USM grad named director on coast

Published 11:58 pm Sunday, March 23, 2008

OCEAN SPRINGS (AP) — Thirty-eight years ago, Bill Hawkins came to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory as a grad student. Hawkins is now the seventh director in the lab’s 60-year history.

As a student, the Forrest County native conducted his doctoral research at the lab, and then went on to academic positions at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of South Alabama.

He returned to GCRL as a senior scientist in 1979. He has been acting director of the lab for the past six months.

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Dr. Rex Gandy, dean of USM’s College of Science and Technology, credits Hawkins’ scientific and administrative credentials with his selection.

‘‘I am confident that Dr. Hawkins will continue the tradition of superior leadership and lead the laboratory to new research accomplishments,’’ Gandy said.

A professor in the Department of Coastal Sciences, Hawkins’ research interests include pathological effects of infectious agents and environmental toxicants on marine organisms, and the use of marine animals as models for the study of diseases — particularly cancer and cancer-causing compounds.

Hawkins regularly contributes articles to scientific literature, with more than 100 in publication. Hawkins said he is happy to be a part of a program with such a long, successful history of research, education and service.

‘‘I’m particularly excited about projects ongoing at the Cedar Point expansion and being a part of the Southern Miss growth and development on the Coast,’’ he said. ‘‘I enjoy working with such a great staff, faculty and students.’’

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory focuses on sustainable coastal and marine resources, development of new marine technologies and the education of future scientists and citizens.

The lab houses the Department of Coastal Sciences, the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development and the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center.


Information from: The Sun Herald,