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Pennington Biomedical’s Claude Bouchard Named an LSU Boyd Professor

Bouchard is LSU’s 73rd Boyd Professor and the fourth from Pennington Biomedical
Released: Friday, September 09, 2016

BATON ROUGE – On Friday, Sept. 9, the LSU Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to award a Boyd Professorship to Claude Bouchard, the John W. Barton Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition and professor and director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“We are honored to count Dr. Bouchard, one of the world’s preeminent experts in the field of exercise science, among LSU’s faculty,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “It is our great privilege to bestow upon him the title of Boyd Professor – LSU’s most elite honorific – in acknowledgment of his expertise within the global obesity research community.”

The designation of Boyd Professor is LSU’s highest and most prestigious academic rank, and is only awarded to faculty who have achieved national and international recognition for outstanding research, teaching or other creative achievements.

In his nomination letter for Bouchard, William Cefalu, executive director of Pennington Biomedical and George A. Bray Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition, said, “Bouchard certainly meets the fundamental eligibility criteria for Boyd Professorship ... During his career, he consistently has been a leader at the national and international level in major exercise, nutrition and obesity scientific organizations and has been instrumental in the publication of key professional guidelines and recommendations for health professionals and the general public.”

Nominations for the Boyd Professorship are evaluated by the LSU Boyd Professor Review Committee, which seeks confidential evaluations from distinguished scholars in the candidate’s field of expertise. Once endorsed by the review committee, the nomination is forwarded to the LSU president and Board of Supervisors for approval.

Bouchard is one of the most noted experts in the world in the obesity research community. He received a bachelor’s degree from Laval University in Canada in 1962, a master’s degree from the University of Oregon in 1963 and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. He conducted postgraduate research at the Institute for Research on Circulation and Sports Medicine, German Sporthochschule and University of Cologne, from 1963-65, and postdoc research at the University of Montreal in 1977.

Bouchard’s research focuses on genetics of obesity and some of the morbidities associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension. He is also studying the role of genetic variation in the adaptation to regular physical activity in terms of cardiorespiratory endurance and changes in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk factors. His research benefits from several cohorts of human participants, including nuclear families, and relies on physiological, metabolic, and genomics technologies.

Bouchard has made several key contributions to the understanding of the genetics of obesity. He was the first to study the potential role of genetic variation in the risk of becoming obese using the methods of genetic epidemiology. His research focused on the Quebec Family Study, a cohort of families with biological offspring or adopted siblings or twins. Bouchard’s contributions to the understanding of the etiology of obesity come from a series of studies undertaken with pairs of identical twins, who were exposed long term either to positive energy balance or negative energy balance induced by large volumes of exercise.

Bouchard was also the first to systematically investigate the role of genetic differences in the adaptation of exercise. He is known for the HERITAGE Family Study, which Bouchard conceived and launched in 1992. The main aim of this study is to identify the genes and DNA signatures that are responsive for the heterogeneity in the response of cardiorespiratory endurance and cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors to regular exercise.

Bouchard has published more than 1,100 scientific papers and has written or edited more than 20 books. Last year, the latest edition of the two-volume, 96-chapter “Handbook of Obesity” was released. This leading publication in the field of obesity was initiated in 1998 by Bouchard and George Bray and continues to be edited by this same team, based at Pennington Biomedical.
Bouchard came to Pennington Biomedical in 1999 and served as executive director and George A. Bray Chair in Nutrition until 2010. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association and the American Association of Advancement of Science.

Bouchard is the 73rd Boyd Professor named across LSU’s campuses, and the fourth from Pennington Biomedical to be awarded the coveted title since it was established in 1953 to honor brothers David and Thomas Boyd, early faculty members and presidents of LSU.  He joins Eric Ravussin (2012), George Bray (1999) and David York (1997) as Boyd Professors from Pennington Biomedical. With his appointment, there are now 21 active Boyd Professors across multiple campuses of LSU.

Release courtesy of LSU's Division of Strategic Communications.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.