Tulane joins in Louisiana biomedical research initiative

Tulane University is a primary collaborator in a nearly $20 million, five-year National Institutes of Health grant to support biomedical research that was announced on Thursday (Sept. 6) at a news conference.

Cardiologist Dr. Patrice Delafontaine is leader of the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science effort at the Tulane University School of Medicine. (Photo by Barry Lawrence)

The NIH grant funds the newly created Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., which will provide infrastructure across the academic institutions of Louisiana to facilitate research in chronic disease prevention and improved health care in underserved populations.

The LA CaTS Center is designed to transform research into a unified enterprise, replacing the traditional model of institutions operating in isolation. Research will focus on nutrition, chronic diseases, health disparities and preventive approaches to improving public health in Louisiana. The collaborating institutions will share clinical research resources and facilities.

Louisiana ranks among the highest nationally in deaths from chronic diseases, with lifestyle choices being major contributing factors.

“This collaborative program will be transformative for the participating institutions and will have a major impact on healthcare outcomes in our state,” said Tulane University President Scott Cowen.

Dr. Patrice Delafontaine, director of the Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute, said the consortium is designed to transform research in the region into a cohesive, mutually supportive enterprise.

“This program capitalizes on strengths and capacities unique to each of the participating institutions, culminating from years of effort and planning, and represents a unified, comprehensive approach to improving public health,” Delafontaine said.