UNO names chemist to oversee research

The University of New Orleans has selected a longtime chemistry faculty member to serve as vice president for research and economic development at the university.

Professor Matt Tarr assumed the role on Jan. 18 after spending 21 years at UNO. Tarr is the Eurofins professor of analytical chemistry as well as a faculty fellow in the university’s Advanced Materials Research Institute.

He served as chairman of the chemistry department from 2009 to 2015. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Emory University in Atlanta and a doctorate in analytical chemistry from Georgia Tech.

Tarr conducts research in analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, free radical oxidation of biomolecules, and synthesis and application of nanomaterials for biomarker detection and photocatalysis, according to school officials.

He also coordinates outreach programs that provide research experiences for undergraduates, visiting international students, high school students and high school teachers.

LSU Health targets pulmonary hypertension

The LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing Alumni Association will hold the third annual Mudbug March to help stomp out pulmonary hypertension on March 5 at the New Orleans City Park Peristyle.

The event will include a one-mile fun walk, a silent auction, a disco dance party, entertainment by the Disco Amigos, food and drinks, as well as face painting and a disco costume contest for the kids. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. The $35 fee includes a T-shirt.

The purpose of the event, honoring the memory of Chelsea Umbach Yates, is to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension and to educate patients about the importance of taking care of themselves.

Chelsea was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when she was 15. Even so, she excelled academically, worked and got married. Her struggle with the disease lasted 11 years and included a heart-double lung transplant. She died on July 17, 2011, after contracting an infection that her immune system couldn’t overcome.

According to the National Institutes of Health, pulmonary hypertension, or PH, is increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the lungs to pick up oxygen. PH causes symptoms such as shortness of breath during routine activity, tiredness, chest pain and a racing heartbeat.

As the condition worsens, it may limit all physical activity. PH has no cure. However, research for new treatments is ongoing. The earlier that PH is treated, the easier it is to control.

Treatments include medicines, procedures and other therapies. These treatments can relieve symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. Lifestyle changes also can help control symptoms. PH usually develops between the ages of 20 and 60, but it can occur at any age.

The Mudbug March is sponsored by the LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing, LSU Health New Orleans Foundation, University Medical Center, Tulane Lung Center and Harry’s Dive Shop.

Forty percent of the proceeds will support the Pulmonary Hypertension Association's efforts to provide improved patient care, expand medical research and disseminate the latest information.

The remaining 60 percent will provide further education and awareness of PH to future LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing graduates, who will provide nursing care to patients with PH in a variety of clinical settings.

To register and learn more, visit

Delgado nursing school to receive $20,000

The Charity Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association has donated $10,000 as the private match for endowed scholarship funds for nursing students at the Delgado Community College Charity School of Nursing, school officials announced.

The private match will be used to apply for a $10,000 public match from the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund, which has a matching program for endowed scholarships for nursing, resulting in $20,000 in total endowed funds.

The endowed scholarship will be the Joyce Bonaventure Leissner and Jim Leissner Charity Alumni Scholarship in memory of their children Nathan and Laura.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.