A great university defines success by how it advances humanity through academic, scholarly and social leadership. By that standard, Tulane is truly impactful — and ascendant. Tulane’s manifold contributions are evident in the lives we transform, the problems we solve and the community we foster.
IN FY20, TULANE RECEIVED MORE THAN $176 MILLION IN RESEARCH FUNDING —THE HIGHEST AMOUNT IN TULANE’S HISTORY.
THOMAS LAVEIST, a national expert on issues related to equity and health, is dean of Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity. He and other key researchers are currently working to launch a new Health Equity Institute, to study how health issues disproportionately impact the Black community. LaVeist is also co-chair of the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which was tasked by Gov. John Bel Edwards to develop a series of recommendations to address health inequities affecting communities that are most impacted by COVID-19, to improve health outcomes and provide greater access to high quality medical care.
Supported by collaborations with Tulane and its growing Jewish Studies program, the new Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience will bring together hundreds of stories that might otherwise have been lost to history. The museum’s new executive director, KENNETH HOFFMAN (A&S ’88, G ’93), a former history major at Tulane, was previously director of education at the Louisiana State Museum and The National WWII Museum. Slated to open in 2021, the 13,000-square- foot space in downtown New Orleans will illustrate Jewish life across 13 states.
DR. GIOVANNI PIEDIMONTE, a distinguished pediatric pulmonologist, joined Tulane in Fall 2019 as the new Vice President for Research. He previously served in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, where he held the Steven and Nancy Calabrese Endowed Chair for Excellence in Pediatric Care.
Piedimonte plans to foster collaboration among researchers whose worlds may look distant. It is synergy that he’s hoping will be sparked. From his three decades doing research, he is convinced that great research comes from the combination of experiences that are as different as possible. His primary goal is to bring together people with different talent, backgrounds and knowledge to answer the questions that cannot be answered by the individual specialties.
Piedimonte’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 30 years, and he has been principal investigator or co-investigator on more than 40 research projects. As an administrator, he’ll lead the research enterprise at Tulane, which received $137 million in funding for sponsored projects from the NIH and other external agencies in fiscal year 2018. He will also continue his own NIH-funded research at Tulane, bringing his investigations that involve biomedical engineering, environmental studies and infectious disease research, as well as medicine, to the interdisciplinary setting at Tulane.
Tulane University researchers are part of a team of scientists who have developed a hybrid solar energy converter that generates electricity and steam with high efficiency and low cost. The work led by MATTHEW ESCARRA, associate professor of physics and engineering physics at Tulane, and Daniel Codd, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of San Diego, is the culmination of a U.S. Department of Energy project that began in 2014 with $3.3 million in funding. The hybrid converter generates electricity from high efficiency multi-junction solar cells that also redirect infrared rays of sunlight to a thermal receiver, which converts those rays to thermal energy.
Tulane University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library acquired the complete archives of famed best-selling New Orleans author Anne Rice thanks to a gift from Stuart Rose and the Stuart Rose Family Foundation. Born and raised in New Orleans — the setting of her most famous books — Rice is the author of 30 novels with more than 100 million copies sold, placing her among the most popular authors in recent American history. Rice’s work has included gothic and erotic fiction, as well as Christian literature, but she is best known for her novels in vampire and supernatural fiction.
Through their special collections, Tulane’s libraries preserve the unique culture and history of the city of New Orleans and the Gulf South Region. The Anne Rice Archives will join the literary papers of John Kennedy Toole, Lafcadio Hearn, George Washington Cable and other authors with strong ties to New Orleans, along with many other collections relating to local history, music and architecture.
Few authors have received as much attention during the COVID-19 pandemic than historian JOHN M. BARRY, adjunct professor at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He and his book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004) have been referenced by countless media outlets over the course of the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and he has written three opinions published in The New York Times. Bill Gates, in his popular blog “GatesNotes,” wrote of The Great Influenza, “I’m glad I read it. It’s one of several books that made it clear to me that the world needed to do a better job of preparing for novel pathogens.”