Community Engagement

Faculty and Students: Services, Training and Courses

A number of faculty offer service learning courses to the students. Dr. Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan conducts water sampling in Lake Pontchatrain and Tchefuncte River with Tulane University students in order to teach environmental education to school children. Community partners include the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum and Research Center, Madisonville and LUMCON. A number of faculty also give talks at the Women in Science Meetings and at the Tulane University Neuroscience Association. Dr. Jim Cronin also works with Tulane undergraduates in the service learning courses linked to Cellular Physiology and Neurobiology of Diseases, where students partner with LSU clinics and retirement homes for community outreach. Dr. Nancy Hopkins is the faculty advisor for the Biology Enthusiasts Association for Students of Tulane (BEAST) and encourages the presentation of posters by undergraduate students at national scientific conferences.

Economic Development

Patent Activity

Two faculty are currently involved in patenting various products. Dr. Frank Jones has the following two patents in progress:

  1. Compositions and Methods for the Treatment of Breast Cancer, which patents a peptide that represents the pro-apoptotic ERBB4 BH3 domain and will be developed as a tumor cell specific therapy for breast cancer patients.
  2. Monoclonal Antibodies to a Splice Variant of ERBB2 that are directed against an oncogenic isoform of ERBB2. This will be developed as a diagnostic and therapeutic reagent for women with breast or ovarian cancer.

Dr. David Mullin has two new provisional patents that Tulane University is managing (they are in the process of licensing these patents):

  1. Production of butanol with aerotolerant solventogenic clostridia. Tulane provisional patent #TU269. One of the most daunting challenges facing the industrialized world is the dwindling supply of petroleum that can be turned into liquid fuel for cars, trucks, etc. Next to this challenge is the fact that burning petroleum products in engines pollutes the air and is contributing to global warming. This patent covers a technology that Dr. Mullin has developed with a Postdoc in his lab that will provide liquid fuels from agricultural waste products that are available on a vast scale, and the fuels that are produced will not contribute to global warming when burned in automobile engines.
  2. 4-alkylphenols with antibacterial activity toward Staphylococcus aureus. Tulane provisional patent #TU267. No health challenge facing mankind is greater than the threat posed by pathogenic infectious agents that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs. Unfortunately, very few new antibacterial drugs are in the development pipeline. This patent covers a new class of organic compounds that Dr. Mullin discovered which are potent antibacterial drugs that can be used to cure bacterial infections in mice. Eventually he hopes to develop some of these compounds into drugs that can be used to cure human bacterial infections.