Welcome Newcomers!

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the following faculty members who have joined the School of Medicine Family between the dates June 1 – July 31, 2018!

Cell Biology and Anatomy 

  • Sarah Williams, Ph.D. – Instructor


Community Population Medicine

  • Jennifer True, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Research

Hospital Medicine

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

Comprehensive Medicine

  • Erin Dauchy, D.O. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Nathaniel Peyton, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical


  • Melissa Spera, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical


  • Bryan Payne, M.D. – Clinical Professor


  • Saeed Bajestani, M.D. – Associate Professor, Clinical


  • Ajay Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Michelle Knecht, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Zachary LeBlanc, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Shannon Palombo, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Regina Zambrano, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical


  • Megan Campbell, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Megan Maher, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Lee Michals, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical
  • Daniel Waldman, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical


  • Eric Wallace, M.D. – Assistant Professor, Clinical

Earl K. Long Medical Center – Medicine 

  • Kyle Champagne, M.D. – Instructor Clinical Specialist
  • Jordan Percle, M.D. – Instructor Clinical Specialist
  • Tiffany Wesley, M.D. – Instructor Clinical Specialist






LSU SOM Research Highlighted Nationwide 

alahariResearch led by Suresh Alahari, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has shown for the first time that a tiny piece of RNA deregulates energy metabolism, an emerging hallmark of cancer. The finding identifies a new target for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer. The research is published in Molecular Cancer available online here and has been highlighted in publications nationwide:







In addition, Dr. Alahari was invited to present this work at the Keystone Conference, Precision Medicine in Cancer, held in Stockholm, Sweden (May 6 – 10, 2018).




SOM Grants October

Congratulations to the following individuals for obtaining extramural funding from federal, state, and/or independent sources between June 1 – July 31, 2018!

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 (aholle@lsuhsc.edu) so a correction can be printed in the next issue of The Pulse.

CORRECTION:  In our previous issue of The Pulse, we incorrectly listed the Department for Hong Xin, M.D., Ph.D., who received grant funding from the Department of Defense.  Dr. Xin is jointly associated with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology (MIP) and the Department of Pediatrics.  We apologize for this mistake.

National Institutes of Health (R01):

  • Carmen Canavier, Ph.D. (Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy)
  • Chu Chen, Ph.D. (Neuroscience Center of Excellence)

National Institutes of Health (R21):

  • Michael Lan, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)
  • Wanguo Liu, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)
  • Hong Sang, Ph.D. (Neuroscience Center of Excellence)

National Institutes of Health (K01):

  • Flavia Souza, Ph.D. (Department of Physiology)

National Institutes of Health (T35):

  • Paula Gregory, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)

National Institutes of Health (F30, F31, and F32):

  • Tyler Basting, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)
  • Mark Nilges, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)
  • Zachary Stielper (Department of Physiology)

Foundations and National Associations:

  • William Gordon, Ph.D. (Neuroscience Center of Excellence)
    • Ochsner Clinic Foundation
  • Matthew Whim, Ph.D. (Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy)
    • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International

Pharmaceutical and Company Grants:

  • Murtuza Ali, M.D. (Department of Cardiology)
    • St. Jude Medical Business Services
  • Pedro Cox-Alomar, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
    • Edwards Lifesciences, LLC
  • Lindsey Lasseigne, M.D. (Department of Neurosurgery)
    • Medical Device Business Services, Inc.
    • Synthes Maxillofacial
  • David Lefer, Ph.D. (Cardiovascular Center of Excellence)
    • SAJE Pharma, LLC
  • Paul LeLorier, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
    • Biotronik
    • St. Jude Medical
  • Rebecca Lillis, M.D. (Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases)
    • SpeeDX Pty, Ltd
    • Cepheid
  • Donna Neumann, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)
    • Editas Medicine, Inc.
  • Dennis Paul, Ph.D. (Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics)
    • Oleander Medical Technologies






Gold Humanism Honor Society Inductees

Congratulations go out to the following faculty and students for their induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society: 

Leonard Tow Award: Dr. Chelsea Sandlin, Pediatrics – New Orleans 

Faculty: Dr. Guido DeJesus, Internal Medicine- Baton Rouge  

Resident: Dr. Crystal Nhieu, OBGYN- Baton Rouge 

Resident: Dr. Michael Borrero, Plastic Surgery  

Student inductees: 

  • Lamia AbiSamra 
  • Michael Artigue 
  • Cody Blackwelder 
  • Ryan Bolotte 
  • Elizabeth Cooper 
  • Ashlyn Courville 
  • Alex Daigle 
  • Paige Davis 
  • Tucker Doiron 
  • Alex Dooley 
  • Michael Evers 
  • Allison Falcon 
  • Virginia Fontenot 
  • Gabriel Fusilier 
  • Amber Jarrell 
  • Margaret Johnson 
  • Patrick Johnson 
  • Emma Levenson 
  • Hannah Lomzenski 
  • Shannon McDuff 
  • Elaine Meyers 
  • Andrew Mire 
  • Max Musharoff 
  • Anthony Naquin 
  • David Pitre 
  • Christie Talley 
  • Christina Tran 
  • Heather Valdin 
  • Andrew Van Hook 
  • Brittany Woods 


Office of Technology Hires New Licensing Associate 

We extend a warm welcome to Katie Kuhns, Ph.D. as the new Licensing Associate in the Office of Technology Management, effective date June 4, 2018.

Katie KuhnsKatie was most recently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Wanguo Liu (Dept of Genetics), where she focused on studying the Wnt signaling pathway antagonist Axin2, in colorectal cancer pathogenesis and susceptibility.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, a master’s in Environmental Sciences from Southern Methodist University, and a doctorate in Molecular and Translational Toxicology from Johns Hopkins University.

Katie has already started working on technology disclosure evaluation and marketing.  Please send your new disclosures and any technology disclosure-related questions to Katie at kkuhns@lsuhsc.edu.  And the next time you’re near our offices located in Suite 827 of the Resource Building, please stop by and congratulate Katie on her new position.

Updates from the MD/PhD Program: 

Angela Amedee, Ph.D.
Director, M.D./Ph.D. Program

The MD/PhD Students and the Admissions Committee have been quite busy over the past few months.  The program is pleased to welcome six new students that will enter medical school this fall and join the existing group of 32 physician-scientists in training.  The new students include Brianna Bourgeois, Ashley Henderson, John Johnson, Kyle LaPenna, Donnell White, and Anna Whitehead.  These students have earned a place in the program due to their impressive resumes and research experience.  We look forward to welcoming them to LSUHSC-NO as members of both Medicine and Graduate Studies in August and to sharing more information about them on our website.  These students will have an opportunity this fall to learn about research training opportunities in the basic sciences and meet faculty when they attend special seminar sessions hosted by each graduate program.

Many of our current trainees have also reached important milestones in their training.  We are pleased to celebrate the recent completion of doctoral degrees for five trainees: Dr. Hannah Albritton (Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology), Dr. Steven Eastlack (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Dr. Allyson Schreiber (Physiology), Dr. Dustin Todaro (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), and Dr. Tomas Vanagunas (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology).  We congratulate and wish them well as they return to Medical School to complete requirements for the MD degree.

As these students leave the lab, we are pleased to welcome eight of our trainees into Graduate School this summer.  The following students are preparing to enter the graduate portion of their training on July 1st.  Kaylin Bieter and Mirandy Li will pursue graduate work in the School of Public Health in the labs of Dr. Stephen Phillippi and Dr. Tung Sung Tseng, respectively.  Three students will enter the Genetics Department for graduate training; Nicholas Fried and Kristina Farragut Larter will join the laboratory of Dr. Yaguang Xi, and Phaethon Philbrook will join Dr. Augusto Ochoa’s laboratory.  Hunter Hidalgo will be a student in Dr. David Lefer’s laboratory in the Pharmacology Department.  Muhammed Farooq will join the Cell Biology and Anatomy Department under the mentorship of Dr. June Liu, and David Odenheimer will join the Program in Neuroscience, working with Dr. Xiao Ching Li.

Our soon to be L2 trainees were in the lab this summer too, exploring potential projects for their dissertation work beginning in summer 2019.  Meanwhile, four of our trainees begin their final year of medical training and start looking for residency programs. Check our website for more updates on our trainees and photos from May graduation.  https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/mdphdupdates/

Lazarus Wins NBME Award


Dr. Cathy J. Lazarus, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Records, received The Edithe J. Levit Distinguished Service Award from the National Board of Medical Examiners on March 23, 2018 at the 2018 NBME Annual meeting. The award recognizes “individuals who have devoted countless hours to the work and the vision of the NBME”.  Dr. Lazarus began her volunteer service to the NBME in 1998.  She has served on 15 different committees and task forces over the last 20 years including the Behavioral Sciences test writing committee (chair 2002-2006), the Evidence Based Medicine item writing committee, the video scenario task force, the Step 1 oversight committee, the NBME Board, the Stemmler Fund Committee, the Finance and Audit Committee, the Diversity Task Force, the Budget Committee (which sets the fees for the USMLE exams), and the Search Committee for the Executive Director.  She remains a member of the Communications Skills Item Writing Task Force. 

Aesculapian Awards Announced

Each Spring, Aesculapian representatives nominate residents, faculty, and departments, on behalf of their peers, who have shown a true passion and dedication to teaching for the Excellence in Teaching Awards. A primary vote by the student body narrows the field to a final ballot, and then a final vote by the student body determines the winners. 

This year we would like to congratulate the following residents, faculty, and departments for winning Aesculapian Excellence in Teaching Award for 2018! They have gone above and beyond to make sure every student walks away with the knowledge and skills they need to become a great physician.

L1 Fall Semester Award – Dr. William Swartz (Cell Biology and Anatomy)

L1 Spring Semester Award – Dr. Patricia Molina (Physiology) 

L2 Fall Semester Award – Dr. Joy Sturtevant (Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology)

L2 Spring Semester Award – Dr. Taniya De Silva (Internal Medicine – Endocrinology

L3 Intern Award – Dr. Antoinette Laurel (Psychiatry)

L3 Resident/Fellow Award – Dr. Courtney Cox (Pediatrics)

L3 Staff Award – Dr. Chelsey Sandlin (Pediatrics)

L4 Intern Award – Dr. Christopher Brown (Surgery)

L4 Resident/Fellow Award – Dr. Alykhan Lalani (Vascular Surgery)

L4 Staff Award – Dr. Randy Roig (PM&R)

Junior Faculty Award – Dr. Shane Sanne (Internal Medicine)

Department Award – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

We thank you on behalf of the Aesculapian Society and student body for your tremendous impact on medical education at LSUHSC.


Juzar Ali Named TB Champion

Juzar AliEarlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) issued a call for submissions of best practices and success stories from those who were making a significant contribution toward TB elimination through collaboration. Juzar Ali, M.D. (Pulmonary Critical Care & Allergy/Immunology) was nominated and was selected as a CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champion. 

As a CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champion, He is being recognized as making tremendous strides in collaborating with public health partners, health care providers, and community organizations.  His story can be read here:



Welcome Newcomers! 

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the following faculty members who have joined the School of Medicine Family between the dates April 1 – May 31, 2018! 


  • David Fargason, M.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor


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

UMC – Family Medicine 

  • Stephanie Aldret, D.O. – Clinical Assistant Professor