Pioneer Member

Karl Hasenstein


Chitra Ajala
Paul Baker
Elison Blancaflor
Naresh Deoli
Roseline Desvaristes
Qiaojun Jin
Susan John
Aruna Kilaru
Ginger Ku
Min Liu
Francois Marga
Peter Scherp
Yinsheng Wan
Ling Wang
Yongyin Wang
Yingchun Zhao

Chitra Ajala – It is my honor to be a part of this recognition for Dr. Hasenstein’s lifetime achievements and contributions to science. Dr. Hasenstein gave me an opportunity for which I will be forever grateful to him. He is one of the most influential figures in my scientific career and life. He is an excellent teacher and mentor. His support and continuous encouragement helped me build my career. One only needs to spend few minutes with Dr. Hasenstein to know that he knows everything. I say that with utmost respect for him and the plethora of knowledge he possesses. Ask him for any information, be it biology, physics, chemistry, language, programming, art, music, culture (the list goes on) and he knows it all! I joined his lab in 2011 as a Ph.D. student. I still remember the moment when I met him for the first time at the Lafayette airport. He was very kind to meet me and drop me off at my destination. He helped me get settled in a foreign country and was always there when I needed advice. I still call him to discuss science and non-science matters. His mentorship provided me the direction I needed to build my scientific career. He always told his students that he didn’t believe in just pushing the buttons on a machine. Instead, he wanted us to learn how to troubleshoot and think outside the box. When we were stuck with our experiments, he never provided us with answers right away. This tough love style of training created the foundation for my career as a scientist and a troubleshooter. After I graduated and moved away, I still considered him my mentor, and I always stop by and say hello when I visit Lafayette. Thank you for always pushing me to be my best. My love and respect to you, Dr. Hasenstein.

Elison Blancaflor – Karl was a great mentor and teacher during my time as a graduate student in his laboratory. He demanded a lot, but he was always fair and reasonable with his expectations. Through my training with Karl, I learned the skills to be an independent researcher. Even though it has been a long time since I was in Karl’s lab, I maintain contact with him because he continues to be a source of support and advice as I manage my own research program.

Naresh Deoli – Working with Karl as a postdoc in the Louisiana Accelerator Center was a pleasure. As the Director of this unmatched center in Louisiana, Karl provided much-needed leadership in extraordinary times. For this, all LAC users will be forever indebted for his service at the center. Karl motivated me to investigate radiation effects on Brassica, and introduced me to the space radiation community. I have been and always will be inspired by his dedication to science. Thank you for your guidance pushing me towards radiological research. This is a well-deserved recognition!

Roseline Desvaristes, MD – A true mentor who helped me grow both personally and professionally. An example of a hard working, committed teacher to the advancement of science. The lessons I learned in his lab helped me develop self discipline and a sense of curiosity that have led me through each professional endeavor I’ve undertaken. Thank you Dr. Hasenstein.

Qiaojun Jin – Karl is the best supervisor. He is knowledgeable, patient and inspiring. He showed me what a good advisor looks like!

Susan John – Karl, I am so glad I chose you as my mentor. Thank you for letting me grow as an individual and as a researcher. The duration of my stay at ULL may not look good on my resume, but on a personal level it was great for me! I enjoyed every moment under your mentorship. Thanks for being kind, honest, and treating me as an important member of the lab. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me. You worked tirelessly to help me in any way you saw possible. I will never forget your kindness and words of wisdom. Not only have you been a fantastic mentor for me, but you taught me how to mentor other people. Thank you so much for all that you’ve done — I only hope I can return the favor sometime in the future. Best Wishes, Susan.

Aruna KilaruKarl – An inspiration.
I could not have asked for anyone better as my Ph.D. advisor & mentor. And once a mentor, always a mentor. Karl is always available to his mentees. To date, he is still my go to person to share any career-related good news or bad, to vent, to seek advice or to simply feel inspired. Karl’s passion for science and his dedication, energy, and child-like enthusiasm to pursue his interests are contagious. I joined his lab as an international student and a single parent with a four-year old. Karl and his lab members immediately became my family, and we often took care of each other. It is worth noting that several of our lab members also welcomed their first child during their Ph.D. or postdoc tenure. In his lab, we felt at home, and it was an important factor that allowed us to succeed, both personally and professionally. Also, the diversity maintained in the lab, both culturally and in terms of our projects, was refreshing and enriching. We often enjoyed festivals and other celebrations together with diverse cuisine and lab meetings with a variety of project stories. Although Karl’s own passion is centered on understanding plant gravitropism, he often encouraged us to think out of the box and pursue other interests and ideas. While I worked on host-pathogen interactions in the chocolate tree, there were others studying cytoskeletal control of sperm release in Chara, visco-elastic properties of staminal filaments in thistles or innovating a Solid-Phase Gene Extraction tool using glass needles to study gene expression in single cells, just to list a few. We also had the freedom to fail, make mistakes, learn, grow, and succeed. There were no shortcuts to the path of success. As a result, we gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences from each other, which we shared during our lab meetings and presentations, proposal writings, and reviews. We were quite successful receiving travel grants, Sigma XI research awards and best presentation awards at various conferences. We often had the opportunity to attend national and international conferences. In his lab we all grew up to be learners, critical thinkers, hard workers, and performers. He shaped us into a well-rounded person and not just a scientist. When we graduated, it didn’t matter which lab we went to for a postdoc or what field we chose; we were all prepared to succeed. Karl always challenged us to do our best and exceed expectations, and push our limits. In the process, intentionally or unintentionally he helped us discover ourselves.

Personally, the most important lesson I have learned from Karl comes from his reaction to the tragic aftermath of his Space Shuttle Experiment on Board STS-107, the final flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. In that crash, Karl not only lost his astronaut friends but also lost more than a decade of research efforts that culminated in this one long-awaited space experiment. When I stopped by his office to check on him, he was sad, but he responded with a determined tone – “we keep going.” And at 72 years and more than 35 years of service, he keeps going with the same (almost) enthusiasm that I saw in 2000. And he keeps us all going!

Karl, I am proud to say that my students have certainly benefited from what I have learned from you. You have impacted generations to come not only through your research work but also with your mentoring. Thank you for everything you have done for us and continue to do.

Min Liu – It was my great honor to be a student of Dr. Karl Hasenstein, a great advisor and plant biologist. One of the most important things I learned from him during my doctoral study is that “a good scientist always asks questions”. He offered us tremendous freedom to learn, tackle ideas and solve problems during our time in his lab. I truly appreciate his encouragement and constant support during the development of my scientific career. I am happy and proud to help recognize Karl as a Pioneer of ASPB. Congratulations!

Francoise Marga – Karl Hasenstein offered me a postdoctoral position in his lab in 1998. My poor English was a huge obstacle to every single task in and out of the lab. Karl showed tremendous patience explaining what was needed at work, and also took time to help me settle down. Karl’s knowledge of research topics is as large as his scientific curiosity.

Yinsheng Wan –  Dr. Hasenstein is an assiduous scholar, an amiable mentor, and most notably a graceful friend.

Ling Wang – Dr. Karl Hasenstein is excellent professor.

Yongyin Wang – Dr. Hasenstein is one of the best mentors in my life. His attitude toward work and research inspired me and shaped my life and working habits He encouraged his students to attend the annual ASPB meeting every year. He gave us his full support, and let students expand the scope of their social communications and learn from other professionals or peers. I remember he lent his personal car to a group of his students (including me) so we could attendi the ASPB meeting. That impressed me a lot. I enjoyed my life as a studnet with him.

Yingchun Zhao –  Karl had a tremendous impact on my life. I started my own research career by following his behavior, not just by doing what he said. I believe his enthusiasm in scientific research affected every member of the lab. Karl made significant contributions to ASPB through his long and productive scientific career. He deserves the recognition as a pioneer in plant research.