Dr. Michael Smith, Ochsner Health System's Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety Center


The LSU Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization recognized faculty inventors, new patents between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, and innovation at its fifth annual Inventorship Showcase.

Among those presented was a cost-efficient platform developed by professor Isiah Warner and colleagues that can detect small, airborne pollutants. Another patent presented was a new surgical instrument that can be used in ACL reconstruction developed by Mandi Lopez, professor and director of the Laboratory for Equine and Comparative Orthopedic Research.

Excellence in Innovation awards also were given to:

  • Roger Laine, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the LSU departments of biological sciences and chemistry, who was elected as a National Academy of Inventors fellow this year.
  • Guoqiang Li, professor of mechanical engineering, who has five patents and has developed a spin-off company called Louisiana Multi-functional Materials Group LLC.
  • Ralph Portier, emeritus faculty and distinguished professor of environmental sciences in the College of the Coast & Environment, who has eight patents stemming from his research on using microorganisms to detoxify contaminated soil and sediments.
  • Les Butler, professor of inorganic and materials science in the College of Science, and Kyungmin Ham, assistant professor at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, whose high resolution imaging technology is partially derived from research conducted at LIGO Livingston and may be applied to the aerospace industry.

National Academy of Inventors Senior Members Shafiqul Chowdhury, Michael Khonsari and Dandina Rao were recognized as well as LSU Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization Associate Director Robert Brown, who received the Association of Technology Managers Volunteer Service Award this year.

Gina E. Eubanks, associate vice president of the LSU AgCenter, has been inducted into the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Eubanks, who joined the LSU AgCenter in 2013, leads food and nutrition initiatives. The AgCenter conducts several programs aimed at teaching low-income and rural residents to make healthier choices, often in collaboration with other agencies and organizations. She also provides support for the LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, focusing on preparing undergraduate and graduate students to educate and serve the community.

The Clinton native grew up participating in 4-H. She received a bachelor’s degree in clothing and textiles from Southern University. At Oklahoma State University, she earned a master’s degree in clothing and textiles and a doctorate in home economics. Eubanks held teaching roles at Alcorn State University, Oklahoma State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University before moving to the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. There, she spent several years as vice chancellor for extension, beginning in 2002.


Dr. Michael Smith, medical director of the Ochsner Health System's Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety Center, has been recognized by the College of Residency Directors with the Emergency Medicine Distinguished Educator Award.

The award recognizes emergency medicine faculty who meet or exceed designated standards of academic excellence within the past five years. Smith has more than 16 years of experience in emergency medicine. He also serves as a professor at the University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School. The Ohio native holds an undergraduate and medical school degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at MetroHealth Medical Center/Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University and earned his MBA from Cleveland State University.

The American Association of Political Consultants presented three Pollie Awards to Buisson Creative for excellence in political advertising.

Buisson Creative was honored with a Gold Pollie for best newspaper campaign for its series titled “Bad Bet for New Orleans” opposing the extension of the Harrah’s Casino contract. The firm also won two bronze Pollies, one for best use of humor radio commercial for Kenner Councilwoman Kristi McKinney, and best television for its “Courage and Passion” campaign for John Fortunato for sheriff.


Melissa Juneau, chief executive officer of The Emerge Center, and Angela Kyle, founder of PlayBuild NOLA, were presented the 2019 Zurich Classic Community Impact Award.

Since 2011, Zurich North America has annually recognized the work of local nonprofits during the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The Emerge Center helps children with autism and people with communication challenges to achieve independence through innovative and family-centered therapies. PlayBuild NOLA is a nonprofit based in New Orleans that since 2012 has worked to transform under-utilized urban spaces into kid-friendly environments for play and learning. Its flagship site in Central City is at 2828 Thalia St., just off the Claiborne corridor.

Each received a crystal award and $10,000 donation to their nonprofit, as well as a skills-based consulting session with Zurich employees in an area of critical need.