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Contact: Lynn Stewart or Peggy Cooper, Centenary News Service
(318) 869-5120 or 869-5709 (day) or 868-1067 (evening)

Centenary College, LSU Medical Center Offer Joint Program to Advance Undergraduate Research in the Sciences; Friday, Aug. 7 Public Program to Recognize Participants

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Scientists from Centenary College and the LSU Medical Center have teamed up this summer to advance the cause of research to those who are a bit younger than the typical med school student.

"Our two institutions have joined hands through a unique arrangement that gives undergraduates a chance to work side by side with leading scientific researchers," said Dr. Juan Rodriguez, chairman of the Department of Physics at Centenary.

Dr. Neil Granger, Boyd Professor and associate dean for research for the LSU School of Medicine, said the program will help address a shortage of researchers. "The program provides a unique opportunity for talented undergraduate students to learn about exciting career opportunities in biomedical research. Centenary students, LSU Medical Center and the region benefit because it enhances our ability to recruit highly qualified students into our graduate program and addresses the regional shortage of qualified biomedical researchers."

Rodriguez coordinates the program along with Dr. Harold Battarbee of the Med Center's Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Students work with their mentors to perform research on the mechanisms of tissue damage when blood flow is reduced and on the imaging of tissue oxygenation using infrared lasers.

In addition, they have opportunities to attend lectures and to discuss such issues as ethics and record-keeping in research, careers in research, and mentoring/women in research, as well as touring such research facilities as the Biomedical Research Foundation's Positron Emissions Tomography facility, animal resources facility and the Confocal Microscope facility.

Highlights of their summer of research will be presented by six Centenary students during a series of poster presentations and an awards ceremony on Friday, Aug. 7 at the Medical Center. The event will take place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the fourth-floor common area that adjoins the Medical School with the Biomedical Research Institute.

Students participating are Nola Jean Siebert, an applied science major from Paulina, La.; Chad Hendricks and Chad Quarles, both biophysics majors and both from Hallsville, Texas; Steven Hill, a biology major from Grand Saline, Texas; Daniel McCabe, a biophysics major from Alexandria; and Shreveporters Katherine E. Williamson, a mathematics major; Lee Ellen Brunson, biochemistry major, and Chad Ruffin, biology and biophysics major.

Also involved in the summer program is Martin Shelton, who just graduated from high school and who has worked with Dr. Rodriguez at the Medical Center. He participated under a Centenary program funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Center.

The Friday program is open to the public.