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Dr. Karl Hasenstein recognized by American Society of Plant Biologists

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Dr. Karl Hasenstein has been named a pioneer member of the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Pioneer members of the international professional society are recognized for leadership and contributions to education and research training. The ASPB, which was founded in 1924, advances plant science research and education. Its members work in academia, governmental laboratories and industry.

Hasenstein is a professor in UL Lafayette’s Department of Biology. His research has been supported by several agencies, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

His research interests include gravitational biology, phytohormones –  or plant hormones – and plant physiology and movements. Hasenstein has explored those interests from many aspects, including space.

As part of ongoing research funded by NASA, he has sent flax, radishes and Brassica rapa plants, a representative of some of the most common vegetables, to the International Space Station.

NASA is examining methods for producing vegetables for astronauts during long missions. The agency’s interest in growing plants in space is also rooted in its plan to put scientists on Mars in coming decades. 

Hasenstein’s experiments aboard the space station have examined how plants growing inside artificial habitats sense and react to gravity in a weightless environment; he has also studied how altered or reduced gravity affects plants’ growth and metabolism.

Dr. Azmy Ackleh, dean of UL Lafayette’s Ray P. Authement College of Sciences, said “researchers like Dr. Hasenstein are the catalysts for the University’s R1 status as a top-tier research university."

"His decades long dedication to innovative, transformative science embodies a commitment to excellence displayed by faculty members and student researchers across campus,” Ackleh added.

Some of Hasenstein’s former students agree. Selection as a pioneer member of the ASPB is based, in part, on student recommendations.

Hasenstein teaches and mentors undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students. Some of them study and conduct research at the University for as long as a decade, he explained.

“It’s extremely rewarding to get to know some of my students really well, and it makes me proud to watch them go on to become terrific scientists, and to stay connected with them, in many cases, for decades after they leave the University,” Hasenstein said.

He has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research internationally.

Hasenstein earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology, and a doctoral degree in plant physiology, from the University of the Saarland, Germany.

Photo caption: Dr. Karl Hasenstein, a professor in UL Lafayette’s Department of Biology, has been recognized by the American Society of Plant Biologists. The ASPB, which was founded in 1924, advances plant science research and education. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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