Tulane University Translational Science Institute (TUTSI)

Research Projects

Current FJI Projects

A Clinical Trial of Low-Carbohydrate Dietary Pattern on Glycemic Outcomes

Project Lead: Kirsten Dorans, ScD (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology)

Project Summary: The objective of this randomized clinical trial is to examine the effects of a behavioral dietary intervention that promotes a low-carbohydrate diet compared with usual diet in individuals with or at high risk of type 2 diabetes. The primary outcome will be difference in change in a marker of blood sugar in the intervention group compared with the usual diet group over a 6-month period. Secondary outcomes will include other measures of glycemic control and other cardiometabolic risk factors.

Sodium Lowering and Urinary Protein Reduction Trial (SUPER)

Project Lead: Katherine Mills, PhD (Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology)

Project Summary: Proteinuria is an early and sensitive marker of kidney damage. It is also a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression, cardiovascular disease, and death. In previous small clinical trials of short duration, reducing dietary sodium intake was associated with a reduction in proteinuria; however, the association between dietary sodium reduction and proteinuria has not been tested in any large randomized trials. Thus, the aims of this trial are to study the effect of dietary sodium reduction on albuminuria in patients with CKD and determine whether the effect of sodium reduction on albuminuria is different based on race (as there is almost no data on the effects of dietary sodium reduction on CKD in African-American patients).

Metagenomic Analysis of Human Gut Microbiota for Sarcopenia

Project Lead: Hui Shen, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Global Biostatistics And Data Science)

Project Summary: Sarcopenia, the age-associated decrease of skeletal muscle mass and muscle strength, is increasingly recognized as a serious public health problem. Individuals with sarcopenia exhibit impaired balance, increased prevalence of falls, elevated sense of frailty, and reduced independence. The importance of gut microbiota for muscle metabolism has been implicated in animals. However, no study has directly and specifically assessed the significance of gut microbiota for risk to sarcopenia in humans. Hence, this highly innovative metagenome-wide association study (MWAS) on gut microbiota will test whether alterations in the composition and/or activity of the human gut microbiota might be associated with sarcopenia risk; aims to identify gut metagenomic markers significantly associated with sarcopenia risk in humans; and assess potential mechanisms underlying the observed gut microbiome-osteoporosis risk association.

Other Projects


The Implementation of Multifaceted Patient-Centered Treatment Strategies for Intensive Blood Pressure Control (IMPACTS) Study is designed to test the effectiveness of a multifaceted, patient-centered implementation strategy for intensive BP control among low-income hypertensive patients at high risk for CVD and to assess the acceptability, adoption, feasibility, fidelity, and sustainability of the multifaceted implementation strategy in patients, providers, and healthcare systems.


Website –  The Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study was established in 2001 by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to improve our understanding of chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression and related cardiovascular disease. The CRIC Study initially enrolled over 3939 people with CKD who remain in long-term follow-up. Between July 2013 and August 2015, an additional 1560 people with CKD were invited to join the study with an emphasis on older Americans. The focus of the study was modified to emphasize early forms of CKD and the impact of CKD on multiple dimensions of health status. Follow-up of study participants continues at eleven CRIC Study Centers.


Website – The Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) is a multicenter, randomized trial to determine whether treating blood pressure to a target systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg is superior to treating to less than 140 mm Hg, and found that treating to a lower target significantly reduces rates of cardiovascular disease and risk of death in adults 50 years and older with high blood pressure. The SPRINT Alzheimer’s, Seniors, and Kidney Study (SPRINT ASK) is following-up SPRINT participants to determine whether the incidence of all-cause dementia and mild cognitive impairment is reduced in participants in the intensive treatment group compared to those in the standard treatment group.


The Nitrite, Isoquercetin and Endothelial Dysfunction Trial (NICE) trial is an NIH-sponsored pilot trial designed to test the effect of nitrite and isoquercetin combination on endothelial function among patients with CKD.


Website – The Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT) is a randomized trial testing 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.


Website – The Bogalusa Heart Study (BHS) is one of the longest running studies of a biracial, semi-rural community in the South, designed originally to investigate the childhood antecedents of adult cardiovascular disease. Since its beginning in 1972, more than 160 sub studies have been conducted, including special studies on socioeconomic evaluations, blood pressure studies, a lipids study, genetics studies, exercise, heart murmur studies, newborn cohort, diabetes, pathology, and CV imaging.