LOUISVILLE, Ky. –Lu Cai, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed to lead the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute, which supports basic science research labs dedicated to the discovery of fundamental knowledge relevant to pediatric disease in the areas of diabetes, sleep, neurobiology and cancer.
Cai’s research focuses on the effects of diabetes on the heart, with an emphasis on novel mechanisms to protect the heart. Working with animal models, his team of researchers uncovered the first evidence that zinc may protect the heart from diabetes-induced dysfunction. Cai and UofL pediatric endocrinologist Kupper Wintergerst, M.D., plan to investigate the role of zinc in insulin-dependent children with diabetes.
“Dr. Cai’s extensive leadership and research experience make him an excellent choice to lead the pediatric research institute. I am very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Cai and his research team as we expand his work to improve the health and well-being of children with diabetes,” Wintergerst said.
As the new Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair for Pediatric Research, Cai has committed to several goals for the institute. “We plan to expand our basic science research and training programs and strengthen our relationships with clinicians to expand our translational research to positively impacts health outcomes for children,” he said. Cai also plans to continue to expand collaborative research relationships within the university in addition to national and international collaborators.
“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Cai in the leadership role at KCHRI. He is an excellent scientist and has the vision and enthusiasm to guide our expansion of basic research relevant to children and their families,” noted Kosair Charities Chair in Pediatric Heart Research and Department of Pediatrics Vice Chair for Research Brad Keller, M.D.Cai has more than 130 peer-reviewed published manuscripts in high-impact journals such as Circulation, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Diabetes. His research has been recognized nationally and internationally and he serves as an active member of both national and international diabetes foundations.
Cai earned an M.D. in general medicine and Ph.D. in radiation medicine at Norman Bethune University of Medical Science, Changchun, China. A professor of Pediatrics and Radiation Oncology, he has been with the University of Louisville since 1999.
The Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute is part of the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics. The institute was founded in 1999 with initial funding provided by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, University Pediatric Foundation and Kentucky’s Research Challenge Trust Fund, also known as “Bucks for Brains.” The institute’s research is widely disseminated in peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, scientific presentation, books and book chapters—over 40 in 2012.