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CONGRATULATIONS to Rajeev Rudraraju of Dr. Alistair Ramsay's lab on earning his PhD (Microbiology). Rajeev has accepted a postdoctoral position at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.
Welcome to the Gene Therapy Program at LSU Health Sciences Center
The Program, established in 2000, is an integral component of the Louisiana Gene Therapy Research Consortium (LGTRC), interacting extensively with partner programs at LSU-Shreveport and Tulane. Our mission is to develop novel therapies and preventives for human disease based on high caliber research and development. One of our major research strategies is vector-mediated gene delivery, either for replacement of "missing" genes or via modulation of immune function through delivery of vaccine antigens or immune response modifiers, or for alteration of immune cell function. There is also considerable emphasis on stem cell-based therapies, including combinations of vector and cell-based approaches.
Our current research programs use these and related technologies to focus on cancer, infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and neurodegenerative disorders, all underpinned by innovative programs in vector development, gene discovery, and clarification of underlying disease mechanisms. Faculty members have been highly successful in generating external funds to support these projects with over $43 million in grants and contracts won since 2000, primarily from the National Institutes of Health but also from Private Foundations and Industry.
The Program is situated in 10,000 square feet of space, mostly on the 6th floor of the Clinical Sciences Building. While co-located within this space, Gene Therapy Faculty members have primary appointments in Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology or Genetics and we collaborate extensively with other researchers in these Departments and in the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and the Neuroscience Center. We maintain state-of-the-art Core Laboratories in morphology & imaging, microarray & bioinformatics, and vector development that serve both Program staff and external researchers. We also support Core labs in Immunology, Genomics, and Proteomics. To support the development and conduct of clinical trials, the LGTRC is currently building a clinical manufacturing facility for manufacture of GMP grade gene and cell-based therapeutics. When completed, this facility will form a key component of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.
In addition to our research and development enterprise, we foster a dynamic education program through mentoring of postgraduate students and postdoctoral trainees, extramural course development, participation in an LGTRC-sponsored Summer School for college students, and our Graduate School course: Molecular Medicine in Disease.
In bringing together researchers, trainees, and support staff under the auspices of the LSU Health Sciences Center and the LGTRC, the Gene Therapy Program has a unique role to play in the development of novel gene-based approaches for a variety of diseases through cutting edge fundamental and translational research.