Pennington Biomedical Researcher Named LSU Boyd Professor

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Released: Friday, May 04, 2012

BATON ROUGE - Dr. Eric Ravussin, an internationally recognized scientist whose work is helping to unravel the causes of obesity, on Friday was unanimously promoted by the LSU Board of Supervisors to be a Boyd Professor, the LSU System's highest academic rank.

Dr. Eric Ravussin,
LSU Boyd Professor

(Pennington Biomedical Research Center photo. Click image for larger photo.)
"He is unequivocally one of the highest academic scholars we have here in the state and he has made brilliant contributions to the study of metabolism, particularly in the area of obesity," said Dr. Steven Heymsfield, Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Ravussin, 62, is the holder of the Douglas L. Gordon Endowed Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.  He becomes the 69th Boyd Professor named since the professorship was created in 1953 and the third scientist from Pennington to receive the honor.

Fellow Boyd Professor George Bray, in nominating Dr. Ravussin for the award, noted he has been "an important innovator" in the field of obesity research, adding Dr. Ravussin has been a leader in a series of investigations that had a "major impact" on better understanding the physiological and metabolic factors involved in causing obesity.

Known for being a creative, enthusiastic and productive investigator during his career as a clinical researcher, Dr. Ravussin has published more than 390 peer-reviewed articles and generated over $25 million in research awards.

Dr. Ravussin is a native of Lausanne, Switzerland, where received a PhD in Physiology in 1980 at the University of Lausanne.

After two years at the University of Vermont as a visiting assistant professor, Dr. Ravussin joined the Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section of the National Institute of Health's Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Branch in Phoenix.  In 1998, Dr. Ravussin moved to Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis as Research Leader in Obesity.  Two years later, he was recruited to Pennington.

At Pennington, Ravussin became an internationally recognized translational investigator in obesity and diabetes research. Much of his work focused on the genetic and molecular basis of obesity, and on understanding the mechanisms determining differences among people in energy expenditure, fat oxidation and certain nervous system activity.

A Boyd Professorship is awarded based on a nominee attaining both national and international recognition for outstanding research, teaching or other creative achievements.  With Dr. Ravussin's appointment, there are 19 active Boyd Professors in the LSU System; 15 are retired; seven departed for positions elsewhere; and 28 are deceased.

Once confidentially nominated, a candidate is evaluated by the System's Boyd Professorship Review Committee, comprised of faculty from LSU System campuses, including active and retired Boyd professors, as well as the System's chief academic officer.  The committee solicits reviews of the candidate's work from recognized scholars in the field in the United States and abroad.  Nominees are not told before the Board of Supervisors vote that they are being considered for this prestigious recognition.

Dr. Ravussin and his wife, Jacqueline, reside in Baton Rouge. They have three adult sons: Yann, Jérémy, and Anthony.


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.