History of the CCDS
Upon his death in February 1985, Malcolm Weiller Feist, a prominent Shreveport attorney, donated his estate to the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport for the explicit purpose of supporting “research in cardiovascular diseases.” LSU Health Shreveport created an endowment from the estate. The interest revenue from this endowment has been used to fund small research projects, shared major equipment and startup packages for faculty with research programs in the cardiovascular area. In 2003, then Chancellor John McDonald established a Board of Directors to oversee the expenditure of funds from the Malcolm Feist Cardiovascular endowment. Led by Dr. Neil Granger, the Board’s overall objective was to promote growth and enhance the quality of research, education, and patient care related to cardiovascular disease on the LSU Health Shreveport campus. The Board of Directors leveraged the income from the Malcolm Feist estate towards actively pursuing these goals.
In 2013, efforts from Dr. Granger and Dr. Christopher Kevil led to the establishment of the Center for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences (CCDS) by the Louisiana Board of Regents, and Dr. Kevil was appointed as the first CCDS Director. In 2016, the leadership of the CCDS expanded to include Dr. A. Wayne Orr (Assistant Director for Professional Development), Dr. Karen Stokes (Assistant Director for Scientific Excellence), and Dr. Paari Dominic (Assistant Director for Clinical and Translational Research). Upon Dr. Kevil’s promotion to Vice Chancellor for Research in 2017, Dr. Orr assumed the role of CCDS Director. Over the past several years, the CCDS has utilized the Malcolm Feist endowment to grow cardiovascular research through intramural grants and fellowships, support for training in cardiovascular disease research, enhancing core facilities, and supporting startup packages for faculty recruitment. In 2018, a group of CCDS investigators led by Dr. Kevil was awarded an NIH grant to establish the COBRE Center for Redox Biology and Cardiovascular Disease. This grant mechanism provides significant support for junior faculty in pursuit of their first independent NIH grant, as well as state-of-the-art core facilities for the study of redox signaling, vascular cell biology, and animal phenotyping. Through this COBRE and the substantial funds now generated from the Feist endowment, the CCDS is poised to significantly expand cardiovascular research by investing in successful existing research programs and by developing new programs that complement existing strengths and facilitate the recruitment of clinical and basic science faculty with specializations in areas related to cardiovascular disease.
At the February 2019 Board of Regents meeting, the board unanimously approved the continuation of the CCDS as a newly designated Center of Excellence, recognizing the CCDS as a statewide leader for cardiovascular research and innovation. The CCDS Center of Excellence is the third on the LSU Health Shreveport Campus joining the Feist Weiller Cancer Center (FWCC) of the Center of Excellence in Arthritis and Rheumatology (CEAR). In July of 2021, Dr. Paari Dominic stepped down and Dr. Tarek Helmy took his place as the CCDS Assistant Director for Clinical and Translational Research.