INSIDE RESEARCH @ LSUHS  |  2021 • volume 1

FROM THE VICE CHANCELLOR FOR RESEARCH
Chris Kevil photo

Chris Kevil, PhD
Vice Chancellor for Research

For more than a year LSU Health Shreveport has been in the vanguard, leading Louisiana and much of the nation as our faculty scientists and physician specialists collaborate against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Our entire team has been humbled by the national and international acknowledgement of LSU Health Shreveport’s leadership contributions to a better understanding of the virus as well as in development of effective treatments.

While we are proud of these amazing accomplishments, the best is yet to come. Many other research advancements have also occurred at LSU Health Shreveport during this time outside of COVID-19 that set us on a strong trajectory for future growth in the coming months and years. Importantly, research from our centers and faculty laboratories across our campus, and in clinical trials, are thriving throughout north Louisiana and are leading to new successful commercialization efforts derived from US and international patents based on these accomplishments. I invite you to learn the latest about your LSU Health Shreveport’s research highlighted in this edition of Inside: Research.

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LSU Health Shreveport CENTERS

A select number of academic programs earn the designation as a Center of Excellence by the Louisiana Board of Regents. Centers of Excellence must demonstrate statewide leadership in their area of designation and be a hallmark for the institution. The selected centers share a strong performance record, concentration on an area relevant to the state’s needs, a range of academic, training and research opportunities, engagement with the greater community, and a focus on issues and opportunities that improve the quality of life of Louisiana citizens. Four LSU Health Shreveport centers have earned this distinction: Feist-Weiller Cancer Center of Excellence, the Center of Excellence for Arthritis and Rheumatology, the Center for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences and the Center of Emerging Viral Threats.

In addition to the six Louisiana Board of Regents and LSU Board of Supervisors approved Centers,
LSU Health Shreveport has three National Institutes of Health (NIH) Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE).

LSUHS supports community through COVID-19 PREVENTION EFFORTS

Community Testing and COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

LSU Health Shreveport continues COVID-19 testing, while simultaneously offering large scale vaccine clinics and leading Louisiana in sequencing the virus from positive test samples. Testing and vaccine sites are located throughout Northwest Louisiana—including Minden, Monroe, Ruston and rural outlying cities like Tallulah. A concerted effort has been made to deliver testing and vaccines regardless of the ability to register or travel far outside of one’s home as “access for all” has been a guiding principle for the delivery these services.

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GENOME SEQUENCING by the CEVT

The Center Of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats is working alongside national and international organizations to make a meaningful impact on the genomic sequencing of COVID-19. Sequencing enables genomic epidemiology work, such as contact tracing, as well as the detection of novel variants. Genetic sequencing data is essential to determining if vaccines are effective against the latest variants currently in circulation.

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IDENTIFICATION OF NEW COVID-19 VARIANTS

As the more contagious variants identified originally in the UK and South Africa swept across the US, many feared the impact of viral mutations. Variants of the COVID-19 virus were being identified through genomic surveillance performed by the CEVT. Mutations are typically found on the spike protein, which are arm-like structures protruding from the virus. Sequencing can help slow the spread of the virus because by revealing the geographic origins of the virus and providing insights on how the virus is transmitted throughout communities.

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LSU Health Shreveport RESEARCH GRANTS

LSU Health Shreveport SPOTLIGHTS

New Faculty Spotlight

Associate Professor, Dr. Changwon Park is a new addition to the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. The major effort of his lab is to decipher the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms as to the successful generation of the cardiovascular constituents, namely endothelial, endocardium, cardiomyocytes, and hematopoietic cells that share the multipotent cardiovascular progenitors, FLK1 (also known as VEGFR2) expressing cells.

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Student SPOTLIGHT

Sarahbeth Howes is a third year medical student, a childhood cancer survivor, a fitness enthusiast, and a tissue donor to the St. Jude Biorepository. Because of her ongoing contribution to the research conducted by the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP), scientists are creating breakthroughs in our understanding of the genetic factors that directly influence rare childhood cancers.

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New Equipment ADDITIONS

to the RESEARCH CORE FACILITY push scientific research forward

Recently, the Research Core Facility acquired three new pieces of research equipment that are now available to researchers at LSU Health Shreveport. This equipment will enhance biomedical research on campus and help investigators remain competitive when seeking extramural funding.

Research NEWS

HONORS and APPOINTMENTS

TOP STORIES

Changwon Park, PhD

New Faculty SPOTLIGHT

TOP STORIES

TESTING, VACCINATIONS, and GENOME SEQUENCING

LSUHS supports community through COVID-19 Prevention Efforts

TOP STORIES

New Equipment Additions

Research CORE Facility pushing scientific research forward