Lawrence named MSU’s 2024 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner

Contact: Aspen Harris

Portrait of Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence (OPA photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mark Lawrence, a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor in Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and its Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, is being honored as the university’s 2024 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner.

Lawrence also serves as director of the university’s Global Center for Aquatic Health and Food Security and director of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish.

He is one of 14 faculty members from SEC universities to receive the prestigious annual award. Recipients are SEC professors recognized for their outstanding teaching accomplishments and nationally or internationally recognized scholarship. Award winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

“Dr. Lawrence is an award-winning scholar who has significantly impacted the lives of his students but, more importantly, the lives of food-insecure citizens around the globe,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “Mark’s passion for others and his leadership in aquaculture and harvesting practices in Kenya, Cambodia and other developing nations have led to significant improvement in childhood malnutrition and food waste in these communities.”

An MSU faculty member since 1998, Lawrence has received over $70 million in federal research funding, published 149 peer-reviewed papers and secured seven patents throughout his career. He also directs the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation, Recovery and Monitoring program to support cause of death investigations for stranded marine mammals and sea turtles on the Mississippi coast, while also rehabilitating and releasing endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.

The world-renowned veterinary microbiologist particularly focuses on advancing aquatic animal health and food safety, especially in farmed U.S. catfish through research and diagnostics. His work in support of this important U.S. farming industry has expanded into a global mission to reduce world hunger, specifically in developing nations. Lawrence has been able to work toward the goal of improving quality of life and reducing malnutrition globally while advancing education and training of students in veterinary microbiology and research.

Every year, Lawrence instructs over 100 first-year veterinary students in lectures and laboratories and leads the CVM’s dual DVM-Ph.D. program, which he helped establish to educate future faculty and veterinary scientists. Additionally, under his mentorship, seven students have completed master’s degrees, eight have completed Ph.D.’s and he has trained nine postdoctoral scientists.

Lawrence received his DVM from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in aquatic animal health at Louisiana State University.

For more on MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, visit For more on the Global Center for Aquatic Health and Food Security, visit For more on the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, visit

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