First Lady Laura Vailas
Laura Vailas, a native of Rhode Island, met ISU President Arthur Vailas while they were undergraduates at the University of New Hampshire. Both pursued graduate degrees at the University of Iowa, where she joined the lipid research team in the UI College of Medicine. A registered dietitian, she went on to conduct and lead clinical lipid research in the University of Southern California School of Medicine and University of Wisconsin Medical School. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she earned her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, and a certificate in gerontology. After relocating to Houston and doing a year of post-doctoral research, she became assistant director of the University of Houston Institute for Molecular Design, and later, associate dean for advancement in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University, and taught courses in nutrition and biochemistry. Her accomplishments include the authorship of grant proposals totaling more than $9 million to increase the number of minority students receiving degrees in STEM disciplines, and contributions to current knowledge about risk for malnutrition in elderly people. In recognition of her work in lipid research and cardiovascular disease, she was named Fellow of the American Heart Association. Since Idaho law prevents the spouse of a university president from working at the university, Dr. Vailas volunteers her services in university advancement initiatives and local community programs and consults for educational and health care organizations.
Dr. Laura I. Vailas