News Release| Ferguson Lecture; Cal State L.A.


MEDIA ADVISORY: Friday, Jan. 29

Chemist to provide clarity
on cataract formation research


Oberlin College’s Decatur is CSULA’s 2010 Ferguson Lecturer


Los Angeles, CA –Clear Views of Blurry Lenses: How Undergraduate Researchers are Unraveling Mysteries of Cataract Formation”—Cal State L.A.’s Lloyd N. Ferguson Distinguished Lecture Series for 2010—will be presented on Friday, Jan. 29, 1 p.m., at Cal State L.A.’s Golden Eagle Ballroom.

Sean Decatur, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Oberlin College in Ohio, will deliver the lecture, which is free to the public.  

Decatur’s research focuses on protein structure and protein folding. Most age-related cataracts have been shown to develop from protein clumping, which may cause vision to become duller or blurrier. Decatur’s work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Dreyfus Foundation, Research Corporation, and Alzheimer’s Association.

Decatur has taught a wide range of courses in chemistry, including physical chemistry and biophysical chemistry. A strong proponent of the importance of undergraduate research and faculty/undergraduate collaborations in the sciences, he has mentored more than 55 undergraduate students on research projects.

He received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 1999 and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2003. In addition, he was named an “Emerging Scholar of 2007” by Diverse Magazine. He earned his B.A. from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Stanford University.

For more about Decatur, go to or    

Established in 1995 in honor of a Cal State L.A. emeritus professor of chemistry, The Lloyd N. Ferguson Distinguished Lecture brings science experts to the Cal State L.A. campus.

Ferguson, who retired from an illustrious 21-year career at Cal State L.A. in 1986, has authored more than 50 journal articles and seven textbooks. His research has covered cancer chemotherapy, the relationship between structure and biological activity, and the functioning of our sense of taste. 

He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Education, served as director of Cal State L.A.’s Minority Biomedical Research Support program from its inception in 1973 through 1984, and was program director for many National Science Foundation teaching and research participation programs. He has served as a role model for many hundreds of underserved students who have entered careers in science and technology.

This lecture is sponsored by the College of Natural and Social Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Cal State L.A.  

Unless otherwise directed, guests should park in areas with permit dispensers (Parking Structure C, Lot 5 and Lot 7).  For reservations or more details on the Lloyd N. Ferguson Distinguished Lecture, call (323) 343-2300.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 205,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.


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