centers and research


Research Projects


Cardiovascular/Renal Disease

Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT)

A NIH supported community based factorial trial designed to test (1) the effectiveness of four first-step anti-hypertensive drug regimens in reducing coronary heart disease, and (2) the effectiveness of a lipid-lowering regimen to reduce all-cause mortality.

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The Role of Vascular Aging in Cognitive and Physical Function

With more than 88 million Americans over 65 years and more than 19 million over 85 years old projected in the next 30 years, maintaining optimal health, both physical and cognitive, throughout the aging process is critical to minimize health care costs and morbidity and mortality associated with disease of aging.  This study links vascular risk factors across the life span and subclinical vascular measures in early middle age with cognitive and physical performance in later middle age. In doing so, the goal is to identify risk factors, timing and sub-populations for intervention that could reduce the incidence of cognitive and physical decline in old age and improve the rate of successful aging for persons across the nation and world-wide.


The Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study

The CRIC was established in 2001 by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to improve the understanding of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and related cardiovascular disease. The study's goals are:  1. to examine risk factors for progression of CKD and cardiovascular disease; 2. to develop models that identify high-risk subgroups; and 3. to assist in the development of treatment trials and therapies.

The Genetic Epidemiology Network of Salt Sensitivity (GenSalt) Study

The GenSalt Study is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored family-based dietary feeding study aimed to identify genetic variants which determine individuals' blood pressure responses to dietary sodium and potassium intervention and the the cold pressor test.  Identifying novel genetic variants for salt-sensitivity, potassium sensitivity, and hyperreactivity of blood pressure will help to identify individuals at high risk for hypertension for targeted interventions and enable the discovery of new pharmaceutical treatment for hypertension.

Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT)

The CIRT is a major new randomized trial sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. CIRT will directly test whether a common anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (low dose methotrexate) can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in patients who have suffered a prior heart attack or have major blockages in more than one coronary artery found on heart catheretization.

Urinary Angiotensin Excretion and Salt-Sensitivity of Blood Pressure

The overall objective of this study is to investigate the association of the urinary excretion of angiotensinogen, kallikrein, dopamine, norepinephrine, and albumin with salt-sensitivity and potassium sensitivity of blood pressure and risk of hypertension.

Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT)

The SPRINT is a National Institutes of Health-supported 2-arm, multicenter, randomized clinical trial designed to test whether a treatment program aimed at reducing systolic blood pressure to a lower goal (<120 mm Hg) than currently recommended (<140 mm Hg) will reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Hypertension Control Program in Argentina (HCPIA)

The HCPIA Trial is a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored cluster randomized trial to test whether a comprehensive intervention program within a national public primary care system will improve hypertension control in under-served patients in Argentina.

The China Antihypertensive Trial in Acute Ischemic Stroke (CATIS)

The CATIS is a multicenter randomized controlled trial designed to test whether moderate lowering of blood pressure within the first 48 hours after the onset of an acute ischemic stroke would reduce death and major disability at 14 days or hospital discharge.  In addition, the CATIS evaluates the effects of antihypertensive treatment during the acute phase of ischemic stroke on long-term mortality, major disability, and vascular events, as assessed at post-treatment follow-up visits at 3, 12, and 24 months.


Childhood Secondhand Smoke and Longitudinal Cardiovascular Risk Profile

Evolution of Cardiovascular Risk with Normal Aging 

The specific aim of this study is to characterize traits (intrinsic aging vs. the risk factor burden) in a population reaching middle age that influence the subclinical cardiovascular disease process in normal aging.


Infectious Disease

The Epidemiology of T. Cruzi and HIV-T. Cruzi Infection among Participants in NISDI

The goal of this project is to estimate the prevalence and characteristics associated with T. cruzi infection among women and children.

Trichomonas Vaginalis Repeat Infections among HIV Negative Women

This is a multi-centered RCT, funded by NIAID, to examine the origin of repeat Trichomonas vaginalis (TV) infections. We are examining two different doses of metronidazole for the treatment of TV, genotyping the organism and conducting medication susceptibility testing.  Clinical sites include University of Alabama, University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University.  The ultimate goal is improved reproductive health for women, particularly minority women, and the reduction of the potential for HIV transmission, fitting well with NIAID's mission.


Genetic Epidemiology

Telomere Attrition and Diabetes Risk in American Indians

The objective of this study is to investigate the prospective association of telomere attrition and diabetes risk in American Indians participating in the Strong Heart Study (SHS).


Epigenetic Determinants of Major Depression: a Monozygotic Discordant Twin Study

The goal of this project is to identify functional epigenetic determinants for major depression using monozygotic discordant twin pairs in the University of Washington Twin Registry.


A Multi-Ethnic Study of Gene-Lifestyle Interactions in Cardiovascular Traits

The primary goal of this research is to leverage existing GWAS and Exome Chip data in 25 large multi-ethnic cohorts to discover additional genetic loci for cardiovascular traits by modeling gene-lifestyle interactions, using pleiotropy analysis of correlated traits, and pathway analysis.  The investigation is being carried out in 150,765 samples of European Americans, African Americans, and Asians.


Family Based Cardiovascular Disease Gene-centric Association Study of Blood Pressure Salt-Sensitivity

The overall objective of this study is to identify genes and rare variants that influence blood pressure (BP) responses to dietary salt intake.  A large-scale candidate gene study was conducted using common variants previously genotyped on the Affymetrix 6.0 platform.  Promising genes were subsequently resequenced and analyses are being conducted to identify rare variants which may influence salt-sensitivity phenotypes.

 A Genome-wide Approach for Identifying Genetic Variants that Interact with Body Mass Index to Influence Blood Pressure

The overall objective of this project is to identify novel genomic loci which interact with body mass index to determine blood pressure using a large scale meta-analysis of 15 genome-wide association studies which include more than 30,000 subjects from East Asia.  This study may provide important insights into the biological pathways underlying blood pressure regulation and help to identify individuals who may reduce blood pressure more effectively through weight control or weight loss.


Mobile Elements and Recombination


Next-Generation Resequencing of Novel Loci for Ischemic Stroke


Reproductive Epidemiology and Maternal/Child Health

Transdisciplinary Research Consortium for Gulf Resistance on Women's Health (GROWH)

Pregnant women and mothers may be especially vulnerable to the effects of disaster.  Women who experience stress during their pregnancy and who have depression or other mental health problems are at increased risk for pregnancy and birth complications.  Some environmental contaminants have also been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.  Our hypothesis is that multiple social adversities will interact with environmental adversity to worsen health outcomes - in other words, a difficult social environment and a difficult physical environment will exacerbate each other.


Long-Term Burden of Maternal Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Birth Outcomes (Bogalusa Babies)

The goal of the study is to determine how preconception cardiovascular risk factors related to birth outcomes, particularly birthweight and gestational age. The Bogalusa Heart Study has information on cardiovascular risk factors among children and young adults, and pregnancy information is being collected from vital statistics, interview of participants, and medical records review.

 Vaginal microbiota phylotypes during pregnancy (VAMP)  

Vaginal infections and the corresponding inflammation have been implicated as causes of preterm birth.  Recent studies show that alterations in the composition of the microbiota of the human body are not only associated with disease, but these same altered communities can cause symptoms of disease in health subjects.  The objective of this study is to characterize the vaginal microbiota during pregnancy and to relate phylotypes to known risk factors for preterm birth.


Use of Mouth Rinse to Improve Birth and Neonatal Outcomes in China

The main objective of this randomized controlled trial is to develop and test a "Mouth Rinse Invervention" among women during the perinatal period to reduce adverse birth defects and neonatal outcomes in a rural county, China.  A total of 480 pregnant women with periodontal disease will be recruited and randomized into "mouthwash group" and "control group".  After delivery, newborns outcomes will be compared between these two groups to examine if use of anti-septic mouth rinse reduces adverse pregnancy outcomes.



Environmental Epidemiology

Integrated Pest Management for the Control of Multiple Cockroach Species (NICHE)

The Green Housing Study:  New Orleans


Other Research Projects

Developing a Community Play Index


Department of Epidemiology, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2000, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-6809