President & CEO Named to Lead Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation

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Released: Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baton Rouge, LA - Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation today announced the selection of a new president and chief executive officer to lead the organization. Following an extensive national search, noted fundraising executive Carol M. Dreher has been named to the post.

"Carol's impressive and proven experience in philanthropy drew us to her, but it was her passion for health research and for advancing our scientists' work that convinced us we'd found our next president and CEO," said J. Gerard "Jerry" Jolly, chairman of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation. "Pennington Biomedical has devoted and deep-rooted support in our region for its amazing work. We want to build on that success and, with Carol at the foundation's helm, broaden our base to cultivate new teams of support nationally and internationally."

Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation provides LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center with vital funding for nutrition-based research focused on the chronic diseases to blame for many of the most debilitating health conditions affecting our state and our country. As one of the largest academic-based nutritional research centers in the world, Pennington Biomedical houses a unique concentration of obesity research scientists and many of the world's most prominent diabetes researchers. These experts are at the forefront of discovery in understanding the causes of the obesity epidemic and the life-threatening chronic diseases associated with it, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and cancer.

"Philanthropic support is vital to sustaining Pennington Biomedical's scientific progress and it is the true lifeblood of our research, so I'm thrilled to welcome Carol to the foundation and to LSU" said William T. Cefalu, executive director of Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "Carol has a proven understanding of the fundamental issues impacting health care, translational research and product development - exactly what we are focused on here each and every day. I look forward to working with her to advance our science and convey the impact of our discoveries to new and broader audiences in Louisiana and across the country."

Dreher is a philanthropy professional with more than two decades of experience, including directing two medical research awards foundations. She honed her research and health care expertise working with scientists and physicians in both large academic settings and private research institutions, while raising more than $150 million for the constituencies she served. She joins Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation from biotech start-up QioMed in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, where she served as vice-president for business development and strategic relations. Her career has included posts with a host of well-respected organizations including UCLA, the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, and the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition.

"Biomedical research is changing lives for the better and Pennington Biomedical is at the forefront of that effort. I'm delighted to join this impressive team," said Dreher. "Academic research is an incubator for new ideas, innovative technologies and new business opportunities - and in Pennington Biomedical's case, these new innovations are helping each of us live healthier lives. I will work to broaden the scope of national and international support for this amazing research, expanding connections that could be good for the Pennington Biomedical and the community - it's an exciting prospect and a great place to be."
For more information on Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation please visit


About the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation: The Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation  is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is affiliated with Pennington Biomedical Research Center to accept, manage and steward private philanthropy through unrestricted, restricted and endowed gifts from individuals, corporation and foundations.  Philanthropy is providing vital support to Pennington Biomedical's mission, through innovative research, to improve human health across the lifespan. Gifts to the Foundation are rapidly deployed to fuel pilot research projects; support the recruitment and retention of the best scientific minds; advance frontiers in new technology and enterprise; endow chairs and professorships and invest in the health and well-being of humankind. For more information, see


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 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.