More grants on the bayou


Ralph Abraham, a Louisiana congressman, announced the second grant given to ULM in a two-month period on Monday.
The grant of $352,500 will be used by the university to study diabetes and obesity.
Previously Abraham announced a $275,000 grant for the Atmospheric Sciences research program.
According to the press release by Abraham’s office, the grant is funded by the Department of Health and Hospitals and is awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases.
Abraham, a former physician in Louisiana, said diabetes and obesity continue to be major problems in the state.
“I’m excited that ULM will be leading the way to discover how we can better treat these patients, reduce the number of people living with these conditions, and make Louisiana a healthier state,” said Abraham, referring to people affected by diabetes and obesity.
Currently Louisiana has an adult obesity rate over 36 percent, according to The rate was about 12 percent in 1990 and about 23 percent in 2000.
The rate that diabetes is growing in the country is epidemic according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost 14 percent of the adult population in the state have diabetes per the American Diabetes Association. More alarming is the fact that over one third of the state’s population have prediabetes.
Prediabetes is described as having a blood glucose level higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as regular diabetes.
Researchers at ULM will try to answer what molecular pathways and genes are involved in causing the onset of insulin resistance in body tissues. They will also study the pathways to disease in obese and diabetic patients in an effort to discover how to research and development better treatments.
According to ULM biologist Matthew Talbert, research is an important learning tool for students to have access to. Talbert also said the grant will help people like himself have the ability to inspire and grow future physician scientists.