What’s Going On in Your Neck of the Woods? September

Cell Biology and Anatomy

The Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy was given the honor of being selected by the graduating L-4’s as the BEST preclinical department.   Dr. William Swartz was selected to be a hooder for the graduating class.   Dr. Ham Farris was selected as the BEST preclinical professor.   Dr. Jason Middleton received funding for his LBCRP project entitled “Plastic restoration of neural networks in tinnitus.”   Dr. Jason Mussell received funding from the Arnold Gold Foundation for his project entitled “An argument for the ethical use of fetal remains in medical education.”   Dr. Whim received funding from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International for his grant entitled, “Use of NPY1 antagonists as a new approach to preventing hypoglycemic-associated autonomic failure.”  


Andrew Hollenbach, Ph.D. was invited to give a series of lectures at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York City on the Writing of a Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Training Grant.   Lucio Miele, MD, Ph.D. was appointed to the Editorial Board of Oncogene.   Lucio Miele, MD, Ph.D. presented the All of Us Precision Medicine Research Program at the National Association of City and County Health Organization (NACCHO) conference held in New Orleans.   Michael Lan, MD received an R21 grant from the National Cancer Institute, NIH.  

Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology

Dr. Jeff Hobden did an interview on WWL radio about pathogenic bacteria on shopping carts that was broadcast on June 4.   Dr. Jeff Hobden was selected as Didactic Educator of the Year by the Class of 2019 Physician Assistant students.  


On June 1, 2018 University Medical Center – New Orleans presented Neurosurgery resident Cliff Crutcher the “Resident Quality Champion” Award. This honor is in recognition of his extraordinary dedication and commitment to the development and implementation of House Officers’ Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Initiatives.  


Pediatrics Assistant Professor and Pediatric Residency Program Director Chelsey Sandlin, MD was awarded the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award by the Class of 2018. The award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues.   Dr. Sandlin was also recently selected by the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD) for participation in their prestigious APPD Leadership in Educational Academic Development (APPD LEAD) program. APPD LEAD is a nationally recognized program that provides a unique opportunity for pediatric academic leaders in medical education to engage and learn from seasoned program directors, pediatric educators, and other national leaders in pediatrics. APPD LEAD is an approximately nine-month educational program. The LEAD curriculum focuses on organizational leadership, competency-based curriculum development, faculty development, residency and fellowship program administration, scholarship and career development. The curriculum is paced over three educational conferences, with additional group activities, readings and project work expected between conferences. Chelsey is beginning her second year as LSU Department of Pediatrics Residency Program Director. She is already identified as an educational leader in our institution and the APPD LEAD program will bring great value to LSU, CHNOLA and our learners.   The American Society for Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO) has elected Pinki Prasad, MD, MPH as the Chair-Elect for their Diversity Special Interest Group. The Diversity SIG advises the Board of Trustees of ASPHO on the needs and opportunities for promoting diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency within the society. Founded in 1981, ASPHO currently has 2,000 members. ASPHO offers a forum for the exchange of ideas on issues of special interests and concern to people in the specialty, as well as a means for facilitating communication among members. ASPHO is the only professional organization dedicated solely to the professional development and interest of subspecialists in pediatric hematology/oncology. Pinki is a tremendous asset to our Department, University and Children’s Hospital. Now the Pediatric Heme Onc community will benefit from her leadership skills and talents.   The Department of Pediatrics hosted its annual Research Day on Friday, June 1. Students, Residents, Fellows and Junior Faculty presented over 30 posters and 7 oral presentations. The day was dedicated to Dr. Ricardo Sorensen who will be retiring on June 30.


Your Neck of the Woods

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Shyamal Desai has a new patent application entitled “Therapeutic and Diagnostic Method for Ataxia-Telangiectasia,” which has been accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in November 2016 [US2016/0216279]. A patent on this invention is expected to be issued in March 2017.

Dr. Shyamal Desai, a member of the Graduate Advisory Council-Multicultural/Diversity and Recruitment Committees of LSU Graduate School, visited Xavier University in New Orleans to raise awareness about the Graduate Programs and Summer Research Opportunities available to their undergraduate students at the LSUHSC School of Medicine.


Dr. Suresh Alahari’s Lab recently published the following journal articles: “The roles of oncogenic miRNAs and their therapeutic importance in breast cancer”. Eur J Cancer. 2016 Dec 17;72:1-11; “Role of Long Noncoding RNAs in Neoplasia: Special Emphasis on Prostate Cancer”. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2016;324:229-54;



Dr. Suresh Alahari’s recent publication entitled “Regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition through epigenetic and post-translational modifications” Mol Cancer. 2016 Feb 24;15:18, was one of the top three most cited articles in 2016 in the journal Molecular Cancer.   Congratulations on this accomplishment!


Dr. Suresh Alahari recently gave presentations at two prestigious international conferences: the Gordon Research Conference on Fibronectin, Integrins and Related Molecules: Lucca (Barga), Italy and the Keystone Conference on Non-Coding RNAs: From Disease to Targeted Therapeutics: Banff, Alberta, Canada


Dr. Suresh Alahari also gave international talks on Nischarin’s role in breast cancer in 2016 at the following places: Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and the Institute of Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki, Finland.


Dr. Sunyoung Kim’s Lab received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to participate in the NS Innovation Corps (ICorps) program in January 2017.


The newest member of the Biochemistry Department, Sean Alphonso, recently joined the team as Department Coordinator after 4 years of working as a counselor at The Good Shepherd School (GSS). GSS is a tuition-free, private, Catholic school that provides a great learning environment and small class sizes to low-income, inner-city students. Sean still plans to maintain ties with GSS as a volunteer mentor, visiting an at-risk student once per week for an hour of tutoring or counseling. Anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer mentor at GSS, or is interested in creating and leading any STEM related projects that teachers can use in the classroom are encouraged to contact Sean in the Biochemistry office or at salpho@lsuhsc.edu.


Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy

Dr. Emma Schachner 2016 Associate of the Avian Veterinarians Research Grant Award awarded for the research proposal “Lower Respiratory System Anatomy of the African Grey Parrot”


Dr. Guen Rae, Assistant Professor, was honored and featured on the cover of the November/December issue (number 9, issue 5, 2016) of the Anatomical Sciences Edition with her co-authors and institution for her paper entitled, “The integration of brain dissection within the medical neuroscience laboratory”.


Dr. Jay Mussell, Assistant Professor, was awarded an Innovations Grant as part of the American Association of Anatomist’s Innovations Program. The intent of the grant is to change the perception of the AAA and its members by others such as the community-at-large.


Department of Genetics

Graduate student Ayesha Umrigar was awarded first place in for her poster presentation in the Graduate Research Day held November 4, 2017.


Dr. Andrew Hollenbach was named the recipient of the Jack Hines Award for 2016.  The award is given to a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the School of Graduate Studies.


Graduate student Kayla Fuselier was awarded a $1,000 travel award through the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to attend the annual meeting to be held in Chicago this April.


Dr. Fern Tsien individually hosted Ben Franklin High School, Pope John Paul II high school, and Edna Karr high school as part of her “Genetics and Science Career” workshops.


Dr. Judy Crabtree published the article “Retinoblastoma Binding Protein 2 (RBP2) is Frequently Expressed in Neuroendocrine Tumors and Promotes the Neoplastic Phenotype” in Oncogenesis 5:e257 (2016).


Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology

Nazary Nebeluk, an M.D.,Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Tim Foster, was awarded 1st place for his poster entitled “Development and Preclinical Evaluation of Novel Therapeutics that Disrupt Arginine-Associated Metabolic Pathways for Treatment of Viral- and Inflammation-Associated Ocular Diseases” at the 2017 Research Symposium of the Louisiana Medical Society.


Drs. Ashok Aiyar and Alison Quayle received an LSU Lift2 grant for their project entitled “Generation of non-virally immortalized human female reproductive tract epithelial cell lines.”


Dr. Hong Xin received a Department of Defense grant for the project entitled “Development of an Immunotherapeutic Delivery Platform Using Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells, in collaboration with colleagues at Autoimmune Technologies.


Drs. Huang, Shelito, Mason, and Ramsay published the article “Gene-based neonatal immune priming potentiates a mucosal adenoviral vaccine encoding mycobacterial Ag85B” in the journal Vaccine 34(50), pp6267-6275 (2016).


Drs. Hg, Valentine, and Wang published the article “CFTR targeting during activation of human neutrophils” in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology 100(6), pp1413-1424 (2016).


Dr. Joy Sturtevant recently attended the Gerontological Society of America’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting where she and her dog, Benny, a trained therapy dog, participated in the Human-Animal Interaction in Health Aging Symposium.  This interest group brings together researchers in all areas to explore the value of companion animals in providing a high quality of life for older adults.


Department of Ophthalmology

Congratulations to Dr. Pharo who was the winner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2016 EyeWiki Residents and Fellows in Training Contest for his article entitled “Muller’s Muscle-Conjunctival Resection Blepharoptosis Repair”. This prize also includes travel to the Mid-Year Forum in Washington DC this April. Excellent work!



Department of Otolaryngology

Dr. Anna M. Pou earned the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award is presented to members in recognition of their contributions and volunteer service to the Academy and Foundation.


Dr. Alexander Sevy was appointed Director of the LSU Otolaryngology Research Committee.


Dr. Daniel W. Nuss was named Chair for the Pre-Meeting Course of the North American Skull Base Society’s 27th Annual Meeting. Dr. Rahul Mehta is assisting with the organization of this course. It will be held at the LSUHSC Center for Advanced Practice Lab from March 1-2, 2017.


Dr. Hamilton Farris wrote a guest editorial for Science. Entitled “Perception drives the evolution of observable traits,” the invited editorial appeared in the January 6, 2017 issue.


Drs. Joshua Sappington, Stephen C. Hernandez, Daniel W. Nuss, Dwayne Anderson and Moises A. Arriaga presented the poster “Preoperative Endovascular Carotid Occlusion Facilitates Internal Carotid Artery Resection for Lateral Skull Base Lesion” at the Southern Section Meeting of the Triological Society, held in New Orleans from January 19-21, 2017.


Dr. Rohan Walvekar is an invited international speaker at the ENT Summit 2017 & 3rd Navigated Sinus and Skull Base Surgery conference. The conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from February 23-25, 2017.


Dr. Rohan Walvekar and members of the LSU medical students ENT Interest Group held an Oral Cancer Screening at Zuppardo’s Family Supermarket in Metairie on December 2, 2017.


Dr. Moises Arriaga organized the EAS Surgical Workshop presented by Med EL on January 20, 2017. The workshop was held in the Otolaryngology Conference Room and Temporal Bone Laboratory.


Department of Physiology

Dr. Lisa Harrison Bernard published the article “Getting Connected with Women in Science” in the journal The Physiologist, Vol 60(1), 2017.


Dr. Jason Gardner (contact PI), Dr. Xinping Yue (PI), Dr. Eric Lazertigues (PI, Department of Pharmacology), and Dr. Nick Gilpin (Co-PI) were awarded an NIH R01 from the NHLBI for “Chronic Nicotine Inhalation Increases Susceptibility to Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases Through Inhibition of Local Compensatory Mechanisms.”


Dr. Nicholas Gilpin was named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.


Department of Psychiatry

The 21st Century Cures Bill just passed into law contains a comprehensive mental health reform bill entitled “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act.” US Sen. William Cassidy, who has been a champion for improved mental health services, was the co-sponsor of the Senate legislation and worked tirelessly to gain bipartisan support. At Cassidy’s request, Psychiatry has been privileged to serve as consultants throughout the process and congratulate him on this important victory.


Drs. Erich Conrad and Jennifer Hughes have received two grants to further research at University Medical Center (UMC):

  1. The UMC Trauma Recovery Clinic will be initiated at UMC via a grant from Baptist Community Ministries. The Trauma Recovery Clinic will provide behavioral health service to traumatically injured patients and their families. This clinic will be integrated into the trauma Surgery Follow-up clinic and presents a unique and perhaps ideal opportunity to intervene with this population, especially for high-risk victims of violence.
  1. In collaboration with Dr. Shane Xin from the LSU Biometric and Visual Computing group in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, they have been awarded a grant via the Louisiana Biomedical Collaborative Research Program to create a pilot project designed to test the potential effectiveness of using Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in civilian gunshot victims. Both of these projects are highly innovative and the first of their kind nationally.


The Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Project – Louisiana (MBHCP-LA), led by Drs. Howard and Joy Osofsky, provided over 15,964 MBH direct services (supplemental therapeutic services, strength based supportive services, brief interventions and evaluations, community outreach, including social media outreach, and consultations, trainings and workforce development) in the past quarter. Indirect services also play a significant role in sustainability efforts and the overall impact of MBHCP-LA. Examples are:

  • Continued collaboration with community partners as an integral part of MBHCP-LA service provision and efforts toward sustainability
  • Continued implementation of telepsychiatry as an important component of treatment with the inclusion of addiction psychiatry services provided via telepsychiatry
  • Collaborative coordination efforts with GRHOP partners, under the direction of Howard Osofsky, for the forthcoming Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference in February 2017.
  • Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience (TDC4CFR) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a center in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. TDC4CFR provides national training and capacity building on terrorism, disaster, and resilience for children and adolescents. Grant funding began in the past quarter and MBHCP-LA will work closely with TDC4CFR on lessons learned following technological disasters.
  • MBHCP-LA continued consultation following the Great Flood of 2016 on federal disaster grant requirements, services to meet the behavioral health needs of survivors, screenings to identify behavioral health needs, and the important support for local providers who are on the ground assisting with recovery efforts.
  • MBHCP-LA Integrated Pediatric Care and Consultation Model services are now provided at two additional clinics, Napoleon Pediatrics and Pelican Pediatric Physicians. Faculty members obtained the necessary credentialing through Children’s Hospital and have full schedules at the newly integrated Orleans and Jefferson Parish clinics.
  • In collaboration with Person Centered Care Planning, progress has been made toward sustainable collaborative care in Federal Qualified Health Center and Community Clinics including new pediatric initiatives.



Department of Radiology

Dr. Leonard Bok was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (ACR), one of the highest honors that ACR bestows upon its members. Recognition as a Fellow of the ACR demonstrates a history of service to the College and the profession of radiology as a whole. The ceremony will be held May 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Bradley Spieler spearheaded the LSUHSC Shuttle Portal initiative, with goals to improve safety and efficiency of transit on campus.


Dr. Dane Mackey published the article “Pediatric Chondromyxoid Fibroma-Like Osteosarcoma” in the journal Fetal Pediatric Pathology, Vol. 9, pp 1 – 8 (2016).


In Fall 2016 the Department of Radiology became one of 44 programs to be granted an accredited Interventional Radiology residency program by the ACGME, joining the 17 programs that were approved in Spring 2016. In addition, we are one of only two programs to create an Interventional Radiology Residency without an existing Interventional Fellowship and the only program in the state of Louisiana.


On August 31, 2016, Radiology participated in a community service project at Grace at the Green Light. Led by Dr. Bradley Spieler, our residents arrived at 6:30 AM at the Central City office to distribute breakfast and water to the homeless community. Grace at the Green Light is a nonprofit organization with an aim of helping the homeless population of our city through delivery of essential items. Their mission is “To offer New Orleans’ homeless persons choices and to provide for their basic needs in a loving manner that embraces the human spirit.” Grace at the Green Light hopes to provide essentials to not only help New Orleans’ homeless, but to show them there are people out there who do care about them.


The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) will hold its annual meeting in New Orleans from April 30 – May 5, 2017. ARRS accepted three presentations from LSUHSC including resident Dr. Eric Wallace entitled “Persistent Sciatic Artery: A Favorable Anatomic Variant in a Setting of Trauma”, resident Dr. Lillian Tiara Murphy entitled “Pancreatic Arteriovenous Malformations”, and Dr. Bradley Spieler on “Renal Excretion on Five Minute Delay Phase C as a Predictor of Cardiopulmonary Arrest Within 24 Hours”.


Department of Urology

Drs. Aaron Martin and Scott Delacroix received the UroTigers grant award to develop a direct-to-patient teleUrology program.