What’s Going on in Your Neck of the Woods?

Cardiovascular Center of Excellence:

  • Congratulations to the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence and Pharmacology Graduate Students – Dr. David Polhemus, Ph.D., Dr. Chelsea Organ, Ph.D., and Dr. Rishi Trivedi, Ph.D. – for receiving their Ph.D.s and beginning LSUHSC Medical School as part of the incoming 2017 Class. They will be joined by Ms. Amanda Rushing, who worked in the CV Center as a Research Associate.

goodchild headshot

  • Dr. Traci Goodchild has been selected to serve a 3 year term as an ad hoc Specialist for AAALAC International. She will travel to different institutions as a site inspector evaluating their compliance with regulatory standards for the care and use of laboratory animals. There are only 25 out of 377 of AAALAC Specialists that hold only a PhD degree, with the others having been trained as veterinarians.


  • Papapetropoulos headshotThe Cardiovascular Center of Excellence is proud to welcome Dr. Andreas Papapetropoulos, Ph.D. as the newest faculty appointment. Dr. Papapetropoulos will serve as a full-time professor and Director of the Seminar Series. He comes to us from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece.


  • The LSUHSC Cardiovascular Center of Excellence served as the host for the recent 36th Annual International Society for Heart Research – North American Section held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside from May 30 – June 2. CV Center Director, Dr. David Lefer, served as the meeting organizer and was assisted by CV faculty and staff. The meeting was comprised of more than 220 basic and clinical researchers from around the world covering the topic of “Translation of Cardiovascular Therapeutics to the Clinic”. The event was a great success and wouldn’t have been possible without the combined efforts of the CV Center and several other departments from LSUHSC. Special thanks to Dr. Richard Vander Heide, Dr. Kurt Varner, Dr. Dan Kapusta, Dr. Imran Mungrue and Dr. Jason Gardner


  • Meeting Highlights: Plenary lecture by Eric Olson (UTSW), Janice Pfeffer Distinguished Lecture by Tetsuji Miura (Sapporo Med Ctr), Outstanding Investigator Award lecture by Xander Wehrens (Baylor), Research Achievement Award lecture by Rong Tian (Univ Wash), Peter Harris Distinguished Scientist Award lecture by R. John Solaro (UIC), Dinner Reception/Awards Ceremony and Social at Club XLIV and Encore for conference participants

Family Medicine: 

  • Dr. Emilio Russo was promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine.
  • Dr. Emilio Russo and Dr. Gerald Berenson received IRB approval to conduct studies on Aging in Congestive Heart Failure and renal disease in Bogalusa including follow up on patients included in the Bogalusa Heart Study.
  • The Department hired a Director of Research, Paula Rhode Brantley, PhD to assist faculty and residents in pursuing scholarly activity.
  • Due to the generosity of Drs. Susan M Leary and Richard A. Culbertson and matching funds from The Board of Regents, the Department is able to announce the availability of the Susan M. Leary and Richard A. Culbertson Professorship.

Internal Medicine – Nephrology: 

  • Stephen A. Morse, DO, MPH, TM, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, was a recipient of the “Lucky Seven Kidney Heroes” award presented by the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana at the annual Le Gala de la Bonne Vie on May 21, 2017 at the New Orleans Marriot Convention Center
  • Mihran Naljayan, M.D.,FASH, FNKF, has been appointed as the new Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship: effective July 1st, 2017

Current Clinical Trials:

  • A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter, event-driven Phase III study to investigate the efficacy and safety of finerenone on the reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus and the clinical diagnosis of diabetic kidney disease in addition to standard of care BAY 94-8862 (finerenone) / 17530 — FIGARO DKD Sponsor: BAYER PI. Efrain Reisin, MD IRB # 9171
  • A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter, event-driven Phase III study to investigate the efficacy and safety of finerenone, in addition to standard of care, on the progression of kidney disease in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus and the clinical diagnosis of diabetic kidney disease. No. BAY 94-8862 (finerenone) / 16244 — FIDELIO-DKD Sponsor: BAYER PI. Efrain Reisin, MD IRB # 9619

Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology: 

  • Dr. Pam Kozlowski and Dr. Chris Taylor were elected Delegates of the Faculty Assembly. Dr. Taylor was also elected to the Executive Committee. He will serve as the 2017-18 President Elect.
  • Dr. Chris Taylor was awarded tenure in June.
  • Dr. Hong Xin was awarded an LSU LIFT2 Grant for her proposal: “Active and Passive Immunization Strategies against Life-threatening Invasive Fungal Infections.”
  • MIP faculty, postdocs, and students presented 14 abstracts as posters along with 2 selected/invited oral presentations (by graduate student Patricia Dehon and postdoc Lyndsey Buckner) at the recent ASM Microbe meeting in New Orleans. ASM Microbe, organized by the American Society for Microbiology, is the largest annual gathering of microbiologists in the world.
  • The 2017 summer students in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology were welcomed with a reception in the departmental conference room. Students were able to meet each other and get acquainted with faculty, staff, and graduate students.


  • Dr. Andrew McWhorter was promoted to the rank of Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology effective July 1, 2017.
  • Dr. Justin Tenney was promoted to the rank of Clinical Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology effective, July 1, 2017.
  • Dr. Robert Peden was awarded 2016-2017 Otolaryngology Teacher of the Year on June 16, 2017.
  • Dr. Kevin McLaughlin was award 2016-2017 Otolaryngology Alumnus of the Year on June 16, 2017.
  • Dr. Daniel Nuss, Professor and Chairman served as Course Director at North American Skull Base Society Summer Course held at LSU Health New Orleans, Center for Advanced Practice, July 6-9, 2017.
  • Dr. Rahul Mehta, Assistant Professor served as Co-Director at North American Skull Base Society Summer Course held at LSU Health New Orleans, Center for Advanced Practice, July 6-9, 2017.
  • Dr. Andrew McWhorter, Professor, served on Program Committee at the American Head and Neck Society Annual Meeting at COSM, San Diego, CA April 2017.
  • Dr. Andrew McWhorter, Professor, served as Moderator at Scientific Session 5: Larynx/Hypopharynx. American Head and Neck Society Annual Meeting San Diego, California April 27, 2017
  • Dr. Laura Hetzler, Associate Professor presented the following: “Updates in Facial Reanimation: a Multi-Discipline Approach”. Deep South Otolaryngology Regional Meeting, Destin, Florida, June 9-11th, 2017
  • Casie James, Kanotra SP: A method of securing nasotracheal tube during single stage laryngotracheal reconstruction. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Austin, Texas, May 18-21, 2017.
  • Victoria Givens, Kanotra SP: Swallowing assessment in patients undergoing lingual tonsillectomy and epiglottopexy for severe sleep apnea. American Society Pediatric Otolaryngology Austin, Texas, May 18-21, 2017.
  • Vijatitis V, Kanotra SP: Impact of supraglottoplasty on parental perception of swallowing using a 10 point swallowing index. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology Austin, Texas, May 18-21, 2017.
  • C James, Kanotra SP: Airway and Swallowing Outcomes in Children With Congenital Vascular Rings. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO), Austin, Texas, May 2017.
  • Dr. Sohit Kanotra organized a teaching session entitled “Caring for Your Child’s Tracheostomy” at Children’s Hospital, New Orleans, July 15, 2017.


  • Pediatrics Research Day was held on Friday, June 9 at Children’s Hospital. Department Head Raymond Watts, MD dedicated the day to Dr. Yves Lacassie on his retirement. Medical Students, Residents, Fellows, Post-Doctoral Researchers, Junior Faculty and Research Professionals all participated in the day, which included 7 oral presentations and 37 poster presentations.


  • http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/39295/promising-research-targets-brain-receptor-that-processes-pain-in-ptsd-and-alcohol-abuse-patients/
  • Dr. Scott Edwards recently presented his laboratory’s pain and addiction research at the Third International Congress on Alcoholism and Stress (May 2017), the American Pain Society meeting (May 2017), and the NIH Pain Consortium Symposium (May 2017). Mr. Rod Paulsen completed his Master’s thesis in Edwards Lab and will be joining our medical school in Fall 2017.
  • Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference 60th Annual Meeting “Environment and Global Lung Health: Exposure, Susceptibility and Intervention” June 7-10, 2017 Invited oral/podium presentation “Nicotine downregulates the compensatory angiotensin-converting enzyme-2/AT2R of the renin-antiotensin system” Xinping Yue, Tyler M. Basting, Thomas W. Flanagan, Jiaxi Xu, Thomas D. Lobell, Nicholas W. Gilpin, Jason D. Gardner, Eric Lazartigues, Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
  • Dr. Cynthia Gomez lecture – August 15th SON/AH Lecture Hall A at 12:30. Bridging Science and Practice for Collective Impact in Ending the HIV Pandemic This presentation described the success of a community-academy partnership using a Collective Impact Framework. The Bay Area Network for Positive Health (BANPH), comprised of 12+ agencies, established a network outreach model for our linkage-to-care project to engage the hardest-to-reach populations in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the years 2010 to 2013, BANPH agencies conducted street outreach, analyzed internal tracking systems to identify out-of-care individuals and individuals experiencing tenuous care, and surveyed participants using Apple iPod Touch devices. During the three-year project, BANPH agencies engaged 602 out-of-care PLWHA and linked 440 to care. On average, outreach workers made 10 contact attempts with a client to link them to care. Sixty-three percent of participants were linked to care on an average of 56 days after initial contact. Factors including lack of case management, lack of transportation, competing concerns, substance abuse, and HIV stigma were significantly associated with linkage-to-care outcomes. The important role of equity partnerships between CBO’s and academics was discussed.