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Make Way for Big Ideas


Nurse holding COVID vaccine and syringe

Tulane Continues Role in Vaccine Development

A new study co-authored by researchers at TULANE NATIONAL PRIMATE RESEARCH CENTER found that a vaccine currently being developed induces a robust and long-lasting immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in non-human primates, similar to the protection provided by the Moderna vaccine. The results of the study, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were published in Nature. Subunit vaccines, which only use a segment or part of the virus to induce an immune response, are of particular interest due to their high safety profile.


Research Hero

Xiao-Ming Yin seated in laboratory

Tulane University School of Medicine named XIAO-MING YIN the chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Yin led the department during the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Under his leadership, they launched a clinical test for COVID-19 with one-day processing. For these critical efforts, the university recognized him as one of the “Heroes and Helpers” during the pandemic. The COVID-19 testing laboratory was also recognized in 2020 with the Tulane President’s Excellence Award.


Addressing Pandemic Hate Crimes

Irang Kim headshot

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a dramatic increase in discrimination and hate crimes against Asian Americans, and a Tulane University researcher wants to gain a better understanding of these experiences. IRANG KIM, an assistant professor in the Tulane School of Social Work, is teaming up with Xiaochuan Wang, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Central Florida, to gauge the extent of hate and hate crimes targeted at individuals of Asian descent and who self-identify as Asian American. They also want to study how these experiences affected their well-being in terms of resilience and coping strategies. The study will help them understand more about what has happened during the pandemic to Asians in the U.S., particularly in the area of mental health..




Researcher works in Primate Center lab while wearing safety suit


Detecting Childhood TB

Tony Hu in lab

Led by TONY HU, Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Biotechnology Innovation at Tulane, researchers at the School of Medicine developed a highly sensitive blood test that can find traces of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB) in infants a year before they develop the deadly disease, according to a study published in BMC Medicine. The researchers are working to develop an inexpensive, portable instrument to read the test to allow it to be more easily used in resource-limited settings often encountered in areas where TB is prevalent.


Next Gen Research

Two students work in lab

Tulane University will invest $5.7 million to significantly expand the TULANE UNIVERSITY TRANSLATIONAL SCIENCE INSTITUTE into a university-wide center focused on finding better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease and translate scientific discoveries into medical practices that improve patient care and public health.

The institute will include new graduate degree programs to develop the next generation of clinical investigators, new training programs for clinical research coordinators and a shared “biobank” to store and preserve patient samples for use by researchers across multiple studies and institutions. The institute will include other infrastructure improvements to support large-scale patient recruitment for clinical trials, data analysis and research study design..


Demetrius Maraganore in office

Better Brain Health

DEMETRIUS “DEMETRI” MARAGANORE was appointed Herbert J. Harvey, Jr. Chair in Neurosciences and Chair of the Department of Neurology at Tulane University School of Medicine. Maraganore runs the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative that helps patients prevent cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

David Busija headshot

Slowing Aging

DAVID BUSIJA, Regents Professor and Chair of Pharmacology, was awarded more than $3 million to understand why aging and conditions such as type 2 diabetes impact the brain, and how to slow that process. The research projects are being funded with grants from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute and the National Institute of Aging.


Tulane Advances Clean Energy

Nicholas Sandoval at desk using laptop

Tulane University will share in a U.S. Department of Energy $35 million award designed to advance new technologies to decarbonize the biorefining processes used to convert organic material, such as plant matter, into fuel. NICHOLAS SANDOVAL, an assistant professor in the Tulane Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is teaming up with researchers at the University of Delaware on the project that will cut across the energy, transportation and agriculture sectors.


Engy Ziedan standing in office corridor

Pandemic and the Economy

When COVID-19 sent countries into a global lockdown last year, ENGY ZIEDAN, assistant professor of economics at the School of Liberal Arts, wondered if she could measure the economic fallout. Within weeks, she and other economists used social media to form research groups to examine different aspects of the pandemic, using electronic medical records, insurance claims and prescription drug records, among other sources. Since then, Ziedan has worked on several different projects that use economics as a lens to view the pandemic from multiple angles.

Jesse Keenan standing outside in New Orleans

The Climate and the Future

JESSE KEENAN, associate professor and social scientist at Tulane University School of Architecture, knows that there is no aspect of our lives that climate change doesn’t affect: food prices, food and water availability, the cost of goods, mortgage access, even the capacity to build long-term wealth through investments. Keenan believes New Orleans is "one of the principal jewels of American urbanism." With the support of governmental leadership from all levels, New Orleans could serve as a prototype for what many American cities could look like in the future.


Leading Towards Income Equality

Gary Hoover sits on steps outside of Tilton Hall

GARY “HOOV” HOOVER, a prolific scholar and nationally renowned economist in the study of economic policy and its impact on wealth and income inequality, was named the new director of Tulane University’s MURPHY INSTITUTE and full professor in economics. Hoover comes to Tulane from the University of Oklahoma, where he served as the department chair of economics. In 2017, he was appointed a President's Associates Presidential Professorship. He was also among a group of 40 Nobel Prize laureates and global innovators selected for the inaugural Nobel Prize Summit this past April.


Daniel Shantz in lab

Global Energy Partnership

Tulane University will team up with partners in Louisiana and Israel to lead one of the country’s three inaugural U.S.–Israel Energy Centers aimed at improving the safety, efficiency and sustainability of offshore natural gas production. Led by DANIEL SHANTZ, Entergy Chair in Clean Energy Engineering at Tulane, the five-year, $27 million initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy, will, in partnership with industry, work to develop and deploy new and critical technologies for the fossil energy, energy storage and energy-water nexus sectors.