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U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu Announces $6 million Grant for Army Warfighter Research

Released: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Competitively Awarded Grant to Pennington Biomedical Research Center Retains and Generates New Jobs

BATON ROUGE, LA - U. S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-LA, announced today a new competitively awarded $6 million, three-year grant to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center to discover novel ways to increase warfighter resilience, combat readiness, and optimal performance of soldiers.

The new research project is based upon a 23-year history of collaborative research between Pennington Biomedical and the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD).

"It is critical that we have soldiers who are battle ready and that we support them with the right tools they need to fight effectively, including the nutrition we provide. Good, quality nutrition for our men and women in uniform is not only a quality of life issue, but also contributes to a soldier's readiness for action," Sen. Mary Landrieu said. "This funding will make sure that we bridge the gap between academia and the battlefield with scientific knowledge to keep our soldiers healthy, strong and ready for action. This collaboration is a perfect example of how we can leverage partnerships to support our country's goals. Pennington has always been at the forefront of this effort, and I've worked hand in hand with them and our armed forced to make sure our soldiers have the best equipment, skills and nutrition on and off the battlefield."

Pennington Biomedical Research Center's Executive Director Steven Heymsfield said, "This new grant is the cornerstone of the long-term collaborative relationship which has spanned the entire history of the Pennington Biomedical since 1988, resulting in more than 151 published research papers."The research has directly impacted performance of our military personnel around the globe," added Dr. Heymsfield. "Together with the U. S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, we have a powerful partnership that strengthens each institution and shares a primary goal: to fuel a better and healthier warfighter."

The new grant will be led by Professor Jennifer Rood, Ph.D., who will serve as Pennington Biomedical's principal investigator for the CROWN project, which stands for: Collaborative Research to Optimize Warfighter Nutrition.

The announcement was made today at a press conference held in the new Clinical Research Building on the campus of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Members of the CROWN research team, as well as military leaders from the Louisiana National Guard, attended the announcement with Senator Landrieu.

The grant provides $2 million for fiscal year 2011, with a commitment of equal annual allocations through fiscal year 2013. "The modern warfighter faces numerous physiological challenges during training and combat," said Rood. "We will be conducting nutrition, metabolism, and human physiology research in an attempt to discover novel strategies that promote warfighter resilience and improve warfighter readiness," added Rood during the press conference.

Rood said CROWN supports communication and interaction between USARIEM, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and Pennington Biomedical scientists in the design, execution, and translation of research projects. "We have high quality analytical laboratories, nutritional databases, and metabolic support for military nutrition clinical research protocols.

She added that the project continues and sustains the collaborative alliance that has been forged between USARIEM and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center since 1988. "Studies of energy deficit, eating behavior, and of nutritional status responses to extreme environmental circumstances affect the public at large, as well as workers who must endure environmental stress," said Rood.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.