Current Laboratory Members

Claude Bouchard, Ph.D.

Claude Bouchard is Professor and Director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA. He holds the John W. Barton, Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition. He has a B.Ped. (Laval), an M.Sc. (University of Oregon, Eugene) in exercise physiology, and a Ph.D. (University of Texas, Austin) in population genetics.

His research deals with the genetics of adaptation to exercise and to nutritional interventions, as well as the genetics of obesity and its comorbidities. He has authored and coauthored several books and more than 1,000 scientific papers. His publications have been cited more than 39,500 times, with an H index of 91.

Among other awards, he was the recipient of the Honor Award from the Canadian Association of Sport Sciences in 1988, a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine in 1992 and the Honor Award in 2002, the Benjamin Delessert Award in nutrition from France in 1993, Officer of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium in 1994, the Willendorf Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity in 1994, the Sandoz Award from the Canadian Atherosclerosis Society in 1996, the Albert Creff Award in Nutrition of the National Academy of Medicine of France in 1997, the TOPS award in 1998, the Friends of Albert J. Stunkard Award in 2004, and the George A. Bray Founders Award from the the Obesity Society in 2008, the W. Henry Sebrell Award from the Weight Watchers Foundation in 1999, and the E.V. McCollum Award from the American Society of Nutrition in 2011. He is a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium since 1996, and he was the Leon Mow Visiting Professor at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne in 1998. In 2001 he became a member of the Order of Canada as well as Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University. In 2003 he received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Laval University. Dr. Bouchard became a Knight in the Ordre National du Quebec and received the Earle W. Crampton Award in Nutrition from McGill University in 2005. He was awarded Honoris Causa Doctorates in Science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1998, from the University of South Carolina in 2009, from Brock University in 2011, from the University of Guelph in 2011, and from the University of Ottawa in 2012.

Dr. Bouchard is past president of the Obesity Society and past president of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. He served as the Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center from 1999 to 2010. Prior to coming to Pennington, he held the Donald B. Brown Research Chair on Obesity at Laval University where he was the Director of the Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory for about 20 years. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  His research has been funded by various agencies in Canada and the United States, but mainly by the National Institutes of Health.  

Email Dr. Bouchard


Tuomo Rankinen, Ph.D.

Dr. Tuomo Rankinen is an associate professor with the Human Genomics Laboratory, with an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in clinical nutrition from the University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland. He has also completed postdoctoral work in human genetics at Université Laval in Sainte-Foy, Quebec.

Dr. Rankinen’s research has focused on the health effects of physical activity and diet, with special emphasis on the genetic and molecular basis of human variation in responsiveness to regular exercise training. Another area of interest is the gene-physical activity and gene-obesity interaction effects on cardiovascular risk factors, especially blood pressure and other hemodynamic phenotypes. His findings have been published in more than 140 scientific and professional papers, including several on the role of genes on blood pressure and cardiorespiratory fitness.

In 2001, he was the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Rankinen is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a member of the American Physiological Society, the American Heart Association’s Council of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and the Council of Nutrition, Metabolism and Physical Activity, and the International Atherosclerosis Society.

Email Dr. Rankinen


Mark A. Sarzynski, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarzynski is an Assistant Professor-Research with the Human Genomics Laboratory, with a B.S. in Physiology and Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from Michigan State University. He also completed postdoctoral training in the Human Genomics Laboratory from 2009 to 2012. During this time, he completed a two-year American Heart Association Greater Southeast Affiliate postdoctoral fellowship for his project titled "Genome-wide association study of the response of plasma lipids to exercise training in the HERITAGE Family Study."

Dr. Sarzynski's research deals with the genetics of adaptation to exercise and nutritional interventions, particularly the response of lipid and lipoprotein-releated traits to these interventions. He is currently supported by funding from the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) and Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Centers (LA CaTS) programs, where his research employs an integrated genomic, biological, and behavioral approach to study gene-environment interactions and high-density lipoproteins.

He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine; the American Heart Association's Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism; the National Lipid Association; and the Obesity Society.

Email Dr. Sarzynski


Kathryn Cooper

Kathryn Cooper is a research associate with the Human Genomics Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from Southeastern Louisiana University in May 2000. Kathryn's responsibilities include DNA extraction
and quantification, SNP genotyping, maintenance of the DNA bank
inventory, and DNA plating, as well as other lab organization tasks.





Allison Templet

Allison Templet is a technical editor and the assistant to Dr. Claude Bouchard. She holds a bachelor's degree in Communications/Print Journalism from Loyola University New Orleans and a certificate in Technical Writing and Editing from the University of Washington.