Pennington Biomedical Research Project Secures Grant at Baton Rouge Health-Tech Catalyst Pitch Night

May 22, 2023
For more information, contact Joe Coussan, joe.coussan@pbrc.edu225-263-3049

Baton Rouge Health-Tech Catalyst, led by the Baton Rouge Health District, awards $60,000 in pilot funding, provided by the EDA, to three innovative projects

BATON ROUGE – A collaboration among Dr. Frank Greenway of Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Dr. Beverly Ogden of Woman’s Hospital in partnership with LSU, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, was named as one of three award recipients at the Baton Rouge Health-Tech Catalyst Pitch Night. The team will investigate non-invasive treatment of uterine fibroids, or benign growths, such as leiomyomas or myomas, that development from the muscle tissue of the uterus.

“Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors in the wall of the uterus that are common, and can cause bleeding, pain, and infertility,” Dr. Greenway said. “Dr. Ogden and I are excited to receive this award, which enables a study to confirm that a safe, well-tolerated combination of a green tea extract and two vitamins improve the symptoms and quality of life for women with fibroids and avoid the need for hysterectomy surgery to remove the tumor.”  

Fibroid tumors are disproportionately prevalent in the African American community, with up to 25 percent of black women affected. The proposed study seeks to confirm the findings from a similar European study, with the goal of supporting the Baton Rouge Health District to advance clinical care, reduce associated pain, and decrease the frequency of invasive surgical procedures, while lessening the need for personal or Medicaid dollars to be spent on hysterectomies.

By replacing expensive procedures with dietary supplements, the study has the potential to generate cost savings for Baton Rouge residents. The study will tentatively begin on June 1, and is planned to be completed by June 2024.

“Pennington Biomedical is pursuing solutions to chronic health issues and diseases that are focused on making Louisiana healthier,” said Dr. John Kirwan, Pennington Biomedical executive director. “Our talented researchers, including our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Frank Greenway, coupled with our unmatched labs and research facilities, places Pennington Biomedical at the forefront of the latest advances in the field. As a prominent partner in the Baton Rouge Health District, Pennington Biomedical is proud to have Dr. Greenway represent us so well with this award from the Baton Rouge Health Tech Catalyst.”

A regional health and life science innovation cluster initiative led by the Baton Rouge Health District, the Baton Rouge Health-Tech Catalyst’s Launchpad Pitch Night is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, or EDA, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Build to Scale program. The Pitch Night is the culmination of the Catalyst’s pilot grant funding opportunity. This year, five applicants presented a broad scope of ideas, with three projects selected for funding. The event was the second round of Launchpad funding, which cumulatively supports six total projects across two funding cycles.

“With the generous support of the EDA and in conjunction with our partners at Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Pennington Biomedical Research Center, we are excited to offer this opportunity for our Baton Rouge Health District member institutions,” said Dr. Steven Ceulemans, executive director at the Baton Rouge Health District. “This initiative will create a launchpad to strengthen innovation, increase a culture of health, and continue to make Baton Rouge a destination for healthcare at the heart of a healthy and vibrant community. We look forward to seeing these projects come to fruition in the coming months.”

The Launchpad Innovation Pilot Awards are designed to promote and support collaboration across Baton Rouge Health District Member Institutions, while sparking and strengthening innovative networks that allow institutions, technology, industry, and community partners to work together and increase their impact.

Joining the non-invasive uterine fibroid treatment study were “Developing Multicellular Organoid for Precision Therapy” by Dr. Beverly Ogden and Dr. Joseph Francis of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and “Reconceptualizing How the Most Seriously Ill Patients Experience the ED” by Dr. Mark Kantrow of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Dr. Nathan Freeman, Ochsner Health System in partnership with Baton Rouge General.

This year’s Launchpad awards join a portfolio of active, previously funded innovation pilot projects which include:

  • BRG Fit! Total Health and Wellbeing - Baton Rouge General, in partnership with East Baton Rouge School System
  • Increasing Endometrial Cancer Awareness and Cure for Louisiana Women - Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Woman's Hospital & LSU Health Science Center - New Orleans
  • Palliative Care Program for Persons Living with Dementia - Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

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. The Center architected the national “Obecity, USA” awareness and advocacy campaign to help solve the obesity epidemic by 2040. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with LSU.

The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 480 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical a state-of-the-art research facility on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge.

For more information, see

Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70808