Biology Faculty

  1. Biology Faculty

Our biology faculty members are highly-skilled professionals with extensive content expertise and a passion to teach students how to apply scientific knowledge to their future careers.

Natalie Lenard, PhD

Dr. Natalie Lenard serves as the Chair of Sciences – Biology and as the Biology program director. She teaches upper-level courses in biochemistry, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, immunology, and research and mentors both course-related and independent student research. Dr. Lenard completed her doctoral degree in Pharmacology with a minor in Neuroscience at LSUHSC-Shreveport and postdoctoral training at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and presentations in the basic biomedical sciences.

Dawn M. Simms, MS

Professor Simms’s expertise includes microbiology, virology, cell culture, electrophoresis, genotyping, gene expression, and DNA sequencing. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations, is an assistant professor of biology and biology lab coordinator, and is the university’s Chemical Hygiene Officer. She is focused on enhancing student engagement and learning assessment. Her primary teaching responsibilities include Microbiology Fundamentals and Pathogenic Microbiology. She is also a mentor for the LABS and SIRE stipend programs.

Eliska Davis, MRC

Eliska Davis, MRC has been in academia for 20 years with 13 of those years in dental education, where she served as senior clinic supervisor in the dental hygiene program at LSUHSC School of Dentistry in New Orleans. She presented continuing education classes at dental conferences and was director of an advanced certification course for dental personnel. Mrs. Davis is an assistant professor in the department of Biology and currently serves as the Anatomy and Physiology I & II Lab Coordinator. She will teach Anatomy and Physiology Labs I & II and respective didactic courses.

Dixie Gautreaux, PhD

Dr. Gautreaux serves as the Chair of Science – Chemistry, Math, and Physics as well as a Professor of Chemistry. She is the advisor for the Biology: BAI track. She teaches coursework focusing on General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Bioinorganic, Instrumentation, and Research. Dr. Gautreaux earned her BS in Chemistry from Nicholls State University & her PhD in Solid-State Chemistry from LSU. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and presented her work in solid-state chemistry & physics worldwide. She has mentored numerous student research projects throughout the years and presented at local and national research conferences.

Megan Lanier, PhD

Dr. Megan Lanier undertook the role of Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Institutional and Academic Grants Director in September 2018. Dr. Lanier acquired her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2010 and her Ph.D. in organic synthesis at Duke University in 2015. Her main responsibilities include instructing organic chemistry lectures, facilitating upperclassmen's independent research projects and teaching other chemistry courses. As Academic Grants Director, Dr. Lanier establishes annual strategic plans to enrich programs, identifies corresponding funding opportunities and coordinates writing & submission of grant proposals to implement the strategic plan.

Daphne Moore, MS

Professor Daphne Moore serves as a Chemistry Instructor at Franciscan University, with an emphasis on undergraduate laboratory courses ranging from freshman to senior levels. She is a proud alumni of Our Lady of the Lake College (2012) and holds degree specializations in Chemistry, Biology, Forensic Science, and Chemical Education. Professor Moore's graduate work focuses on the analysis and interpretation of environmental PAHs from sugarcane via GC-MS, and her pedagogical focuses are on problem and inquiry-based learning in the laboratory. Professor Moore accepts undergraduate researchers on an ongoing basis via CHEM 4915 and the SIRE programs.