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Mark Batzer

Mark Batzer Given LSU’s Highest Distinction
Prestigious researcher adds “Boyd Professor” to his ever-growing list of titles

Mark Batzer, LSU alumnus and one of the university’s most prominent faculty members, was recently named an LSU System Boyd Professor, the highest academic rank at the university, by the LSU Board of Supervisors at its August Meeting.

Batzer, who holds the title of Dr. Mary Lou Applewhite Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences, becomes the 66th LSU System faculty member to achieve Boyd status in the 55 years since the honor was created.

“His work has contributed significantly to our understanding of the genetic diversity of humans,” said Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Basic Sciences, who noted that Batzer’s work has the potential for advancing disease prevention and producing a better understanding of evolution. Batzer’s research has also resulted in several patents that are currently being used in forensic DNA analysis by companies such as Reliagene, Inc. of New Orleans.

Batzer, the author of more than 215 peer-reviewed publications in leading academic journal articles, including cover articles in both Nature and Science, was commended in the unanimous resolution that awarded him the Boyd professorship as a “highly productive” researcher whose work has bridged international borders to “link collaborators in innovative approaches to the study of population biology and human origins.” His work has been cited more than 7,500 times in scientific literature.

In May, Batzer and an international team of researchers made headlines in the scientific world with a groundbreaking study of platypus DNA. Their research revealed that the duck-billed platypus is actually a bizarre combination of mammal, bird and reptile genes, a discovery that was hailed as providing new insight into how humans and other mammals first evolved.

Batzer has also participated in equally significant genetic studies focusing on the rhesus macaque and the opossum over the past year. For more information, contact Batzer at 225-578-7102 or mbatzer@lsu.edu, or visit http://batzerlab.lsu.edu/.

Ashley Berthelot | Editor
LSU Office of Public Affairs | Fall 2008

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