Letter from the President: Spring 2019

Dear Tulane Community,

Biomedical engineering graduate students Elaine Horn-Ranney (’08, ’13) and Parastoo Khoshakhlagh (’13, ’15) were working together at a Tulane lab when they had a radical idea – what if damaged eardrums could be repaired without surgery? They invented a gel-based patch that delivers drugs directly to the eardrum’s wound site. Their invention got the attention of NASA, which launched the wound-healing patches into space on the SpaceX Dragon Cargo Ship in December. While we await the outcome of their testing, I have to say: Tulane students and alumni never cease to amaze me. Their commitment to improving the human condition has long gone above and beyond, but now we can officially say it’s “out of this world.”

Horn-Ranney and Khoshakhlagh’s discovery is just one example of how Tulane researchers are making game-changing breakthroughs. Tulane University School of Medicine virologists Robert Garry, PhD, and James Robinson, MD, are narrowing in on a vaccine for deadly Lassa Fever. Polar scientist and Arnold Early Career Professor Brent Goehring is heading to Antarctica to study glacier collapse and its impact on global sea rise. And Tulane archaeologists Marcello A. Canuto and Francisco Estrada-Belli are using innovative technology to uncover the past, revealing more than 60,000 ancient Mayan structures deep in the Guatemalan jungle.

Whether abroad or on campus, research at Tulane is thriving. We’re set to break ground on a new “science district” with the construction of the Steven and Jann

Paul Hall for Science and Engineering. This district will be located in the middle of the undergraduate student academic quad, another way Tulane’s shared spaces catalyze connection and discovery among students and faculty. And, at Tulane, we know that learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door. We are thrilled that later this year we will open The Commons, which will help form the nucleus of our campus community with its state-of-the-art dining facility and new home for the Newcomb College Institute. In addition, over the next decade we will continue to grow our living and learning communities like Third Coast, which focuses on New Orleans’ rich cultural heritage and coastal environment, offering students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to live and learn in a shared community.

When we look ahead to the Tulane of tomorrow, one thing is certain: the dedication to improving the human condition that so inspired our founders, that inspired our NASA student engineers, that is in our very DNA as an institution, is the driving force of our bold path forward.




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