LSU SRP Team Awarded a NIH Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research

November 29, 2021

BATON ROUGE - Myron Lard, a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded funding by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to conduct mentored research with the LSU Superfund Research Program. The LSU Superfund Research Program is an interdisciplinary team of researchers studying Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals (EPFRs) - a type of pollution that can form when hazardous waste is combusted. The supplement provides a stipend and mentorship for highly qualified students from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in health-related sciences.

“It’s given me an opportunity to just focus on my research. With this grant, I can also network with other recipients across the nation,” Lard stated.

The LSU Superfund Research Program is a unique setting for interdisciplinary, mentored research.  For example, Lard’s primary academic mentor is Dr. Rob Cook, a world-renowned environmental chemistry researcher, involved in LSU SRP’s Project 5.  Project 5 draws on both physics and chemistry to gain a fundamental, atomic-level understanding of EPFR formation.  Lard’s research project will bridge physical science and biomedical science, allowing him to link atomic level understanding of EPFRs with the production of reactive oxygen species in rodent models.   As a LSU SRP trainee, Lard will receive additional mentorship from Dr. Phil Sprunger, professor of physics, and senior students working on Project 5 as well as mentorship from faculty in the Program’s biomedical projects and research support cores.

For trainees in LSU’s Superfund Research Program, mentorship goes beyond training in the laboratory.  The Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC), led by Dr. Tammy Dugas, Head of Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, provides mentoring in presentation skills, career development, new methodologies, data sharing, grant writing and more.

Underrepresentation of minorities in STEM fields is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. LSU’s RETCC works with faculty throughout LSU to establish a pipeline for highly qualified trainees to pursue research with the LSU SRP.   Lard is the first[JKI1]  LSU SRP trainee to receive this grant, which will allow him to focus on developing his research expertise. 


Jennifer Irving
LSU Superfund Research Program