Calendar of Events Reminder

Do you have an upcoming event?  Is your department hosting a seminar or grand rounds of interest to the SOM?  If so, place it on the Calendar of Events! Would you like to see what events are coming down the road that might be of interest to you?  The Calendar of Events is there!  The more we use it, the more effective it will become!  [For directions on how to access and use the Calendar of Events, click on the “How to Use” link under the Calendar of Events heading.


John T. Paige, MD, FACS

Paige PhotoDr. Paige is a Professor of Clinical Surgery with appointments in Anaesthesiology and Radiology at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He is Director of the American College of Surgeons’ accredited Learning Centre there, is the Chairman of the Peri-Operative Simulation Interest Group of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and immediate past Chairman of the Simulation Committee for the Association for Surgical Education.

Dr. Paige received the SimHealth Best Paper Research Award for his presentation MOVING ON UP: TEAM TRAINING FOR EMERGENCY ROOM TRAUMA TRANSFERS (TTERTT) given at the Australasian Simulation Congress 2017, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on August 31st 2017.

Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIG) Program 

Chindo Hicks, Ph.D.
Program Director, Bioinformatics and Genomics Program, Department of Genetics 

Advances in genome sciences and genomic research are revolutionizing medicine and patient care. To further advance biomedical research and facilitate the realization of precision medicine, LSUHSC’s School of Medicine has launched the Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIG) Program. The mission of the program is “to conduct innovative research in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences to advance LSUHSC’s research, education and service missions. To improve human health, eliminate health disparities and contribute to the economic development of the State of Louisiana through scientific discoveries”. The program integrates six focal areas of research: Bioinformatics and Data sciences, Computational and population genomics, functional and evolutionary genomics, biomarker and drug discovery and repositioning, clinical and translation bioinformatics and genomics. 

As part of the LSUHSC-SOM research initiative, the BIG program is well positioned to become the southeast region’s center of excellence in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences research and education. The long-term goal is to position LSUHSC as a world leader in bioinformatics, genomics and data-driven medicine of the twenty-first century. Recognizing that research, education, and service in bioinformatics and genomics are inherently interdependent and mutually supportive, the program has the following strategic goals that address the dimensions of LSUHSC’s Core mission: 

Goal 1: Research – To be a recognized national and international leader in bioinformatics, genomic and data sciences research, leveraging and strengthening the multidisciplinary research faculty who are spread across multiple schools and Centers. 

Goal 2: Education – To educate and train the next generation of researchers and medical professionals. The program is accomplishing this goal by developing a total package of educational offerings in bioinformatics, genomics and data sciences, including developments of graduate and outreach programs.  

Goal 3: Services – Develop a user-centered and COST-RECOVERY or SHARED COST Service Center. The Program has accomplished this goal by developing and establishing a Bioinformatics and Data Science Service Center to support faculty research efforts and grant applications.  

Goal 4: Infrastructure – To develop and maintain a scalable interoperable technical infrastructure that allows high performance and cloud computing for fast and efficient data analysis, modeling, visualization and integration of large-scale multiplatform and multiscale biological and clinical data. The program has already developed and deployed a powerful high-performance computing infrastructure with over 240 TB computing power and 10TB of RAM and 120 TB of data storage capacity.  

Goal 5: Collaboration – To foster research partnerships, integrating research programs across campus, promoting opportunities for collaboration with Centers, other LSU campuses, other universities and health organizations, and to expand regional, national, and international collaborative partnerships in biomedical research. The program has already established viable collaborations with the University of Alabama, Tulane University, the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Zambia, Mangosuthu University in South Africa and Nottingham in the United Kingdom. 

You can read more about the program’s research activities on the following website: 

Welcome Newcomers

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the following faculty members who have joined the School of Medicine Family between July 1 – August 31 2017! 


  • Craig Billeaud, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Matthew Eng, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Ryan Kline, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 

EKLMC – Medicine 

  • Michael Barker, M.D. – Instructor, Clinical Specialty 
  • William Benton, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Jennifer Broussard, M.D. – Instructor, Clinical Specialty 
  • Brandon Retif, M.D. – Instructor, Clinical Specialty 

Family Medicine 

  • Tracy Carlson, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 

Medicine – Comprehensive Medicine 

  • Michael Modica, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Benjamin Morehead, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 


  • Michael Charlet, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 


  • Clarence Greene, M.D. – Professor, Clinical Specialist 
  • Oritsejolomi Roberts, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 

Obstetrics and Gynecology 

  • Karli Boggs, M.D. – Instructor, Clinical Specialist 


  • Lena Al-Dujaili, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 


  • Adele Evans, M.D. – Associate Professor, Clinincal 


  • Amanda Messer, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Elizabeth Wisner, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 


  • Cody Roi, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 
  • Joshua Sanderson, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 


  • Estela Brooke, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 
  • Amit Chawla, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor 
  • Mark Stalder, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 


  • Jessie Gills, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical 



Department of Psychiatry: A Nationally Recognized Center for Disaster Behavioral Health 

Anthony Speier, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

It is a tradition and an expectation among Louisiana communities, healthcare agencies, social service providers, and state government that in times of need, the LSUHSC Department of Psychiatry will be there offering a helping hand. The Department of Psychiatry has consistently been a leader and innovator in disaster behavioral health and has provided essential consultation and services to the state since Hurricane Andrew tore through southeastern Louisiana in late August 1992.

In response to numerous hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other environmental and human caused disasters, the work of the Department of Psychiatry is known and appreciated throughout the United States and countries in Asia, South America, and Europe. The Department of Psychiatry is consistently available to identify gaps in interventions that may place survivors at psychological risk and are available to help design, develop and deliver services during all phases of response and recovery. Following Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Oil spill (2010), psychiatry faculty provided leadership in the design of innovative approaches for the delivery of counseling services, and developed models of training for local providers using evidence-informed interventions.  In addition, LSUHSC faculty members were available for consultation and stress reduction services for first responders and disaster survivors.

Work of the Department in the area of disaster behavioral health is an investment in clinical practice and scientific knowledge that is currently paying dividends for communities, the state, and the region. The Department of Psychiatry has recently been awarded a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) five-year grant through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  The Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience (TDC4CFR) is directed by Drs. Howard J. Osofsky, Principal Investigator and Dr. Joy D. Osofsky, Co-Principal Investigator (Department of Pediatrics). The Department is the only center funded through this initiative for the advancement of disaster behavioral health. LSUHSC is now the destination site for assisting not only Louisiana but the nation in developing sustainable approaches for building resilience among children and families impacted by disasters and acts of terrorism.

The TDC4CFR is charged with the responsibility of establishing Disaster Behavioral Health Coalitions strategically located across disaster and terrorism prone regions in the country.  During the first year of coalition development across the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas), the TDC4CFR team has applied communication skills and organizational development strategies successfully.  The strategy involves practitioners and survivor-recipients of services as co-partners in individual and community recovery.

Within the last month, once again Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have devastated Gulf Coast States. The LSUHSC Department of Psychiatry has been working with Texas and Florida to identify subject matter experts and seasoned disaster behavioral health professionals, educators, child welfare experts, along with emergency managers, and community stakeholders as participants in state-specific coalition activities and collectively as the regional gulf coast coalition.

The major emphasis has been recognizing that our collective knowledge and skills can facilitate the response and recovery process. Our TDC4CFR team is actively involved in sharing information and recovery efforts. The Gulf Coast Coalition is currently convening highly valued bi-weekly meetings with state officials and provider agencies to support recovery efforts in Texas and Florida.

TDC4CFR faculty recently provided interviews for National Public Radio, local WWL news, the Atlantic, Washington Post, Newsweek, and Education Review on the impact of disasters on children of different ages and ways to prepare children and families for the return to schools and homes after the hurricanes.

The world of disaster incidents is often unpredictable regarding intensity and degree of devastation to infrastructure as well as psychological and social damage to individuals and families. LSUHSC Psychiatry is engaged in building sustainable coalitions to mitigate the psychological impact of disasters and terrorist acts on people and communities and to foster resilience.



$1.3 Million Grant for Research to Reduce Cardiac Injury 

Adenopaint, LLC of Atlanta, GA, in conjunction with LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, has been awarded an SBIR Phase II grant in the amount of $1.3 million over two years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The funding will be used to study the company’s Adenowire, a novel guidewire coated with a drug which is released during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to prevent and reverse vascular and cardiac tissue injury during PCI and therefore improve outcomes in cardiovascular diseases.

The grant will directly fund $735,000 to LSU Health New Orleans to study the efficacy of the Adenowire, a patented guidewire designed to produce immediate and continuous release of high dose adenosine locally to the injured tissue during coronary intervention procedures. Adenopaint’s Adenowire technology, the world’s first drug-eluting guidewire, could have a profound impact on millions of people suffering from coronary artery disease undergoing angioplasty each year. The newly funded research will investigate its effectiveness in reducing tissue injury in a model of acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack. A goal of this research is to move this promising new technology towards human clinical trials.

Adenopaint’s CEO Mervyn Forman, MD, PhD and LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence Director David Lefer, PhD, are the grant’s principal investigators. They will work alongside LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center Translational Core Laboratory Director Traci Goodchild, PhD, to evaluate the effect of Adenowire to increase blood flow and reduce heart muscle damage in an experimental model of heart attack.  There is dire need to develop a safe device to reduce heart muscle damage and prevent heart failure in patients with acute heart attacks.

While at an early stage of overall development, the Adenowire is likely to provide a substantial impact in the treatment of tissue perfusion injury. A guidewire containing covalently bonded adenosine for controlled local delivery is innovative and if these studies are successful, likelihood of commercialization is high.

“This approach could potentially effect more than 1 million people worldwide yearly with better outcomes following acute myocardial infarction,” said Dr. David Lefer, Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.


Dr. Jawed Alam Appointed New Executive Director, Office of Research Services   


Jawed AlamLSUHSC welcomes Dr. Jawed Alam to the position of Executive Director, Office of Research Services. Dr. Alam was born in India and immigrated to the United States at an early age. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Clemson University and his Doctor of Philosophy from Purdue University, both in the field of Biochemistry. More recently, Dr. Alam earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Alam completed postdoctoral fellowships at both North Carolina State University and the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center—New Orleans. In 1989 Alam joined the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Ochsner Clinic Foundation as a Staff Scientist, becoming Co-Director of the Laboratory in 1998. During this period, his research focused primarily on the adaptive and maladaptive cellular and molecular responses to oxidative stress, a condition that is implicated in multiple human pathologies including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

At Ochsner Dr. Alam also held multiple administrative roles, culminating in the Interim Vice-President for Research and the Deputy Head of Research for the Ochsner Clinical School of the University of Queensland. He currently holds an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSUHSC. Additionally, Dr. Alam has had a long-term interest in promoting science education at the K-12 level. He is involved in several programs designed to provide elementary and secondary school students with opportunities to learn about medicine, science, and research in a fun and interactive way. The ultimate goal of these programs is to spark students’ interest in these fields as potential education and career pathways.

The LSUHSC Office of Research Services looks forward to expanding important research and development initiatives under Dr. Alam’s leadership in the coming years. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Alam to the team!


Drs. Cacky Hebert, Angela McLean, and Taniya DeSilva Join the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education 

Over the past 6 months, new part-time curriculum co-directors have been added to the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education.   As previously reported in The Pulse, Dr. Joy Sturtevant and Dr. Andrew Hollenbach accepted part-time positions as Basic Science Curriculum Co-Directors.  They will serve as liaisons between the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and individual courses to support to course directors, ensure compliance with accreditation standards, and facilitate continued integration of basic science material.

Dr. Catherine (Cacky) Hebert, Dr. Angela McLean, and Dr. Taniya De Silva joined the Office as Clinical Science Curriculum Co-Directors.  They will serve as liaisons between the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and individual clerkships to provide support to clerkship directors, ensure compliance with accreditation standards, enhance the teaching and assessment of clinical skills, and develop additional uses for simulation in teaching and assessment.  All five of these faculty members have been recognized as excellent educators.  They have worked on curriculum renewal for several years and are very knowledgeable about the curriculum goals and educational program objectives that directed the recent revision.

Cacky HebertDr. Hebert, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, has been the course director for the second year clinical skills courses for many years, including the recently developed Clinical Skills Integration 200 and Clerkship Preparation courses.  She is passionate about teaching physical diagnosis and the fundamentals of clinical medicine.  She has also served as the associate program director for the internal medicine residency since 2008.

Angela McLeanDr. McLean, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, served for many years as the Medical Director of Student Health Services and is a preceptor in the continuity clinic for internal medicine residents.  She is also the Director of Student Development in the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement and in this capacity she has served as the liaison between that office and the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education to enhance our teaching of cultural competency


Taniya De SilvaDr. De Silva, an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, section of Endocrinology, is the section head of Endocrinology and the fellowship director for Endocrinology.  She is the course co-director for the second year course Diseases and Therapy of the Endocrine/Reproductive Systems.


$1.4 Million Grant To Fund Underrepresented Minorities Educational Pipeline 

Leslie Capo
Director of Information Service  

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has awarded LSU Health New Orleans a $1.4 million grant over five years to prepare individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical sciences to earn either a PhD or MD/PhD degree. The grant was awarded through the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), and LSU Health New Orleans is the only Louisiana university, and one of only three in the Gulf Coast region, to successfully compete for this type of grant.             

According to the National Institutes of Health, PREP provides support for participants to work as apprentice scientists in a mentor’s laboratory. This program is expected to strengthen the research skills and academic competitiveness of participants for pursuit of a PhD degree in the biomedical sciences after completion of the one-year program. Grants are made to research-intensive institutions to support research experiences and courses for skills development.         

“We aim to enhance the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by preparing PREP Scholars for the rigors and challenges of a biomedical doctoral degree program so that they can successfully obtain a PhD degree or MD/PhD degree and contribute their expertise to the biomedical scientific community,” notes Principal Investigator and PREP Director Lisa Harrison-Bernard, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology. 

LSU Health New Orleans will provide PREP participants with hands-on exposure to medical research, advanced courses and workshops to develop scholarly potential to prepare them for graduate school admissions, successful degree completion and careers in biomedical research.  

The program will be executed by a strong leadership team, which also includes Co-Directors Allison Augustus-Wallace, PhD, and Fern Tsien, PhD; Program Coordinator Flavia Souza-Smith, PhD; and Program Administrator: Betsy Giaimo. Other keys to the program’s success include 55 dedicated faculty research mentors, the institutional advisory council, external advisory council, scholar recruitment contacts at nearby universities, and external consultants.  

LSU Health New Orleans’ proposal received recognition for “the highly qualified leadership team and advisory board, a large pool of excellent research mentors, and a well-conceived program that provides scholars with intensive research experiences and graduate record examination preparation, comprehensive professional skills development, and mentoring, and the high likelihood that the proposed PREP would have a significant impact on the numbers of underrepresented PhD biomedical graduates, both from LSU Health New Orleans and nationally.” 


SOM Grants and Contracts

Congratulations to the following researchers for obtaining extramural funding from federal, state, and/or independent sources between July 1 – August 31, 2017!  

NOTE: The Office of the Dean provided the information below to The Pulse.  If there is any information that was inadvertently omitted, please contact the editor ( so a correction can be printed in the next issue of The Pulse. 

 National Institutes of Health R01: 

  • Carmen Canavier, Ph.D. (Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy) 

Foundations and National Associations: 

  • Hamid Boulares, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) 
  • American Association of Immunologists 
  • Benjamin Springgate, M.D. (Department of Internal Medicine) 
  • University of California, Los Angeles 
  • National Academies, Institute of Medicine 
  • Jeffrey Wang, M.D., Ph.D. candidate 
  • American Heart Association 

Pharmaceutical, and Company Grants:  

  • Clifford Crutcher, M.D. (Department of Neurosurgery) 
  • Stryker Spine – National Office 
  • Matthew Lammi, M.D. (Pulmonary/Critical Care and Allergy/Immunology) 
  • Pharmaceuticals Research Associates, Inc. 
  • Frank Lau, M.D. (Department of Surgery) 
  • MiMedx Group, Inc. 
  • David Lefer, Ph.D. (Director, Cardiovascular Center of Excellence) 
  • Exscien Corp. 
  • Paul LeLorier, M.D. (Department of Internal Medicine) 
  • Biotronik 
  • Adam Podet, M.D. (Department of Neurosurgery) 
  • Globus Medical 





Reducing Disparities In Cancer Precision Medicine 

Leslie Capo
Director of Information 

The National Cancer Institute has awarded LSU Health New Orleans and Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tampa a $2 million grant over four years to study cancer precision medicine with an emphasis on underserved minorities and to train students and junior scientists in cancer health disparities-based precision medicine research. The funding will be shared equally between the two institutions. 

“Louisiana cancer mortality is among the worst in the nation, and many of these cancers are diagnosed in understudied, underserved patients,” notes Lucio Miele, MD, PhD, Director of the Precision Medicine Program at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and co-principle investigator. “Precision medicine is making tremendous advances in tailoring cancer treatment and prevention measures to specific molecular cancer subtypes. However, the patients who are most affected by cancer are often the ones with the least access to precision medicine studies. This leaves a huge gap in our understanding of how to plan cancer prevention and care, and risks worsening existing health disparities.” 

The LSU Health Research team also includes Drs. Paula Gregory, Fern Tsien, Jovanny Zabaleta and Arnold Zea. 

Adds Dr. Miele, who is also a professor and head of genetics at LSU Health New Orleans, “There is an acute need for investigators who will carry the torch into the future, investigate cancer health disparities and share their results with stakeholder communities. This partnership’s goal is to address both these needs, by carrying on ground-breaking research on patient-derived cancers, as opposed to laboratory models, and by training students and junior investigators in how to rigorously and ethically conduct such research, as well as how to communicate its results to the community.”      

Dr. Cathy Meade is the co-principle investigator at Moffitt, and her team includes Drs. Teresita Antonia, Doug Cress, Clement Gwede and Gwendolyn Quinn.