Flavia M. Souza-Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor of Research

533 Bolivar Street, Room 310
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 568-6179
Fax: (504) 568-6179


  • BS - 2002, Physical Therapy, Brazil
  • MS  - 2004, Physiology, Brazil
  • PhD - 2009, Physiology Brazil;  Pharmacology, LSUHSC - NO



Flavia Souza-Smith received a bachelor’s in Physical and Respiratory Therapies from EMESCAM University in Brazil. She received her master’s and PhD in Physiological Sciences from the Federal University of Espirito Santo, Brazil, but performed her PhD research in the Department of Pharmacology at LSUHSC. In 2009, she joined the Department of Physiology at LSUHSC as a postdoctoral fellow.  After completing her fellowship, she was hired as an instructor of physiology and has since been promoted to the rank of assistant professor. Flavia’s PhD research focused on vascular remodeling in diabetes and her postdoctoral studies focused on alcohol effects on lymphatic myogenic response and measurements of isolated lymphatic cytosolic calcium. As an instructor, her focus was lymphatic vessel hyperpermeability following alcohol intoxication, as well as the metabolic consequences of the interaction between mesenteric lymphatic vessel leakage and perilymphatic adipose tissue.

Research Interests

Research focus on the physiology and pathophysiology of digestive lymphatic function and permeability, lymphatic-perilymphatic adipose tissue immune crosstalk and metabolic consequences, and immunometabolism in adipose tissue. Particularly, she aims to understand the mechanisms of alcohol-mediated disruption of mesenteric lymphatic transport, lymphatic leakage, and the consequent alterations in perilymphatic adipose tissue (PLAT) functional phenotype. Specifically, the focus is on how alcohol disrupts lymphatic integrity leading to lymphatic leakage of immune cells into PLAT and the role of the PLAT immune cells on immunometabolism. Using alcohol administration models, molecular biology techniques, cell culture, and high-end surgical techniques, her major goal is to provide new insights into the pathological mechanisms of alcohol-induced insulin resistance and to bring a novel approach that will link lymphatic function and PLAT with alcohol immunomodulation. Other research interests are the the mechanisms of gonadal hormone loss and high fat diet on lymphatic leakage and the metabolic consequences and the contribution of nutrient-mediated immune cell dyshomeostasis on adipocyte metabolic capacity.

Teaching Activities

Gastrointestinal Physiology – Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Programs, Nursing Program Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology (Course director/Co-Director) – Nursing Program 

Committees & Administrative Responsibilities

  • National – Award Committee, Microcirculatory Society, 2015-2016                                        
  • Conference Organizing Committee, National Hispanic Science Network, 2015-Present                            
  • Institutional – Wellness Committee, School of Medicine LSUHSC, 2018-Present                                
  • Wellbeing Committee, Physiology Department LSUHSC, 2018-Present                                        
  • Organizer of the Perspectives Against Racism Summer Program, Physiology Department LSUHSC, 2020                                                                  
  • Organizer of the Summer Research Program, Physiology Department LSUHSC, 2016-Present    
  • Organizer of the Outreach Science Fest Committee on Youth Alcohol Abuse, 2015

Selected Publications

Souza-Smith FM, Kurtz KM, Molina PE, Breslin JW. Adaptation of Mesenteric Collecting Lymphatic Pump Function Following Acute Alcohol Intoxication. Microcirculation. 2010 Oct; 17:514-524. PMID: 21040117

Souza-Smith FM, Katz PS, Trask AJ, Stewart JA, Lord KC, Varner KJ, Vassallo DV, Lucchesi PA. Mesenteric resistance arteries in type 2 diabetic mice undergo outward remodeling. PLoS One. 2011 Aug; 6(8):e23337. PMID: 21829729

Souza-Smith FM, Kurtz KM, Breslin JW. Measurement of cytosolic Ca2+ in isolated contractile lymphatics. J Vis Exp. 2011 Dec 8;(58). pii: 3438. doi: 10.3791/3438. PMID: 22214883

Souza-Smith FM, Molina PE, Breslin JW. Reduced RhoA activity mediates acute alcohol intoxication-induced inhibition of lymphatic myogenic constriction despite increased cytosolic [Ca2+]. Microcirculation. 2013 Jul; 20(5):377-84. PMID: 23237297

Molina, PA, Gardner JD, Souza-Smith FM, Whitaker AM. Alcohol abuse; critical pathophysiological processes & contribution to disease burden. Physiology (Bethesda). 2014 May;29(3):203-15. PMID: 24789985             

Souza-Smith FM, Kerut EK, Breslin JW, Molina PE. Mechanisms of Acute Alcohol Intoxication-Induced Modulation of Cyclic Mobilization of [Ca2+] in Rat Mesenteric Lymphatic Vessels. Lymphat Res Biol. 2015 Jun;13(2):93-9 PMID: 26056854

Souza-Smith FM, Siggins RW, Molina PE. Mesenteric lymphatic-perilymphatic adipose crosstalk; role in alcohol-induced perilymphatic adipose tissue inflammation. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2015 Aug;39(8):1380-7 PMID: 26147204

Molina PE, Dodd T, Ford S, Katz PS, Maxi J, Mayeux J, Simon L, Souza-Smith FM, Teng S. Alcohol - Burden on Immunity following burn, hemorrhagic shock or traumatic brain injury. Alcohol Res. 2015;37(2):263-78 PMID: 26695749 

Souza-Smith FM, Ford SM, Simon L, Molina PE. Repeated Binge-Like Alcohol Intoxication: Depot Specific Adipose Tissue Immuno-Metabolic Dysregulation. Shock. 2017 Aug;48(2):243-250. PMID: 28125531

Poret J, Souza-Smith F, Marcell S, Gaudet D, Tzeng T, Braymer H, Harrison-Bernard L, Primeaux S. High fat diet consumption differentially affects adipose tissue inflammation and adipocyte size in obesity-prone and obesity-resistant rats. Int J Obes (Lond), Mar 2018. PMID: 29151595

Poret J, Battle C, Mouton A, Gaudet D, Dowling T, Souza-Smith F, Gardner J, Braymer H, Harrison-Bernard L, Primeaux S. The prevalence of cardio-metabolic risk factors is differentially elevated in obesity-prone Osborne-Mendel and obesity-resistant S5B/Pl rats. Life Sci. 2019 Apr 15;223:95-101. PMID: 30872180

Souza-Smith FM, Simon L, Siggins R, Molina P. Alcohol-Induced Mesenteric Lymphatic Permeability; Link to Immunometabolic Modulation of Perilymphatic Adipose Tissue. Int. J. Mol. Sci., Aug 2019, 20(17) 4097. PMID: 31443389

Additional Info

Curriculum Vitae

  • Member of Editorial Board, Microcirculation Journal, 2015-2018                                        
  • Associate Editor, Life Sciences Journal, 2019-2021

Center of Excellence

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence, LSUHSC, New Orleans, LA