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Administration Basic Sciences Clinical Sciences Centers of Excellence

Daniel R. Kapusta, Ph.D., FAHA


COBRE Principal Investigator and Director

Department of Pharmacology, Anesthesiology, and the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence

LSUHSC – New Orleans


Dr. Kapusta, is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) project entitled “Mentoring in Cardiovascular Biology” (P20GM103514: previously P20 RR018766). 


Dr. Kapusta received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Louisiana State University Medical Center in 1986. He then trained from 1987-1990 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nephrology, at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. In 1991 he was recruited to the Department of Pharmacology at LSUHSC-NO. Dr. Kapusta is trained in the physiology and pharmacology of the cardiovascular, autonomic and kidney systems. Using an integrated system approach, he has focused on understanding how neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and neurohumoral mechanisms participate in the central nervous system control of cardiovascular and renal function in normal and pathological conditions. He has published 52 scientific papers and 2 review articles and serves as a scientific reviewer for a number of high quality national and international peer reviewed journals. Dr. Kapusta has an extensive background in the development of novel therapeutic agents referred to as ‘water diuretics (aquaretics)’ which are being developed for the prevention of water retention and hyponatremia in vasopressin excess states (congestive heart failure, cirrhosis with ascites, acute renal failure).


The research he has conducted has led to the issue of 3 US and international patents that focus on novel compounds to prevent 1) acute tubular necrosis caused by the hemorrhagic trauma, surgery and/or anesthesia and 2) prevention of hyponatremia and water retention in pathological vasopressin excess states. Dr. Kapusta has participated extensively in the American Heart Association, Southeast Affiliate grant study section and has served on a NIH Special Emphasis Panel. Dr. Kapusta has organized and chaired minisymposium at national scientific meetings.


Dr. Kapusta has an established record of mentoring faculty and students in the laboratory and has also served as the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Pharmacology (8/1994-8/1999). Dr. Kapusta’s excellence in teaching at the university was also recognized by his receipt of the “Aesculapian Society Excellence in Teaching Award” (2007, 2010 and 2013) and the “Allen C. Copping Award” (2007), the latter being the highest teaching award that is presented annually to a faculty member at LSUHSC by the Chancellor.


In regards to the COBRE project, Dr. Kapusta is responsible for overseeing all aspects and operations of this program including protecting the interests of this Center at the level of the University and State. He coordinates activities with collaborating institutions (e.g., Tulane Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Ochsner Clinic Foundation) and is the contact person at LSUHSC responsible for communication and reports between the Institute and NIH NCRR. Dr. Kapusta is responsible for preparation and dissemination of files/reports regarding the COBRE program exchanged between the Directors, External and Internal Advisory Committee. A unique aspect of this COBRE project is that Dr. Kapusta has established a tailored mentoring approach in which each of the COBRE Junior Investigators is individually paired with 3 established and funded investigators at LSUHSC whose basic science/clinical research program closely matches that of the Junior Investigator. The goal of the mentoring team is to monitor the Junior Investigator’s scientific research progress and provide them with critical support and advice that will facilitate them in becoming an NIH funded investigator. The mentoring team also consists of at least one senior faculty member who oversees the Junior Investigator’s academic career progress.  In addition to his directorship duties, Dr. Kapusta also serves as a mentor and a role model for the COBRE Junior and Developing investigators and the mentors. 


Co-Program Director:

Patrice Delafontaine, M.D.
Tulane University School of Medicine
Sidney W. and Marilyn S. Lassen Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Chief, Section of Cardiology
Director, Tulane Cardiovascular Center of Excellence
Director, Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute
Professor of Physiology, Tulane University 

Patrice Delafontaine, MD is the Marilyn and Sidney Lassen Professor of Medicine and currently serves as the Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute at Tulane University School of Medicine as well as Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services at Tulane University Hospital and Clinic (TUHC).  Dr. Delafontaine is board certified in cardiovascular diseases, a practicing interventional cardiologist and an established world authority on the cardiovascular insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) system.  His groundbreaking studies in this area led to the recognition that pro-atherogenic stimuli interact with the vascular IGF-1 system leading to increased apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle and progressive plaque destabilization.  These findings have provided novel insights into mechanism of plaque development and progression and mechanisms triggering acute coronary events.  Dr. Delafontaine was also the first to establish the critical link between the renin-angiotensin system and the IGF-1 system.  In landmark studies, starting in 1996 he was the first to demonstrate that stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system was associated with significant skeletal muscle wasting that could be linked to alterations in the circulating and skeletal muscle IGF-1 system.  These studies have provided major new insights into mechanisms of muscle wasting in catabolic conditions.  Dr. Delafontaine’s work encompasses basic bench science, animal studies and clinical translational research.  His research includes genomic and proteomic analysis of atherosclerotic plaque, signaling mechanisms involved in atherogenesis, the role of insulin-like growth factors in vascular and cardiac disease, and mechanisms of skeletal muscle wasting.  Dr. Delafontaine’s research has been continuously funded by the NIH for over 18 years and he is currently PI of two RO1s funded by NHLBI.  He has an extensive record of training and mentoring medical students, residents and junior faculty.  He currently Co-director of the LSUHSC NIH COBRE grant (P20-RR018766) funded program entitled “Mentoring in Cardiovascular Biology”.

The project described was supported by grants from the National Center for Research Resources (5 P20 RR018766-09) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (8 P20 GM103514-10) from the National Institutes of Health and this page's contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily report the official view of NIGMS or NIH.