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Dr. Lawrence J. DeLucas to Deliver Lawson State Commencement Address


Special to the Times

Dr. Lawrence DeLucas, first civilian scientist-astronaut for NASA and former UAB professor, will deliver the address to graduates and guests at Lawson State Community College’s Annual Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 13 at 10 a.m. at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center, East Exhibition Hall II.

Lawson State will confer degrees and certificates on approximately 350 of more than 580 students who have met eligibility requirements for completion. The public is welcomed to take part in this special occasion.

Dr. DeLucas is a Principal Scientist at the Aerospace Corporation.  He was previously a Professor in the School of Optometry, Senior Scientist and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center X-ray Core Facility, and Director of the Center for Structural Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

DeLucas was a member of the seven-person crew of Space Shuttle Columbia for Mission “STS-50”, called the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 (USML-1) Spacelab mission. Columbia launched on June 25, 1992, returning on July 9.  While in space, DeLucas participated in thirty-one different scientific, physics and research materials experiments as a payload specialist.  His mission lasted 14 days -the longest space shuttle duration mission at the time.  He traveled more than 6 million miles, completing 221 orbits of earth and logging over 331 hours in space.

From 1994 to 1995, Dr. DeLucas served as the Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He has published more than 160 peer-reviewed research articles in various scientific journals, co-authored and edited several books on protein crystal growth and membrane proteins and is a co-inventor on 43 patents involving protein crystal growth, novel biotechnologies and structure-based drug design. He has been an invited lecturer at numerous national and international scientific meetings concerning biotechnology research.

Dr. DeLucas received five degrees from UAB culminating in a Doctor of Optometry degree and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry.