Centenary Magazine Spring '06

Mickle Hall of Fame

Whether earning grants for cutting-edge research ventures, getting published in prestigious academic journals or winning awards for outstanding scientific contributions, Centenary’s natural sciences division has success down to a science.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that some great things have been happening in Centenary’s Mickle Hall. Faculty and students share the credit for numerous accomplishments including these recent ones:

$1 Million Appropriation

Centenary’s science program will receive a major boost with a $1 million Congressional appropriation for technology upgrades. U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery announced the good news in November, lauding Centenary’s science programs and mentioning Centenary’s unique course, which allows students to combine lecture and laboratory into one class.

The new funding, along with monies from Centenary, will also allow for lab modernization, improved ventilation and software upgrades and additions, leveraging dollars committed in the college’s operating budget and annual fund to provide a critical technology platform.

9th National Award for Chemistry Club

Centenary’s Chemistry Club earned its ninth national award from the American Chemical Society, which ranks it in the top 10 percent of student affiliate organizations nationally. The club was recognized in November with a commendable citation based on the number and diversity of its activities.

In observance of National Chemistry Week, this past year, students set up demonstrations for local children at Sci-Port Discovery Center, organized a progressive dinner at chemistry professors’ homes and displayed their traditional periodic table of cupcakes— a sweet (and educational) treat for hungry scientists.

Faculty Members Receive Research Grants

Dr. Cynthia Brame, assistant professor of biology, received research funds totaling $66,920 from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Since the summer of 2004, Dr. Brame and others have labored on a project, which involves using a phosphoproteomics approach to determine substrates of yeast casein kinase 1, an essential enzyme that is conserved from yeast to humans. If successful, the project will identify substrates of this enzyme and will validate a method that has the potential to be useful in many areas of biology.

Centenary’s newest natural sciences faculty member, Dr. Joshua Lawrence, assistant professor of chemistry, was one of 31 faculty members across the United States and Canada to receive the Fall 2005 Cottrell College Science Award. Given by Research Corporation, this award is a grant allotted to faculty at undergraduate institutions for the advancement of science.

Dr. Lawrence received $40,171 for his research in the trifluoromethylation of aromatic compounds via C-H activation using iron reagents. He plans to use the funds to pay the summer salaries of four student researchers and to purchase new equipment for use in the synthesis of air-sensitive compounds. In addition, an electrochemical workstation will be purchased with a combination of funds from this award and from the Mattie Allen Broyles Inaugural Year Research Chair.

Dr. Ron Martin, Albert Sklar Eminent Scholars chair of chemistry, received $100,000 for “Enhancement of Chemistry with Spectrometry at Centenary College” and Dr. Tom Ticich, associate professor of chemistry, received $44,000 for “Building a 21st Century Chemistry Curriculum Through Molecular Modeling and Numerical Analysis” from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Nature Chemical Biology Publishes Rodriguez

Wortham Chair of Engineering Dr. Juan Rodriguez is among researchers whose latest findings may have important implications for dietary guidelines for foods containing nitrite, a common meat preservative.

Having had his research published in Nature Chemical Biology and other prestigious journals, Dr. Rodriguez is now leading a research project to engineer a new way to trace tissue responses to either nitrite and/or nitric oxide. This engineering project will involve Centenary students and outside researchers and is designed to enhance the quality of biomedical research conducted throughout the state of Louisiana.

Petroleum Geologists to Honor Barrett

Geology professor Dr. Mary Barrett will be recognized by the Division of Environmental Geosciences of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists at the AAPG’s annual convention in April. Having taught at Centenary since 1992 and made many contributions in the field of geology, Dr. Barrett, is the recipient of the DEG Certificate of Merit, which honors outstanding contributions to and meritorious service for the betterment of the Division and its membership.