Active Research

Our location in the heart of Louisiana provides us with research opportunities in a wide range of disciplines, including evolution, ecology, marine biology neuroscience, and genetics.

The Department of Biology at UL Lafayette investigates a wide range of research questions across many areas of the biological sciences. We are actively engaged in research and education as one of the largest biology programs located on the Gulf Coast.

Discover the Possibilities

We're unlocking the secrets to cosmology, dark matter and dark energy, novel energy-harvesting materials, atmospheric and underwater acoustics, sensor development, radioactive dating, and more.

With our physics undergraduate and graduate programs, you can get involved with our world-class and interdisciplinary research while studying the foundations and latest developments in physics.

Expertise in coastal ecology

UL Lafayette’s expertise in coastal ecology and ecosystems prepares students for careers in the oil and gas industries, coastal protection and restoration, environmental sciences, and geology.

Our interdisciplinary approach in the School of Geoscience enables us to look at the underlying science of major societal issues.

Hybrid Programs

Our Informatics Program offers a new bachelor’s degree with concentrations in business, healthcare, media technology, and systems administration.

Our interdisciplinary studies enables students to work with faculty to create hybrid programs and take courses in multiple fields of study.

Making Data Useful

Computer Sciences graduate student Nicholas Lipari is using 3-D technology to make big data useful. He is using data collected when Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana to create a way to monitor real-time data.

Our computer science program offers concentrations that range from computer hardware and applied computing to artificial intelligence and game design and is home to the Center for Advanced Computer Studies.

Hands-On Experience

At UL Lafayette, you are going to see all the complexities of chemistry right in front of you.

Our programs focus on the theory behind chemistry, but then you're going to put those theories to practice. You'll see it all — not just think about it.
 

Diverse Course Work

Our programs let you understand and harness the power of math through undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs with comprehensive and diverse coursework. Our faculty members are world renowned, and conduct research with millions of dollars in funding.

Become fluent in the language of the universe — see what our programs can offer you.

College of Sciences

The Ray P. Authement College of Sciences at UL Lafayette brings faculty and students together who are passionate about exploration and discovery. We encourage collaboration and independent thinking so you can find ways to better understand, explain, and positively impact the world around you.

At UL Lafayette, accomplished faculty and next-generation scientists conduct groundbreaking research side-by-side.

We offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geology, informatics, mathematics, and physics with a range of concentrations and specializations.

November 16th, 2017

Modeling Study Analyzes Sperm Whale Recovery after Environmental Disturbances

Modeling Study Analyzes Sperm Whale Recovery after Environmental Disturbances Researchers (Azmy S. Ackleh (dean), Ross... Read More ➝
November 8th, 2017

Informatics student creates Governor's Mansion webpage

The Louisiana Governor's Mansion website, GovernorsMansion.org was formally unveiled during a ceremony at the Mansion... Read More ➝
November 5th, 2017

Science Day 2017, sponsored by Halliburton

Hundreds of high school students converged on the UL Lafayette campus on Friday, 3 November 2017, to learn about the... Read More ➝

Alumnus profile

Medical physicist coordinates measured assault on cancer

(La Louisiane Fall 2016/Winter 2017 p. 39)

Dr. Jonas Fontenot
(Bachelor of Science in physics 2002)

When LSU's tiger mascot, Mike VI, was taken to Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center last summer for treatment, Dr. Jonas Fontenot orchestrated his care. Fontenot is chief of medical physics there. A medical physicist is a scientist who collaborates with physicians, neurologists, specialty nurses and others to provide tailored doses of radiation therapy to patients.

The Bengal/Siberian tiger mix was diagnosed in May 2016 with spindle cell carcinoma, which is incurable in humans. He may have been the first tiger to be diagnosed with that cancer; he is believed to be the first to undergo radiation therapy for it. He was treated at the Cancer Center on June 1, after regular business hours.

Dr. Jonas Fontenot oversaw Mike VI's radiation treatment.

Veterinarians hoped to prolong Mike VI's life from a week or two to a year or more. But he was euthanized five months later, when they determined that the cancer had spread.

As a UL Lafayette freshman from Crowley, La., Fontenot thought he wanted to become a civil engineer. However, a chance encounter with Dr. Louis Houston, a former University physics faculty member, put him on a career path that ultimately led him to the Cancer Center. Fontenot was a student working part-time at a produce stand when he met Houston, who was shopping there. "Dr. Houston started telling me about physics in a little more detail, about the problems physicists are interested in solving and their approach to solving them. It really appealed to me," Fontenot recalled in a recent interview.

After talking with some other UL Lafayette faculty members, Fontenot changed his major to physics. He was a junior when he began to contemplate what career a physics degree would enable him to pursue. Dr. John Meriwether, a UL Lafayette physics professor who is now retired, introduced him to Danny Landry of Lake Charles, La., who had studied medical physics after earning a bachelor's degree in physics from USL. After learning more about medical physics from Landry, Fontenot was hooked.

He went on to receive a bachelor's degree in physics. Fontenot completed a summer internship at the University of Texas at Houston cyclotron laboratory, which produces medical isotopes, before entering graduate school. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer/Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Fontenot soon joined the Cancer Center, where he held several positions before being named its chief of medical physics in 2015. He recently helped integrate a new piece of equipment, the Leksell Gamma Knife IconTM, at the center. It's used primarily to treat diseases of the brain – regardless of whether they are cancerous. "Although it's got the word 'knife' in the title, it's actually noninvasive, using radiation. You get the precision of the surgeon's scalpel and through the use of very large doses of radiation, you're able to completely eliminate diseased tissue," he said. "It takes an entire array of physicians from different backgrounds to be able to use the device to its maximum capabilities," he continued. It also takes a strong medical physics team. "The tissues in your body always remember how much radiation they received. So, if you don't get it right the first time, it's difficult or impossible to go back and do it again."