BATON ROUGE, LA - Four biomedical scientists from New Orleans and Baton Rouge were recently honored by the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center, a statewide initiative funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These "scholar" awards recognize early career clinical and translational research scientists for their work, and provide them with valuable support and mentoring to further develop their careers.

Three faculty researchers were named Roadmap Scholars and one post-doctoral scientist was awarded the Meritorious Scholar distinction.

2015 Roadmap Scholars:

  • Sarah Jolley, MD - LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, "Prevalence and Mechanisms of Critical Illness Myopathy in Patients with Chronic Heavy Alcohol Use"
  • Amanda Staiano, PhD - LSU Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, "Sedentary Behavior, Eating Attitudes, and Weight Gain in Young Adults"
  • Maissaa Janbain, MD - Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, "Adjunctive Antifibrinolytic Therapy with Factor Concentrate Prophylaxis in Patients with Hemophilia A and B"

2015 Meritorious Post-Doctoral Scholar:

  • Elizabeth Martin, PhD - Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, "Decellularized Breast Cancer Extracellular Matrix in the Induction of Tumor Metastatic Recurrence"

"This rigorous scholars program prepares researchers on all fronts for a competitive and fruitful career as an investigator," said Dr. William T. Cefalu, Pennington Biomedical executive director and LA CaTS Center principal investigator. "This program provides first-class hands-on training so that by the time these researchers have completed the program, they have competed for an NIH Career Transition award or similar grant, something that puts them well ahead of their peers as they compete for research funding in the future."

Both awards offer mentorship opportunities, tuition and salary support with the objective of creating scientists who have developed a strong foundation for a career in clinical and translational research that strives to enhance health and well-being. The LA CaTS Center Roadmap Scholar Program supports junior faculty who are working in the field of clinical and translational research, while the Meritorious Post-Doctoral Scholar Program distinguishes researchers with at least two years of post-doctoral training.

"These competitive awards are an important part of the LA CaTS Center and support the NIGMS mission to foster career development of promising junior researchers as they pursue clinical and translational research. We are proud to award the 2015 scholarships to four outstanding female scholars, including two physician researchers," said Dr. Roy Weiner, Schlieder Professor of Medical Oncology and associate dean for clinical research and training at Tulane University School of Medicine.

"This program is a wonderful opportunity for the individuals to launch their careers and for the region to build a remarkable biomedical research enterprise," said Dr. L. Lee Hamm, senior vice president and dean of Tulane University School of Medicine.

"Our scholars are some of the most promising junior faculty within the LA CaTS Center institutions. I am thrilled to be working with such high caliber translational researchers," said Dr. Paula Gregory, director of the faculty development office and professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy at LSU Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in New Orleans.

The scholars program, directed by Dr. Weiner and Dr. Gregory, is the centerpiece of the Clinical Research, Mentoring and Career Development Core of the LA CaTS Center.