C. Sisson, and J. Rodriguez.“ Self-calibrating distributed-source image reconstruction technique for diffuse optical.” Biomedical Topical Meetings, OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, Washington DC, 2000), pp. 487-488

Yaroslavsky, I., H. Battarbee, A. Yaroslavsky, and J. Rodriguez.“Distributed-source approach to image reconstruction in diffusion optical tomography.” in International Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) 2000: Optical Biopsy III, Robert Alfano Editor, Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 3917, pp. 88-97 (2000).

I.Yaroslavsky, A. Yaroslavsky, H. Battarbee, C. Sisson, and J. Rodriguez."Non-Jacobian nonlinear image reconstruction technique in diffuse optical tomography" Inter-Institute Workshop on In Vivo Optical Imaging at the NIH (Bethesda, 1999), P-21,22.

Rodriguez, J., C. Quarles, C. Sisson, and H.D. Battarbee. “High bandwidth optical tomography” in Medical Imaging 1999: Physics of Medical Imaging, J.M. Boone and J.T. Dobbins Editors, Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 3659, pp. 375-383 (1999).

Book Chapters, from the SPIE Handbook of Optical Biomedical Diagnostics, (SPIE, 2002).

Chapter 6, Time-Resolved Imaging In Diffusive Media
J. Rodriguez, I. V. Yaroslavsky, A. Yaroslavsky, H. Battarbee and V.V. Tuchin

Chapter 2. Optics Of Blood
Yaroslavsky I.V. Yaroslavsky, J. Rodriguez, and H. Battarbee.

Chapter 3. Propagation Of Pulses And Photon-Density Waves In Turbid Media
I.V. Yaroslavsky, A.N. Yaroslavsky, J. Rodriguez, and H. Battarbee.

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