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Promoting Pioneering Research

One of President Fitts’ top priorities is to significantly expand Tulane’s research across all disciplines. He is committed to creating bold initiatives to recruit some of the world’s most innovative thinkers, build more research infrastructure across the university and launch new interdisciplinary research centers to solve some of society’s most complex challenges.


Research is at the heart of Tulane’s mission, which was founded in 1834 to discover the cause and cure for yellow fever epidemics that ravaged 19th century New Orleans.


Today, Tulane investigators across the university are engaged in $140 million in sponsored research projects, including $89 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health.




Promoting Pioneering Research

Tulane is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a select group of the 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada dedicated to transforming lives through education, research and innovation. Tulane is ranked as a tier-one research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which is an elite group representing only 2 percent of 4,300 higher educational institutions.

Our research has global impact — from developing rapid diagnostics and advanced vaccines for diseases such as Lassa Fever and Ebola to creating new models to better predict sea-level rise and other risks related to climate change. Tulane faculty are also helping to build more resilient communities, develop sustainable water management strategies for cities of the future and scrutinizing New Orleans’ post-Katrina education reforms so other cities can learn from it – the nation’s biggest, most successful experiment in public school transformation.


Thomas LaVeist

Presidential Chairs
President Fitts created the Presidential Chair initiative to recruit exceptional, internationally recognized scholars whose work transcends traditional academic disciplines. Presidential chairs are one of Fitts’ top priorities as he seeks to attract some of the world’s most renowned faculty members in areas such as biomedicine, coastal restoration, global health, the humanities and fields yet-to-be-explored.

Presidential chairs will work across disciplines to pursue discoveries that can make a global impact. The first two presidential chairs are national equity and health scholar Thomas LaVeist, dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Tony Hu, a pioneer in developing advanced diagnostics for personalized medicine.

Jill Daniel

Tulane Brain Institute
President Fitts established the Tulane Brain Institute in 2016 to launch a new era of discovery, learning and public influence in the brain sciences at Tulane. The initiative coordinates and supports brain-related research and neuroscience endeavors across the university. The Institute combines expertise and research from faculty, postdocs and students —from undergraduates to PhDs — at the schools of Medicine, Science and Engineering, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Liberal Arts and the Tulane National Primate Research Center. The three pillars of the Tulane Brain Institute are research, education and training, and community outreach and engagement.

Watch to learn more about the Tulane Brain Institute

Tulane River & Coastal Center

ByWater Institute at Tulane University
In 2016, President Fitts opened the ByWater Institute at Tulane University, a new riverfront campus in downtown New Orleans dedicated to studying and protecting Louisiana's vital waterways and coast. The Institute brings scholars together from across disciplines to find innovative solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing Louisiana and vulnerable communities — how to manage threats of rising water from coastal erosion, natural disasters and a changing environment. The ByWater Institute exemplifies the interdisciplinary ethos of the university. By supporting applied research and outreach, the center will help strengthen capacity to restore and protect the coast.

The Institute oversees the Tulane River & Coastal Center, which supports applied research and outreach to raise public awareness about coastal science, restoration and water management.  The 5,800-square-foot facility is located at the Robin Street Wharf between the Port Authority and Mardi Gras World on the Mississippi River.

Watch to learn more about the ByWater Institute at Tulane University

Tony Hu

Center of Cellular and Molecular Diagnosis
Center of Cellular and Molecular Diagnosis is dedicated to developing advanced diagnostics for personalized medicine. Led by Tony Hu, Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Biotechnology Innovation, the new center’s mission is to promote interactions between diverse teams of researchers to accelerate the discovery and clinical development of more effective diagnostic biomarkers. It will leverage new and existing platforms to improve the analysis of diagnostic factors found in blood and other liquid biopsy samples, including proteins, nucleic acids and extracellular vesicles, which are tiny particles of material released by living cells.