Russell Klein, M.D. – In Memorium

R. KleinOur LSU Health family has lost a valued colleague and friend with the passing of Dr. Russell Klein on September 2, 2018 as a result of complications of meningitis. Funeral services were held on Saturday, September 8, at Schoen’s Funeral Home on Canal Street in New Orleans.

Russell Charles Klein, MD was born on May 30, 1935 and was a native New Orleanian. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Donna Guinn Klein, his brother Edward J. Klein, Jr., and his children Steven David Klein, Robin Irene Klein, and his beloved rescue dog, Jessie. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret Scott (Greg), loving nieces and nephews, and a multitude of friends and colleagues.

He was a graduate of Jesuit High School, Loyola University and received his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1959. He did his residency training at Charity Hospital and completed a pulmonary fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He served our country as a medical officer in the United States Army (Honorable Discharge) in Germany from 1961-63.

Dr. Klein joined the LSU School of Medicine faculty in 1967 and served in many roles, including Associate Dean of Alumni Affairs and Development, and retiring as Emeritus Professor in 2010. His distinguished career included many professional positions including Director of Respiratory Therapy at the Medical Intensive Care unit at Charity Hospital. He was active in organized medicine, serving in leadership roles in the Orleans Parish Medical Society and as President of the Louisiana State Medical Society. In 2009 the LSU Board of Supervisors on the recommendation of the Chancellor, named the Center for Advanced Practice Simulation Center at the School of Medicine the Russell C. Klein MD (’59) Center for Advanced Practice. Dr. Klein authored and co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, and in 2010 published “A History of the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans.” He was actively involved in the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, the American College of Chest Physician and the Association of American Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement. Over his more than a half-century of service to his alma mater, Russell’s contributions to the School of Medicine were truly incalculable.






New Team Based Learning Classroom – Open for Business!

Andrew D. Hollenbach, Ph.D., Co-Director Basic Science Curriculum
Robin English, M.D., Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education

You’ve seen the construction, you’ve heard the noise, and your classes have probably been disrupted in the last year because of the construction.  However, all of the inconvenience from the construction was well worth it: the new School of Medicine Team Based Learning (TBL) classroom is open for business and being used to great success.

To better address the learning needs of our students, the Office of Medical Education along with course directors and other faculty are working hard to develop new active learning classroom sessions to facilitate delivery, retention, and synthesis of material.  These educational delivery modalities include team based learning, peer based learning, clinical case studies with discussion, and clicker question sessions, to name a few.

This classroom, which was specially designed to facilitate the implementation of these active learning sessions, is capable of accommodating all 200 students within a medical school class, enabling them to work simultaneously on problems in groups of 6 or 7.  Audiovisual equipment is state of the art; six large monitors allow the display of information to the entire classroom and each small group has a computer screen at their table with HDMI hook-ups allowing them to display information to their individual small group.  Faculty are capable of selecting a display from the small group to display to the entire class to allowing students to lead others through their thinking, among many other exceptional capabilities in the room.  This technology and environment allows our faculty to guide students through the cases, stopping to emphasize key concepts as needed.

We’re only beginning to make use of this room, but despite working through small bugs and glitches, faculty and students alike are embracing this room and excited about using it to its full capability.



Ochnser Hosts LGBT Healthcare Summit

Our colleagues at Ochsner Hospital will be hosting an LGBTQ Healthcare Summit on Saturday, October 6 from 12:00 – 5:00 PM.  Hosted by The Ochsner LGBTQ Resource Group and Ochsner PRIDE, the summit entitled “Living Well Together”, aims to provide LGBTQ people living in Southeast Louisiana comprehensive information about health and wellness through lively panel discussions and engaging audience Q&A sessions.  The event is meant to go beyond the routinely discussed health struggles of the LGBTQ community in the South and to encourage participants to connect with local organizations that promote LGBTQ health and wellness.

LGBT Health SymposiumThe summit is free and open to the public with a light dinner buffet provided.  There is limited seating for the panel discussions, so free registration is required in order to reserve a seat.  More information and registration can be found at the following link:

The International Students Association

Aratrika Saha
ISA President

Starting a new phase of life can be a very daunting experience whether it’s graduate school, a new job, or moving to a new city, let alone moving to a new country. Nonetheless, when the final confirmation comes in, we brace ourselves and dive headfirst into unknown waters. The journey we undertake is quite harrowing, both physically and mentally. We are forced to deal with legalities and formalities that seem never-ending. By the time we land on foreign soil, we feel that we’ve become quite adept at handling the unknown and are ready for all the curveballs life throws at us. Unfortunately, that is not true.

Habituating oneself to a new culture is exceedingly demanding, and often in this process of adaptation, we misplace our own identity. We strive to build a home for ourselves while navigating unfamiliar territories and soon find ourselves unable to lift the weight of our responsibilities. Even though eventually we do establish ourselves, it takes time and a lot of effort.

The International Students Association (ISA) is a newly formed association whose goal is to help international personnel establish themselves and solidify their identity in this kaleidoscope of cultures.  The foundation for the ISA was laid 2 years ago when our founding president decided to form this association and began the official paperwork to bring ISA into existence under the guidance of our faculty advisors.

Our mission is the Empowerment, Development, and Exchange of International personnel along with the Integration of knowledge and information about international culture and travel into LSUHSC.  Our vision encompasses the comfortable transition of all international personnel from their respective home countries to New Orleans, coordinate pre-arrival and post-arrival milestones, improve the participation of international personnel in schoolwide and citywide events, and coordinate meets with international Alumni.

We will be having several events and fundraisers throughout the year. We hope to establish a speaker series with speakers addressing different topics like policies and laws concerning international personnel, international travel, culture, and working abroad, to name a few. Fundraisers are going to celebrate a variety of international festivals. It is our objective to host 3 to 4 fundraisers each year, each celebrating a different festival. Our upcoming fundraiser in November is going to celebrate the Festival of Lights, which is celebrated across different cultures and is known by many names like Deepavali in India, Fête des lumières in France, and Spring Lantern Festival in China.

Establishing ties with the international community in other universities and creating an international alumni database is high among our list of priorities. We aspire to establish a network for international personnel that will amount to a substantial resource.

We invite everyone to join us in our endeavor to make LSUHSC a better place not just for the international community but for everyone, to help us bridge the cultural gap and to truly appreciate this fusion of cultures.


Join Up and Walk! AHA Heart Walk

This year, in contrast to years past, LSU Health Sciences Center aims to have a single team for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, which is a 1.8 mile walk scheduled for 8 am on November 17th at LaSalle Park in Metairie.  Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in America and has a higher-than-average incidence in south Louisiana; each year, ~600,000 Americans die of heart disease, with an average of one death every 38 seconds.  LSUHSC’s Cardiovascular Center of Excellence is at the forefront of research and discovery of treatments for cardiac disease and is supported through grants from the American Heart Association, amongst others.

Our aim is to highlight the good work we do at LSUHSC for cardiovascular care.  Knowing that heart disease is something with which many of our colleagues will have personal or family experience, we are confident that a strong LSUHSC presence will underscore our passion and commitment to the care of patients with these diseases. Moreover, we believe that excellence in cardiac care is best achieved through a collaborative effort, requiring the dedication of members from all of our schools. We seek to mirror this interprofessional approach to patient care through a solitary, united team at this year’s event.

Please use the link below to sign up, and feel free to share this link with others in your professional and personal network to solicit team members.  No donation is necessary (or expected) but we are hoping to have a strong LSUHSC presence. . Once you are on the page, click Join this Team on the left.

Questions about the event can be directed to Drs. Bradley Spieler, Suresh Alahari, Dan Kapusta, or Zee Ali.

LSUHSC Bioinformatics and Genomics Program in the Cloud – No More Genomics Snail Mail 

Chindo Hicks, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)

LSUHSC-SOM’s Bioinformatics and Genomics (BIG) Program, in partnership with University of Chicago’s Computational Institute and through a National Cancer Institute grant, have deployed the Globus platform. This new and advanced cloud-based computing platform supports the transfer, management and sharing of big and multi-omics data among investigators. LSUHSC investigators can now use this cloud-based platform to transfer and share big data and large-scale multi-platform and multi-omics data with their collaborating partners around the country and around the world.  The project is led jointly by Dr. Ian T. Foster (PI), Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Data Science and Learning division at Argonne National Laboratory, the creator of the Globus platform; and Dr. Chindo Hicks, Professor of Genetics and Director of LSUHSC-SOM’s BIG Program (PI for the LSUHSC site).

The platform includes Globus Genomics, a cloud-based, elastic system for genomics analysis in the cloud. The platform addresses the needs of researchers, allows management of big data, and provides additional computation resources by providing frictionless access to advanced scientific computing capabilities and an easy way to deliver these capabilities to a broad user base through data sharing.

Whether the genotyping or sequencing is done at campus core facilities or off-site at an external vendor, for example at the Broad Institute in Boston or the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology in Alabama, moving hundreds of Terabytes of data over an FTP connection or by sending hard drives through the mail by FedEx can be a slow, error-prone process and can compromise data security. The Globus platform allows for the rapid transfer of dozens of exome sequences to BIG’s Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics laboratory. Instead of sending hard drives, it’s now easier for researchers at LSUHSC to just get data transferred electronically. Therefore, “no more genomics snail mail for LSUHSC investigators and cooperating partners.

The BIG and Globus teams are currently working on linking LSUHSC high-performance computing platforms with the Amazon, Google, IBM and the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platforms using the Globus platform.  This will allow us to leverage LSUHSC-SOM resources and to be more competitive as we develop the LSUHSC genomics research enterprise and reposition our cancer center to achieve comprehensive designation from the NCI. In addition to deploying the Globus platform and the data delivery, sharing and analysis pipeline, the BIG and Globus teams are conducting training workshop seminars for LSUHSC investigators.

Investigators who are interesting in learning more about the platform should contact Dr. Chindo Hicks, Globus PI for the LSUHSC Site at or the LSUHSC Bioinformatics team at

Summer Student Program Poster Day Winners

Congratulations to all of the winners of the Summer Research Internship Program Poster Day!!! We would like to thank all of the participants, mentors, laboratory and office personnel, and the judges for a successful summer internship program!

High school Category

1st place:   

Manal Malik

Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies
Mentors: Drs. Tung-Sung (Sam) Tseng and Hui-Yi Lin
Dept. of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
LSUHSC School of Public Health

2nd place (tie):

Kyron Summers

St. Augustine High School
Mentor: Dr. Arnold Zea
Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology, & Parasitology
LSUHSC School of Medicine

Ann Byerley

Mandeville High School
Mentor: Dr. Martin Ronis
Dept. of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
LSUHSC School of Medicine

3rd place (tie):

Sara Saak

Mt. Carmel Academy
Mentors: Drs. Michael Norman and Pinki Prasad
Human Development Center and Children’s Hospital of New Orleans
School of Allied Health and School of Medicine

Melissa Berner

St. Mary’s Dominican High School
Mentor: Dr. Scott Edwards
Dept. of Physiology
LSUHSC School of Medicine

Undergraduate Category

1st place:

Ryan Hoffman

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Mentor: Dr. Patricia Molina
Dept. of Physiology
LSUHSC School of Medicine

2nd place (tie): 

Laura Carrasquilla

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Mentor: Dr. Jovanny Zabaleta
Dept. of Pediatrics and Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
LSUHSC School of Medicine

Jamal Jordan

Howard University, Washington, D.C
Mentor: Dr. Jason Gardner
Dept. of Physiology
LSUHSC School of Medicine

3rd place (tie):

Marissa Duckett

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Mentor: Dr. Edward Peters
Dept. of Epidemiology
LSUHSC School of Public Health

Omar Alnajjar

Xavier University of Louisiana, NO, LA
Mentor: Dr. Arnold Zea
Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology, & Parasitology
LSUHSC School of Medicine

NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program winners

1st place:

Laura Carrasquilla

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Mentor: Dr. Jovanny Zabaleta
Dept. of Pediatrics and Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center
LSUHSC School of Medicine

2nd place:

Marissa Duckett

University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Mentor: Dr. Edward Peters
Dept. of Epidemiology
LSUHSC School of Public Health

3rd place (tie):

Thor Henderson

St. Olaf College Northfield, MN
Mentor: Dr. Tiffany Wills
Dept. of Cell Biology and Anatomy
LSUHSC School of Medicine

Aaliyah Pierre

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Mentor: Dr. Rinku Majumder
Dept. of Biochemistry
LSUHSC School of Medicine

Promotions and Tenure

Congratulations are in order for the following faculty of the School of Medicine who received promotions and/or tenure, effective July 1, 2018!

Promoted to Professor:

  • Sunyoung Kim, Ph.D. (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
  • Thomas Lallier, Ph.D. (Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy)
  • Guoshun Wang, DVM, Ph.D. (Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology)
  • Ping Wang, Ph.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
  • Matthew Whim, Ph.D. (Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy)

Promoted to Professor, Clinical:

  • Lee Engel, M.D., Ph.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Paul LeLorier, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Angela McLean, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Guy Orangio, M.D. (Department of Surgery)
  • Dana Rivera, M.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
  • Rohan Walvekar, M.D. (Department of Otolaryngology)

Promoted to Clinical Professor:

  • Tracy LeGros, M.D., Ph.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Joseph LaRochelle, Pharm.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
  • Heather Murphy-Lavoie, M.D. (Department of Medicine)

Promoted to Associate Professor, Research:

  • Judy Crabtree, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)

Promoted to Associate Professor, Clinical:

  • Jameel Ahmed, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Jaime Alleyn, M.D. (Department of OB/GYN)
  • Ritu Bhalla, M.D. (Department of Pathology)
  • Charles Coleman, M.D. (Department of Psychiatry)
  • Tracy Dewenter, M.D. (Department of Pathology)
  • Stacey Holman, M.D. (Department of OB/GYN)
  • Ryan Krlin, M.D. (Department of Urology)
  • Frank Lau, M.D. (Department of Surgery)
  • Rahul Mehta, M.D. (Department of Otolaryngology)
  • Cori Morrison, M.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
  • Mihran Naljayan, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • Linda Keller Oge, M.D. (Department of Family Medicine)
  • Amanda Phillips-Savoy, M.D. (Department of Family Medicine)
  • Paula Seal, M.D., MPH (Department of Medicine)
  • Jeffrey Surcouf, M.D. (Department of Pediatrics)
  • Andrew Williams, M.D. (Department of Psychiatry)

Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor:

  • Jose Calderon-Abbo, M.D. (Department of Psychiatry)
  • Jeffrey Elder, M.D. (Department of Medicine)
  • London Guidry, M.D. (Department of Surgery)
  • Rochelle Head-Dunham, M.D. (Department of Psychiatry)
  • Azeem Khan, M.D. (Department of Surgery)
  • Michelle Moore, Psy.D. (Department of Psychiatry)

Promoted to Assistant Professor, Clinical:

  • LaKedra Pam, M.D. (Department of OB/GYN)

Promoted to Clinical Assistant Professor:

  • Stanislav Zhuk, M.D. (Department of Ophthalmology)

Tenure Only:

  • Yaguang Xi, M.D., Ph.D. (Department of Genetics)



















Summer Research Program – Another Busy Summer! 

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

The Summer Research Internship Program provides research opportunities for LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) medical students, undergraduates from throughout the United States, and New Orleans area high school students.  The program directors, Drs. Paula Gregory and Fern Tsien, match students with mentors in laboratories or clinics at LSUHSC, University Medical Center (UMC), and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC). The Summer Research Internship Program allows students to cultivate their interest in pursuing careers in either basic or clinical sciences. During the program, students conduct their own research or work on part of an ongoing project. Support for this program comes from the Baptist Community Ministries, the Entergy Corporation, the LSUHSC Medical School Dean’s Office, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF).   

This program provides the structure that students need to identify research career paths, strengthen their resumes for applications to institutions of higher learning, and facilitate future careers in the basic and health sciences. Summer interns work under the tutelage of a faculty mentor, their staff, and trainees, including medical and graduate students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and technicians. The program also provides professional development resources where experts present weekly seminars and workshops on laboratory safety, responsible conduct in research, patient confidentiality, record keeping, resume writing, and presentation skills. Faculty members from the various academic training programs also provide seminars on prerequisites and qualifications needed for acceptance into their programs of higher learning. Student interns also participate in networking activities such as the Sci-Fly Speed Mentoring Session and community engagement events, where they provide health education to Louisiana families.  

The program culminates with a poster session where participants present what they learned to the New Orleans scientific community. Drs. Gregory and Tsien would like to extend their special appreciation to mentors, laboratory personnel, and administrative staff who help make the Summer Research Internship Program a success. This program has allowed students to become immersed in the clinical/research setting, meet peers and faculty in the health fields, strengthen resumes, and jumpstart future science careers. 

Student Educational Trip to Guatemala 

Saman Kamal (Class of 2021)

At the end of May, four first-year LSUHSC medical students went to Antigua, Guatemala to gain clinical skills in a summer experience facilitated by Dr. Patricia Molina (Department Chair, Physiology).  The trip was for us to experience the healthcare delivery system, learn the art of practicing medicine in a developing country, and refine our Spanish language abilities. I, along with Alex Molina, Rod Paulsen, and Jason Schroeder spent a week at the San Pedro Hospital, under the guidance of physicians from the local medical school, including Drs. Guillermo Sanchez, Pedro Palacios, Pedro Ayau, Leonel Leon Pineda, and Dominique Jimenez.

When you walk down a cobblestone street in Antigua, Guatemala, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. The quiet streets are lined with colorful stucco Spanish buildings, the air smells like fresh corn tortillas, and the street vendors sell freshly cut fruit. San Pedro Hospital is a bright yellow Baroque-style church and hospital. In addition to exam rooms, the hospital has a small surgery wing, labor & delivery ward, pharmacy, lab, and an endoscopy/ultrasound suite. Healthcare services are provided at no cost to the patients, many of whom travel hours from rural areas to be seen at San Pedro.

The clinic is staffed by a team of medical students from the Universidad de Francisco Marroquin (UFM), as part of their internal medicine rotation. The students complete the entire history and physical exam for each patient, usually spending over 30 minutes with each person. They present their diagnosis and treatment plan to the supervising physician, who either agrees with their treatment plan or steers the students in the right direction. If students are uncertain or need more clarification about a diagnosis, they will consult the literature. In fact, when we asked questions, the students would often explain the answer and send us a relevant peer-reviewed article with more information.

We met patients between the ages of 11 – 80, with problems varying from ear infections, cervical dysplasia, upper respiratory infections, diabetes, and hypertension. Our patients ranged from women presenting with back pain or right upper quadrant pain, to true Guatemalan ranchers from local cattle farms, to a schoolgirl who was injured at the playground. We were nervous at first, hesitant to speak to patients or examine them. We watched the students with trepidation, wondering if we’d ever be that confident in front of our patients. As our first day progressed, their courage rubbed off on us. By lunchtime, we had started taking histories from our patients. In fact, by Thursday, we went through a mock Step 2 CS exercise, during which we took patient histories, performed a physical exam, and wrote a note, entirely in Spanish. We had become comfortable with physical exam skills that scared us on Monday morning, like checking for a Murphy sign, performing a straight leg raise, or testing reflexes and sensation.

On our last day with UFM, Drs. Leon Pineda and Jimenez met us at an inpatient hospital, tucked away in the mountains outside of Antigua, for patients with neurological problems or developmental delay. Once inside, we each were assigned to one pediatric patient and one adult patient. Many of the pediatric patients suffered from cerebral palsy, often caused by neonatal meningitis infection. My patient was a 10-year-old boy, Angel, with severe microcephaly. He lay in a crib, silent, attached to a feeding tube and oxygen cannula. His head, covered in fuzzy black hair, was still soft as if he was a newborn. His limbs were under-developed, his hands clenched into permanent fists. According to his chart, after giving birth, his mother left Angel at the hospital in Guatemala City. A team of American neurosurgeons operated on Angel. Afterward, he was sent to the hospital, where he will stay for the rest of his life.

I had never taken a history or performed a physical exam with a patient who could not speak. I introduced myself to Angel, explained that I was a medical student from the U.S., and saw no response. I reached down to touch his chest; he immediately started shivering. I found his wrist, feeling his pulse under my fingers, letting Angel become accustomed to my voice and my touch. As the shivering slowed down, I asked him to follow my flashlight with his eyes. Surprisingly, Angel complied, although he could not abduct his left eye. Building up my confidence, I listened to his strong heart and his lungs. I tested his reflexes with a hammer, noting a response in both knees and his left elbow. I tickled the bottom of his feet, asked him to turn his head towards my voice, and performed other maneuvers under the guidance of Dr. Jimenez. As we wrapped up, I realized I had elicited a surprising amount of information, even though my patient couldn’t speak. I was able to tell that Angel was recovering from his previous upper respiratory infection by the diminished crackles in his lung base, able to see that he still had sensation and reflexes in his tiny legs, count his chest rising and falling to find his respiratory rate, and assess his cranial nerve function by watching his eyes.

The free hospital was unlike any place I’ve ever seen, whether in the U.S. or abroad. For a child like Angel, it quite literally saved his life. We are very thankful to the faculty, students, and staff at UFM for allowing us to experience and learn from the patients at San Pedro and the inpatient hospital. We are also very grateful to LSUHSC and Dr. Patricia Molina for facilitating this learning experience.