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Kastin Named to United Companies Chair

Released: Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Abba Kastin, MD, PhD has been named Professor and Endowed United Companies/Harris J. Chustz Chair in Nutrition at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

The chair was endowed through a $600,000 gift from United Companies with matching funds from the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, known as the 8 (g) program of the Louisiana Board of Regents. The Chair was established through the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation in 1992 and was named to honor Harris J. Chustz, who retired in 1995 as chairman of the board of United Companies.

Dr. Kastin joined the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in August as its newest faculty member. His work at the Center revolves around a research program on the properties of the blood brain barrier, how they are impacted by nutrients, and their implications for the regulation of energy balance.

“The research of Dr. Kastin will enhance the ability of the Center’s scientists to address the complex issue of the relationship between the periphery and the brain in the regulation of energy balance in the body, and should lead to new development in the prevention of excessive weight gain,” Dr. Claude Bouchard, executive director of the Pennington Center said.

Dr. Kastin received his doctorate of medicine from Harvard Medical School. He has spent the majority of his academic career at Tulane University and was Chief of Endocrinology at the Veterans Administration Hospital. Dr. Kastin was also the founding editor and is the editor-in-chief of “Peptides,” an international medical journal. He also currently serves as president of the International Neuropeptide Society.

Dr. Kastin has published more than 800 peer-reviewed articles and has a National Institutes of Health $ 1.84 million grant entitled, "Blood-brain Barrier Regulates Leptin Transport in Obesity.”

A reception honoring Dr. Kastin was hosted by the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation last Monday. Members of the board of directors, faculty and university administrators attended.

The foundation supports the work of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, an internationally recognized center with the mission to promote healthier lives through research and education in nutrition and preventive medicine.


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.