Tsien Named New Orleans Magazine Top Female Achiever 

FernTsien.jpgEach year New Orleans Magazine profiles women from the community who continue to make a difference.  This year, Fern Tsien, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics) was honored to be named one of these women.   

Dr. Tsien received this honor partly because of her research into the genetic causes of hearing loss in the Louisiana Acadians and Mexican Mayan populations.  Her research has been presented to local, national and international audiences and may ultimately lead to unlocking new diagnostic tests or therapies for deafness caused by genetic mutations.  

In addition to her research, Tsien provides extensive community outreach programs to regional schools.  She serves as the co-director of the Science Youth Initiative (SYI) program, which works to engage local elementary and high school students in the sciences. Enlisting the help of medical students and public health graduate students, SYI works with schools to reinforce lessons through hands-on experiments.  The SYI creates a wider exposure to science while raising standardized test scores in science.  

She also provides programs for middle and high school students where they are provided the chance to spend a day at LSU doing STEM experiments with academics.  The goal of SYI’s work is to create a pipeline for the third part of the program which includes paid, eight-week summer internships for high school students, many of whom advance to college and science or health-related careers. 

Congratulations Dr. Tsien! 

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Patricia Molina Receives RSA Award 

Congratulations go out to Patricia Molina, M.D/Ph.D. (Department Chair, Physiology) for being awarded the 2018 Seixas Award from the Research Society for Alcohol (RSA).  Dr. Molina received this award for her dedicated service to the RSA, her history of outstanding research, her dedication to training young scientists, and her administrative excellence. 

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Lefer To Lead International Heart Research Society Section 

Leslie Capo, Director of Information Services 

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David Lefer, PhD, Director of LSU Health New Orleans’ Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, was inaugurated as President-Elect of the International Society of Heart Research – North American Section at its 37th Annual Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He will serve a three-year term before assuming the presidency. 

 According to the Society, the mission of the International Society of Heart Research is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in the cardiovascular sciences on a worldwide basis through publications, congresses and other media. Membership has grown to include more than 3,000 members. The Society has seven sections – North American, Australasian, Chinese, European, Indian, Japanese and Latin American. 

 Dr. Lefer, who is also a professor of pharmacology, has been working in the fields of myocardial protection and coronary physiology for more than 20 years. He is an internationally recognized leader in understanding the role of nitric oxide and other nitrogen oxide-metabolites in ischemia-reperfusion injury to the heart. His laboratory was among the first to demonstrate the profound loss of endothelial cell-derived nitric oxide from the coronary circulation following coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion.  Lefer’s laboratory was the first to report on the potent cardioprotective actions of nitric oxide in acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure.  Several nitrite therapies are currently in clinical trials in the United States and Europe.  In 2005, Lefer’s laboratory began studying the potential cytoprotective actions of a second gaseous signaling molecule – hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  Lefer’s laboratory was also among the first to demonstrate that H2S helps prevent or limit damage in acute myocardial infarction and heart failure model systems. 

 

Medical Student Wins Research Day Award in Baton Rouge

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Congratulations go out to third year medical student Lauren Petit for winning best clinical research poster at LSU-Health Baton Rouge Regional Research day!  Lauren is presently performing third year clinical rotations in Baton Rouge.

Her poster is entitled “Clinical Impact of Shave Biopsy on Surgical Management of Cutaneous Melanoma” and was performed with John Lyons, M.D. in Surgical Oncology.

 

Dr. Moreno-Walton 1st Female Elected To Lead AAEM 

 Leslie Capo, Director of Information Services 

morenoLisa Moreno-Walton, MD, FAAEM, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Director of Research and Director of Diversity for the Section of Emergency Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has been elected President-Elect of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM). She is the first female to hold the position. After serving a two-year term as President-Elect, Dr. Moreno will serve a two-year term as President of the specialty society of emergency medicine, followed by a two-year term as Past-President. 

Dr. Moreno also serves as Director of the Latino Scholars Program at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and Director of Viral Testing at University Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine.  

During her years serving on the AAEM Board of Directors, she has focused on the development of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions.  She holds degrees in Medicine and Clinical Research and is a National Institutes of Health Research Scholar.  She is the founder of the Academy for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Medicine (ADIEM), an academy of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).  Her multiple awards include the SAEM Martin Leadership Award, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Professionalism Award, Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine Distinguished Educator Award, and the ADIEM Outstanding Academician Award. She also received the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Healthcare Executive Diversity & Inclusion Certificate. 

The recipient of many research grants, she has also given more than 500 academic presentations and authored or co-authored 45 publications, including 6 book chapters. She is the author of the textbook, “Diversity and Inclusion in Quality Patient Care.” Her second textbook is in press.  

Her research interests include HIV, violence prevention and treatment, diversity, and healthcare disparities.  She participates in LSU Health New Orleans Summer Research Program, mentoring college students who aspire to careers in medicine towards the completion of basic research projects.  She has mentored over 300 students, residents and junior faculty around the world towards successful careers in research and medicine.   

As a global health consultant and educator, she has served in more than 20 countries with a focus on the development of research and elimination of healthcare disparities for women, underrepresented minorities, and the under-resourced.  

 

LSU SOM Members Receive State Commendation 

Fern Tsien, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)

April 17th, 2018 was LSU Day at the Louisiana Capitol, where two LSUHSC School of Medicine Initiatives were awarded:

The first was a Commendation by the Louisiana House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Julie Stokes for the “Southeast Partnership for Improving Research and Training (SPIRIT)” in cancer health disparities and the partnership’s receipt of a National Institutes of Health (NIH P20) Exploratory Center Grant. Accepting the Commendation were LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander, Genetics faculty member and SPIRIT Co-Investigator Dr. Fern Tsien, and Medical School Dean Dr. Steve Nelson.

The Louisiana Senate approved a Resolution for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) specifically to increase diversity. This resolution was sponsored by Senator Sharon Hewitt and was awarded to Dr. Robert Maupin, Dr. Paula Gregory, and Dr. Fern Tsien for the Science Youth Initiative (SYI), Tiger Cubs, New Orleans Schools Partnership program, Summer Science Program, Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Summer Research Internship Program, Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), and others. Accepting the Resolution were Dr. Allison Augustus-Wallace, Dr. Fern Tsien, Dr. Katrina Gleditsch, Ayesha Umrigar, and Martha Cuccia.

Research Discovers How Some Cancers Resist Treatment 

Leslie Capo, Director of Information Services

An international team of researchers led by Lucio Miele, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Genetics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Justin Stebbing, BM BCh MA, PhD, Professor of Cancer Medicine and Medical Oncology at Imperial College of Medicine in London, has found new genetic mutations that promote the survival of cancer cells. The research also provided a clearer understanding of how some cancer cells are able to resist treatment. The findings are published in PLOS ONE, available here.

The researchers tested genes in 44 cancers that no longer responded to therapy. These are not often tested in clinical practice. The tumor types included breast, lung, colorectal, sarcomas, neuroendocrine, gastric and ovarian, among others. They found that these advanced cancers had selected many new possible “driver” mutations never described before, in addition to drivers already known –  the cancers had evolved new driver mutations to become resistant.

No two cancers were genetically identical, even cancers of the same organs that looked the same under a microscope. In some cases, the researchers found evidence that an individual cancer had evolved two or even three drivers in the same gene, a sign that multiple cancer cell clones had evolved in the same tumor that had found different ways of mutating a particularly important gene. Many of these new genetic mutations are in functional pathways that can be targeted with existing drugs.

With this information, therapy could be tailored to the evolving genomic picture of each individual cancer – the hallmark of precision medicine.

Other members of the research team included Drs. Antonio Pannuti and Chindo Hicks at LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Department of Genetics; Aleksandra Filipovic at Imperial College of Medicine; and Eliot Lefkowitz and Travis Ptacek at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

 

Department of Pediatrics Hosts World-Renowned Speaker

Department of Pediatrics’ Chief Wellness Officer Jerussa Aita-Levy, MD and retired Professor of Pediatrics Jayashree Rao, MD secured world-renowned speaker and author Dr. James Doty to visit and address the department on March 23, 2018. A standing room-only crowd filled Children’s Hospital’s 2 Center to listen to Dr. Doty’s inspirational message of self-compassion, the power of forgiveness and the value of being present in all interactions.

Dr. Doty spoke about his journey as a troubled child to becoming a neurosurgeon, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He created a mnemonic called “The Alphabet of the Heart” to be used as a meditation exercise. The Alphabet of the Heart includes Compassion, Dignity, Equanimity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Humility, Integrity, Justice, Kindness and Love. Each episode of his 12-part podcast provides personal reflections, research on the attribute, as well as practical tips to cultivate that specific attribute. You can listen to it here: http://www.jamesrdotymd.com/.

Dr. Doty is a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and is the founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, a part of the Stanford Institute of Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart which has been translated into 19 languages.

 

Pediatric Endocrinology Division Hosts Annual Meeting 

 The Pediatric Endocrinology Division hosted the annual regional meeting of the Pediatric Endocrine Society of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas (PESTOLA) in February at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown New Orleans. The coordinating team of Ricardo Gomez, MD and Dania Felipe, MD put on a stellar conference with about 90 regional faculty, clinicians, researchers, fellows, residents and medical students. Attendees commented that it was the best PESTOLA meeting yet. The lecturing faculty included the current President of the National Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES), two past presidents of PES and 2 faculty from the NIH.   

Several LSU faculty gave oral presentations:  

  • Endocrine Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment, Pinki Prasad, MD, MPH  
  • Gonadal Preservation in CAIS, Christopher Roth, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology  

Poster presentations included:  

  • Hypophosphatasia – A Spectrum of Disease, Aditya Dewoolkar, MD, Carmen Mironovici, MD, PhD, Dania Felipe, MD and Ricardo Gomez, MD  
  • Does Iron Status Explain Racial Disparity in Mean Blood Glucose Independent HbA1c Outcome for Children with Type 1 DM? Mahmoud Hamdan, MD and Stuart Chalew, MD  
  • Unexpected Diagnosis in a Female Adolescent Presenting with Primary Amenorrhea Carmen Mironovici, MD, PhD and Peter Tieh, MD  

Dr. Gomez thanked all involved, “On behalf of the PESTOLA organization, I want to thank all the members of the LSU Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital for your great support and participation which made this event possible. All the comments were positive, and the attendees were especially impressed by the quality of the speakers including members of the LSU and Children’s Hospital families.” The division has hosted the meeting in New Orleans about every 10 years but hopes to host more often in the future.