Dr. Leanne Redman to Lead Pennington Biomedical’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center – PR.com


Baton Rouge, LA, May 18, 2024 –(PR.com)– Dr. Leanne Redman has been named as the new director of Pennington Biomedical’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center, or NORC. On May 1, Dr. Redman took over the role from Dr. Eric Ravussin, who held the director position for 19 years. NORC is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK, of the National Institutes of Health.

The Pennington Biomedical/Louisiana NORC is one of 11 across the U.S., including centers at Harvard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis, and more. It supports scientists across the state to conduct new and ongoing research in nutrition and to understand metabolic health. Scientists work on projects from cells to clinical trials and community-based programs. In addition, NORC is training the next generation of nutrition and obesity researchers. It provides seed funding for innovative ideas as part of its annual pilot and feasibility program.

Pennington Biomedical’s NORC operates in grant cycles of five years, with the first successful grant cycle commencing in 2005 from an application written by Dr. Ravussin and Pennington Biomedical professor emeritus Dr. Donna Ryan. As the fourth cycle approaches its end, Dr. Redman leaves her role as Associate Director of the NORC and takes on the new leadership mantle and will lead the team in its quest for another 5-year renewal.

“After a competitive search, it is a humbling honor for my colleagues to select me for this role and to put their faith in me to ensure Dr. Ravussin legacy of exponentially expanding nutrition research in Louisiana continues for many more years,” said Dr. Redman, who is Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education and professor of Reproductive Endocrinology and Women’s Health at Pennington Biomedical. “To date, our Pennington Biomedical/Louisiana NORC has funded 75 pilot and feasibility research grants, and I have every confidence that the NIDDK will see these results as a testament to NORC’s success and further fund the Center. Our goal is to better understand roots behind obesity and its related diseases and to transfer these discoveries to impactful clinical trials and new public health initiatives that improve health and save lives.”

The Pennington Biomedical-based NORC has more than 130 participating members, who access resources in three scientific cores: Human Phenotyping, Molecular Mechanisms, and Animal Model and Phenotyping. These three research cores have resulted in the formation of research teams to address major questions and have increased nutrition research conducted in Louisiana.

“After advertising nationally for a new Program Director for NORC, the Center’s leadership quickly realized that we do not need to go far to find outstanding talent in nutrition and obesity science,” said Dr. Ravussin. “Very quickly, we agreed that Dr. Leanne Redman would be an ideal leader for this prestigious Center. We look forward to her taking the leadership reigns of NORC, and she can rest assured that she can turn to us any time for support and collaboration.”

Dr. Redman becomes one of only three women directors of NORC locations nationally, Once settled into the Director role, she will lead as the overall Principal Investigator when the Center submits its application for a renewal grant in summer 2025. In the meantime, she will lead NORC through its continued support of the Nutrition for Precision Health study, powered by All of US, an historic effort by the NIH to collect and study data from one million or more people living in the United States.

“Dr. Redman takes on this leadership role with a clear vision and the support of her colleagues here at Pennington Biomedical,” said Dr. John Kirwan, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical. “The NORC plays a central role in providing the resources and infrastructure for translational and transdisciplinary nutrition and obesity research in Louisiana as we endeavor to explore the root causes of obesity-related diseases and the best ways to treat or prevent them. Dr. Redman has our full support and confidence as she becomes the new NORC Director and leads the Center to ever greater heights.”