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UL Lafayette VP Ramesh Kolluru appointed to Cybersecurity Commission by Gov. Edwards

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Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, vice president for research, innovation and economic development, is among the members of Louisiana’s newly formed Cybersecurity Commission, Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced.

The commission was created to improve the state’s cybersecurity and strengthen Louisiana’s efforts in cyber business, education and research. 

“I have established the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission because we must continue our commitment to establishing cybersecurity capabilities and resources in order to adequately maintain the stability of public services while ensuring proper privacy and protection for the data that is entrusted to the State of Louisiana by our citizens,” Edwards stated.

The group will work towards developing and recommending policies around cybersecurity risk and awareness, while also working towards identifying current assets — and their vulnerabilities — that are available in the state and that could aid in the fight against the threats.

“(Our University has) a lot that we are trying to do in this area, including a new research center on cybersecurity,” said Kolluru, who is one of the commission’s 15 members. “I want people to recognize that that expertise exists on our campus, across the board.”

Prior to his appointment in 2014 as vice president, Kolluru led three of UL Lafayette’s research centers. The first was the Center for Business and Information Technologies, a recognized leader in technology-based economic development that focused on fostering technology-driven innovations.

During Kolluru’s leadership, the center founded CajunCodeFest, a computer programming competition — now in its sixth year —, and launched the Lafayette Living Lab for Health Innovation, a community-scale testbed for healthcare innovators to define, design and develop solutions to today’s healthcare challenges.

Kolluru eventually helped to establish the National Incident Management Systems and Advance Technologies Institute, whose public-private partnership models are considered best practices by FEMA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He also founded the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics, which was created through a partnership with Drexel University and is Louisiana’s first National Science Foundation Center and the nation’s only NSF center of its kind.

“We need to develop a state-wide comprehensive strategic plan on how we should address cybersecurity because some things that operate in Louisiana have a national and global impact,” Kolluru stated.

“When our critical infrastructures are shut down from a cyber threat, that impact is not only felt here in Louisiana. It will affect the economy, the national security, so we need to figure that out.”

The commission met for the first time on March 20 and will periodically submit reports of its findings and recommendations to the governor and Louisiana Legislature.

(Photo Credit: Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development)