The LA CaTS Pilot Grants Program is pleased to announce the awardees of the Round 12 Multi-Institutional Pilot Grants Funding Opportunities. The goal is to develop collaborative research that results in highly significant preliminary data that can be used to compete for large multi-institutional or multi-PI federal grants, such as center planning grants, center grants, or program project grants. Abstracts for each project can be found on our Pilot Projects page: /research-funding/pilot-projects/.

Congratulations to the following awardees:

Rajesh Mohandas
Rajesh Mohandas, MD
LSU Health New Orleans

Prasad Katakam
Prasad Katakam, MD, PhD
Tulane University

Cerebral Microvascular Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation - A Novel Mechanism Mediating Cardiovascular Risk in Chronic Kidney Disease

Louisiana ranks 4th in the country for deaths from chronic kidney disease (CKD). We hypothesize that this excess mortality is due to increased sympathetic nerve activity (SNA), neuroinflammation, and cerebral microvascular dysfunction. We will test our hypothesis by the following specific aims 1) Investigate the extent to which microglial activation mediates excess SNA in CKD: Our hypothesis predicts that depletion of microglia will attenuate neuroinflammation and excess SNA in mice with CKD. 2) Determine the mechanism by which microglia and neuronal signaling pathways synergize to induce neuroinflammation: We will use scRNA-seq to identify pathogenic interactions between microglia and neurons 3) Determine the molecular mediators of cerebral microvascular dysfunction in CKD We will combine seahorse technology and proteomics to identify defects in brain microvascular cells from mice with CKD. These studies will firmly establish the novel role of neuroinflammation in CKD and pave the way for new drug discovery.

Eric Ravussin
Eric Ravussin, PhD

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Franck Mauvais-Jarvis
Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, MD, PhD
Tulane University

Experimental approach to test predictions of body weight regulation models

The regulation of human body weight and fatness is not fully understood. Although some models of regulation have been proposed (set point, dual-intervention point, others), no studies have been designed to test their predictions. In this pilot and feasibility study, we will implement an experimental approach to test the predictions of models of body weight regulation in humans. Men and women with either underweight or obesity will be exposed to a 2-day fasting followed by a 2-day ad-libitum refeeding. During the entire fasting-refeeding period, energy intake and expenditure will be accurately measured within metabolic chambers. We will therefore determine the compensatory responses to fasting elicited to prevent weight loss. The results will serve to design and power future studies to better understand body weight regulation.