Tulane University Translational Science Institute (TUTSI)

Pilot Research Projects

Feasibility of Spectral Photoacoustic Imaging for Clinical Monitoring of Preeclampsia

Project Lead: Carolyn Bayer, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering)

This project addresses key barriers to clinical translation of placental functional imaging tools and methods, and demonstrate feasibility of the method for human clinical translation. Development of systems for human placental imaging will provide a key technology to link placental function with therapeutic efficacy. The project will pursue two specific aims: 1) the development of methods to image in vivo placental oxygen changes in response to therapy; and 2) the evaluation of the feasibility of photoacoustic imaging for human clinical translation.

Effects of Metabolites on Dietary Protein-Related Reductions in Blood Pressure

Project Lead: Joshua D. Bundy, PhD, MPH (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology)

This pilot project aims to identify novel metabolomic mechanisms underpinning the effects of soy and milk protein supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids, and novel cardiovascular risk factors among participants of a crossover randomized dietary intervention trial. This study will provide preliminary data directly relevant to follow-up investigations, including targeted, absolute metabolite quantification and further
exploitation for innovative, scalable interventions targeting primordial prevention and elimination of CVD.

Brain Leptin Receptors Regulate Blood Pressure of Intrauterine Growth Restricted Mice

Project Lead: Suttira “Joy” Intapad, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology)

This project addresses the mechanisms that contribute to the development of hypertension in a mouse model of low birth weight. Understanding the pathways involved in the developmental programming of high blood pressure will be instrumental in the clinical prevention and management of blood pressure in individuals exposed to complications during pregnancy.

Monogenic Diabetes Related Genes and Diabetes Phenotype in the General Population

Project Lead: Changwei Li, MD, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology)

This study is examining associations of previously reported monogenic diabetes mutations with diabetes phenotypes in the general population, and aims to identify novel loss-of-function variants in monogenic diabetes related genes for diabetes phenotypes. It is also evaluating whether genetic background and traditional risk factors for diabetes modify the effect of monogenic diabetes mutations on diabetes phenotypes. Finally, it aims to explore functional roles of the identified mutations and genes in pancreatic beta-cell function and insulin resistance using state-of-the-art bioinformatics tools.