Pennington Biomedical-led Team Receives LSU LIFT² Grant

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Health Screening Software Could Cut Business Costs by Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
Released: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- Software under development at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center could slash the cost of wellness screenings, saving businesses hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The Scanning in Medical Analysis (SIMA) software uses information from 3D body scans to generate a worker’s health assessment in less than five minutes. The software could reduce the need for some of the biometric screenings, which include blood pressure and blood tests for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

“Businesses will spend an estimated $1.7 billion on health screenings in 2021,” said Sima Sobhiyeh, a postdoctoral researcher at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center and one of the software developers. “If our software can exempt even one out of five workers from the biometric screening, health screening costs could drop by as much as $340 million.”

Sobhiyeh; Dr. Steven Heymsfield, director of Pennington Biomedical’s Metabolism and Body Composition Lab; and LSU mathematics Professor Peter Wolenski were awarded an LSU LIFT² grant that will help them commercialize the wellness-screening software.

The LSU LIFT² fund supports academic researchers as they advance their innovations and technologies from the lab to the marketplace. By providing a bridge over the critical gap between basic research and commercialization, the LSU LIFT² fund awards grants to researchers on a competitive basis twice a year to develop market-facing prototypes and to validate the market potential of their inventions.

In 2018, Corby Martin, PhD, director of the Ingestive Behavior Lab, and John Apolzan, PhD, director of the Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Lab, received a LIFT² grant to commercialize PortionSize, a market-ready app to estimate and manage portions.

Since 2014, 120 research projects have received LSU LIFT² grant funding. More than $4 million has been awarded by the LSU Board of Supervisors through this competitive grant to researchers across all of LSU’s campuses.

Innovations include creative and artistic works as well as devices, drugs, software and other more traditional inventions; thus, personnel from all disciplines on all LSU campuses are strongly encouraged to consider an application to further develop an invention which has been previously disclosed to their campus technology transfer office.

For more information about Pennington Biomedical’s commercialization efforts, contact Leslie Smith, director of the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, at or (225) 763-2627, or go to


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 58 faculty and more than 18 postdoctoral fellows who comprise a network of 40 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 450 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.