Ravussin Awarded Douglas L. Gordon Endowed Chair

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Released: Thursday, May 23, 2002

Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., has been awarded the Douglas L. Gordon Endowed Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The chair was established by the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation in memory of Dr. Gordon, a Baton Rouge endocrinologist, whose lifelong work in diabetes, medical care, and education made him a much-loved leader among Louisiana physicians. He died in 1997.

Ravussin was appointed Professor and Chief of the Pennington Center's Health and Performance Enhancement Division in 2000. He is developing a program aimed at understanding the interactions of diet, physical activity, and genetics on the
development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In the short time since his arrival at the Pennington Center, Ravussin has attracted more than $20 million in external grants and contracts.

Prior to joining the Pennington Center, Ravussin spent 14 years as a scientist at the Clinical and Diabetes and Nutrition Section of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Phoenix, Arizona, where he played a key role in landmark studies on the causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes in Pima Indians.

These studies are among only a few prospective studies of the natural history and development of type 2 diabetes in genetically susceptible populations. He later served as Director of Endocrinology at Ely Lily Research Laboratories in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dr. Gordon was the founder of the Diabetes Center in Baton Rouge, taught at the LSU Medical Center, was the Louisiana Governor of the American College of Physicians, and received the ACP's Laureate Award in 1992.

He was an adjunct professor at the Pennington Center, active in the Center's obesity research program, and a founding member of the Pennington Medical Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Gordon's research activities at the Pennington Center focused on the prevention of diabetes in vulnerable populations, including a study of the disease among members of the Coushatta Indian tribe in Southwest Louisiana.

The Douglas L Gordon Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism was created by the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation. Established in 1949, the foundation is dedicated to supporting educational institutions in Louisiana.

In partnership with Hibernia Bank, the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation also established the Hibernia-Schlieder Chair in Nutrition at the Pennington Center in 1989. Both chairs were completed through matching funds provided by the Louisiana Board of Regents through the Eminent Scholar's Fund.

Pennington Center Executive Director Claude Bouchard says gifts such as that provided by the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation are critical to the Pennington Center's efforts to recruit and retain scientists of international and national reputation.

Dr. Ravussin is recognized around the world for his contributions toward understanding the dynamics of such chronic diseases as obesity and diabetes. Philanthropic support allows us to bring such high-caliber scientists as Dr. Ravussin to the Pennington Center. This allows us to pursue the highest possible standards of excellence.

In addition to contributing to the advancement of science and medicine, faculty members of this quality attract substantial amounts of competitive research dollars to Baton Rouge and Louisiana and create many jobs locally, he says.

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.