FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It’s been nearly 30 years since we opened
the doors at Pennington Biomedical.
Throughout the decades, we have
not wavered in our effort to make a
difference toward our goal to improve
health outcomes for people burdened with
chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes
and dementia, and others. Our mission is
clear – we’re here to improve health through research, collaboration and
discovery – and our work is making an impact on populations at home
and around the world.
Our research is translational. From the minute an idea or research
question forms in the laboratory, we start thinking about how that
discovery can help people in need. Ideas that begin in our laboratories are
destined for rigorous testing in a clinical setting and eventually, hopefully,
into the population. Pennington Biomedical houses some of the world’s
best laboratory facilities, equipment and clinics. This allows us to conduct
research that involves multiple disciplines and across the human life span.
Through our research, we are:
• understanding basic mechanisms of disease development;
• evaluating individual response to nutrition and medical interventions;
• evaluating studies to determine the impact on infant and maternal
• helping kids find new and innovative ways to get and stay healthy;
• engaging families to combat the obesity epidemic;
• helping to develop key obesity and diabetes medications;
• continuing to test and evaluate novel treatments for disease;
• working to optimize military performance;
• aiming to enable and promote optimal aging, including a search for
solutions and treatments to dementia and other cognitive problems.
We are home to four deeply rooted collaborative center grants funded
by the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s most prestigious federal
funding agency. Our NIH centers are focused on the prevalent conditions
affecting our population such as diabetes and obesity. This sort of federal
funding supports our faculty, funds pilot grants, trains the next generation
of scientists, enhances student education and advances science. The
progress of these centers, many of which are in their second and third
grant renewal cycles, is an outstanding testament to the caliber of work
we have underway. We are also home to a center of excellence focused on
dementia that is a designated Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study site.
Our scientists are among the most productive, sought after, and cited
researchers in the world. In our nearly three decades, more than 5,348
publications have been attributed to Pennington Biomedical scientists.
Our ratio of faculty to federal funding remains strong.
Despite great success, we are always looking for ways to improve. In 2015,
an outside consultant reviewed our business plan and our resources. Their
conclusion: we remain an economic development engine for Baton Rouge
and for the State of Louisiana, and in order to continue our progress we
must maintain a critical mass of investigators. The consultants affirmed
that there is minimal opportunity to improve our finances by reducing our
headcount of research and administrative staff. Rather, they noted that we
need a stable source of funding beyond traditional grants to support long-
term viability. Toward that end we are looking at creative and innovative
solutions to provide new revenue sources to support our research. The
consultants also noted that we need to expand our research portfolio to
emphasize growth in clinical and population sciences, while continuing
to invest in strategic priorities within basic science. Overall, their analysis
supported our goals and affirmed that we are on a solid path forward.
This focused internal review has informed our blueprint for the future and
we have identified priorities – both scientific and administrative – over
the next five years to help us realize these plans and enable sustained