Joseph M. Moerschbaecher, III, PhD
Joseph M. Moerschbaecher, III, PhD, who had recently retired as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, passed away July 1, 2021, from complications of esophageal cancer.
The son of the late Geraldine (Stack) Moerschbaecher and Joseph M. Moerschbaecher Jr., Joe was born February 12, 1949, in South Bend, Indiana. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. While still in school, Joe was a research associate in behavioral pharmacology at Abbott Laboratories. He received a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the American University in Washington, DC, and then worked as a research associate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. After Joe completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, he joined the faculty as a research assistant professor. LSU Health Sciences Center recruited him, and he joined its faculty as an assistant professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics in 1983.
His remarkable nearly four-decade career at LSU Health Sciences Center was filled with visionary leadership and accomplishment. He rose through the ranks as an associate and full professor to lead the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and in 1991, he was also appointed Co-Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence, which he helped found. In 1998, Joe was appointed Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. He led Academic Affairs and the graduate school on both the New Orleans and Shreveport campuses as Shreveport was under LSU Health New Orleans’ administration at that time.
Joe was extensively published in peer-reviewed journals. He also wrote numerous chapters in textbooks. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded him millions of dollars in research grant funding throughout his career. He was an award-winning teacher, continuous NIH study section participant, and a member of almost 40 different LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans committees. Joe also played a key role in founding the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. He served on the boards of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, as well as the Chair of the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund Planning Committee. Joe served in multiple capacities for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and from 2010-2012, was the President of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society.