LSU Vet Med’s third artist-in-residence, a poet and evolutionary biologist, in residence April 1-30

April 01, 2024

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine announces its third artist-in-residence, Dr. Brandon Kilbourne, a poet and evolutionary biologist whoBrandon Kilbourne serves as a research biologist and administrator at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Kilbourne is in residence from Monday, April 1 to Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

Kilbourne's return to Louisiana and the LSU campus is a homecoming of sorts. Born in Houma, La., and raised in Lafayette, La., Kilbourne studied biological engineering at Louisiana State University and evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, where he earned his B.S. and Ph.D., respectively.

A widely published poet whose work focuses on the connection between art and science, Kilbourne will meet with and observe clinical, research, and teaching staff of the School of Veterinary Medicine. These immersive experiences will form the basis for him to craft new poems centered around the work and experiences of LSU Vet Med.

In addition to creating original works rooted in LSU Vet Med's mission, Kilbourne will present five poetry-writing workshops for members of the LSU Vet Med and greater Baton Rouge communities. The workshops will take place each Friday in April at noon in the LSU Vet Med Library and will focus on science-based poems using various literary techniques. The workshops are open to everyone and are offered free of charge. A seasoned teacher, Kilbourne will make poetry writing accessible to all who desire to give it a try regardless of experience.

"With guidance and simple frameworks, anyone will be able to craft a poem. There are similarities between how the natural sciences and the craft of poetry are approached," Kilbourne said.

Underpinning his workshops are Kilbourne’s views that both poetry and science are in search of new insights, poetry utilizing metaphor, juxtaposition, alliteration, to name a few devices, and science utilizing technological, methodological, and hypothesis-testing as its vehicles.

His workshops, themed "Poetry and Science: The Pursuit of Insights," will draw out the similarities of science and poetry--science seeks to provide new insights into the natural world and the poetry seeks new insights into human and non-human experience.

"I will give examples of a poetic device and its similarity to scientific methods, samples of poems, and discussion of the topic. Each workshop will conclude with a writing prompt for participants to start a poem during the class. They can voluntarily share with the class poems resulting from the prompt," Kilbourne said.

Kilbourne's residency culminates with a public poetry reading Monday, April 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m. during which Kilbourne will read poems composed during the residency and other previously published work.

"It is our hope that members of LSU’s Creative Writing Program, Delta Literary Journal, and South Louisiana’s literary community, including LSU Press, along with members of the broader community, will join us and possibly participate in the public poetry reading. We relish the opportunity to collaborate with other LSU departments and disciplines, as we have done with LSU College of Art & Design and LSU School of Music," said LSU Vet Med Communications Manager Sandra Sarr.

The public literary reading will include a moderated discussion with Kilbourne and LSU Vet Med community members who interacted with the artist in residence. This discussion will highlight experiences and mutual learnings resulting from the residency and identify new insights that might influence participants' work going forward.

While other veterinary schools have commissioned art or invited musicians and filmmakers to campus for events and one-time projects, this trailblazing residency program hosts a different artist-in-residence at the veterinary school each year. Artists will represent multiple genres, for example, watercolor, photography, sculpture, filmmaking, poetry, and more.

"So much of what we do in veterinary medicine, at least on the clinical side, is art, the art of communication. It's fascinating to see how our artists-in-residence communicate their perception of what we're doing through their medium," said Dr. Jayme Looper, professor of veterinary radiation oncology.

The first of its kind in the U.S., the artist-in-residence program housed at a veterinary school began at LSU Vet Med in 2022. The inaugural artist was visual artist Shelby Prindaville of Sioux City, Iowa. Prindaville’s residency culminated with a public art exhibition at the vet school. The second resident was composer-musician Charlie Rauh of New York City. Rauh's residency produced an album of 13 songs and culminated with a concert featuring members of LSU's A Cappella Choir.


"You can't separate science and art. We're part of a whole system of humanity that absolutely includes the creative arts. This program really speaks to me. We have artists coming and have another avenue of communication to express all of the great things we do here through different media," said Rebecca Christofferson PhD, associate professor, Department of Pathobiological Sciences.

To read selected poems by our 2024 artist-in-residence, Brandon Kilbourne, go to 

Instagram: brandon_kilbourne_poetry

For more information about the LSU Vet Med Artist-in-Residency Program, contact Sandra Sarr, communications manager, at

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.