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Appalachian Student Research Forum

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

2017 Keynote Speaker



 Dr. Karl H. Hasenstein

Endowed Professor and
Slemco/LEQSF Regents Professor of Science

Department of Biology

University of Louisiana at Lafayette


 Dr. Karl Hasenstein

Karl Hasenstein grew up in a little town in Germany and attended the University of the Saarland in Saarbrcken. He studied Biology, Physics, and Chemistry and received his diploma (equivalent to M.S.) in 1977. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1982, he worked as post-doc in the laboratories of David Rayle (San Diego State University) and Michael Evans (Ohio State University) before accepting a faculty position at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1988.

Dr. Hasenstein's interest in hormone biology, general physiology, metabolism, and physical effects on biological systems resulted in the development of experiments designed to investigate the interface between biology and physics the process of gravisensing in plants. The use of high-gradient magnetic fields as surrogate for gravity resulted in a space experiment onboard of the ill-fated STS-107 before finally succeeding in a Space-X3 flight. Parallel studies investigated mechanical properties of cells, the effect of the cytoskeleton, and genetic analyses of physiological events at high spatial resolution using newly developed Solid-Phase Gene Extraction technology. His research is supported through NSF, DOE, NASA, and other funding agencies in excess of 7 million dollars. He graduated ten PhD and six MS students, published so far 108 peer reviewed papers presented his research in more than 180 conference presentation, and 65 invited talks. He serves as reviewer, editor and interim administrator and frequent panel member of various funding agencies. 

Keynote Address Abstract

 From College to Space Persistence pays

The talk recounts the speaker's history as a student of the sciences - biology, physics and chemistry. The initial focus on early computation developed into modeling of plant-related processes and ultimately a research focus on plant hormones. The concept of changing hormonal relations applies to many processes in biology including the response to gravity. The attempt to apply insights in physics and biology to space exploration resulted in intense, NASA-sponsored research activities that included many preparatory tests, setbacks, and ultimately a successful experiment. Constantly-evolving questions about biology, students, technologies, motivation and coping with setbacks accompanied these activities. The journey to space may not be an exception but the future for many of us. 


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