USM grad is now director of university's Gulf Coast lab

Thirty-eight years ago, Bill Hawkins

came to the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast

Research Laboratory as a grad student. Hawkins is now the seventh

director in the lab's 60-year history.

As a student, the Forrest County native conducted his doctoral

research at the lab, and then went on to academic positions at the

University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of

South Alabama.

He returned to GCRL as a senior scientist in 1979. He has been

acting director of the lab for the past six months.

Dr. Rex Gandy, dean of USM's College of Science and Technology,

credits Hawkins' scientific and administrative credentials with his


"I am confident that Dr. Hawkins will continue the tradition of

superior leadership and lead the laboratory to new research

accomplishments," Gandy said.

A professor in the Department of Coastal Sciences, Hawkins'

research interests include pathological effects of infectious

agents and environmental toxicants on marine organisms, and the use

of marine animals as models for the study of diseases -

particularly cancer and cancer-causing compounds.

Hawkins regularly contributes articles to scientific literature,

with more than 100 in publication. Hawkins said he is happy to be a

part of a program with such a long, successful history of research,

education and service.

"I'm particularly excited about projects ongoing at the Cedar

Point expansion and being a part of the Southern Miss growth and

development on the Coast," he said. "I enjoy working with such a

great staff, faculty and students."

Located on the Mississippi Sound, the Gulf Coast Research

Laboratory focuses on sustainable coastal and marine resources,

development of new marine technologies and the education of future

scientists and citizens. The lab houses the Department of Coastal

Sciences, the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center, the Center for

Fisheries Research and Development and the Thad Cochran Marine

Aquaculture Center.