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.

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.

Carmen Nichols, Ph.D.

Dr. Nichols serves as Assistant Professor of Biology and the Director of the Forensic Science Certificate Program. Her primary teaching responsibilities include General Biology I & II, Criminalistics, Forensic Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Toxicology, and other courses needed by the department. Dr. Nichols completed her doctoral degree and postdoctoral training in Biology with an emphasis in Toxicology at the University of North Texas. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and presented her research at international conferences. She has mentored both undergraduate and graduate student research projects throughout her years in academia and her expertise is centered on the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, particularly metabolism and gene expression.

Latoya Paul, PhD

Dr. Latoya Paul is currently serving as an Assistant Professor in the department of Biology. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology from Southern University Baton Rouge. She then enrolled in the biological sciences doctoral program at Louisiana State University (LSU). After receiving her doctorate in biological sciences with a concentration in developmental biology/neurobiology, she accepted a post doc position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). During her post-doc training, Dr. Paul studied neurodegenerative diseases in mice and embryonic developmental disorders in zebrafish. Dr. Paul currently oversees FranU’s first animal research facility which houses adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). Dr. Paul’s research interests are animal behavior and development using the model organism zebrafish.