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Regents Boost Tulane Research

June 29, 2007

Kathryn Hobgood

Three separate projects proposed by Tulane University were selected to receive a total of nearly $16 million over the next three years by the Louisiana Board of Regents through the "Research Commercialization and Educational Enhancement Program," an initiative designed to ensure the future success of campuses most severely impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Research projects for universities are receiving boosts in funding through the Louisiana Board of Regents. Harold Stokes, left, a board member, talks with Alan Miller, right, interim senior vice president for health sciences at Tulane, at a recent press conference on the new Louisiana Vaccine Center. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The Tulane projects are part of $27.5 million in federal grants that went to 11 teams of scientists at colleges and universities around the state.

The money comes from $10.4 billion in Community Development Block Grants that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

The No. 1-ranked funded proposal, submitted jointly by Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, will create a Clinical and Translational Research Education and Commercialization Program in the downtown medical district of New Orleans.

That proposal, co-led by principal investigators Alan Miller, interim senior vice president for health sciences at Tulane, and Steve Nelson, professor of pediatrics at LSU, will receive $5.95 million over the next three years to provide cutting-edge treatments to patients, train physicians in clinical research and spur development of bio-business in the New Orleans area.

Other funding includes a $5.8 million proposal led by Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane, for the Louisiana Peptide Translational Research Consortium. The grant will be used to identify, produce, test and commercialize peptide-based therapeutics for a wide array of diseases.

Tulane professor Vijay John, chair of Tulane's chemical and biomolecular engineering department, was awarded a $3.9 million grant for his proposal to collaborate with Xavier University and Nunez Community College on scientific discoveries that have commercialization potential and to develop a skilled workforce in chemical sciences at the undergraduate and technician levels.

Additionally, Pierre Buekens, dean of the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in partnership with Loyola University, was awarded a half million grant for the enhancement of undergraduate research in cancer biology.

Proposals for funding the Research Commercialization and Educational Enhancement Program were solicited from university campuses in the eight parishes designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as most severely impacted by the 2005 hurricanes.

Projects addressed issues of primary importance to these affected campuses, including faculty recruitment and retention, student development and support, development of core facilities, and technology commercialization. Funding priorities for the competition were overseen by the Board of Regents, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the Louisiana Legislature and HUD.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000