LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center Secures $16.4m in DOD Clinical Trials Research

Aug 19, 2019 | Conditioning, Energy, Military Nutrition, Warfare

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center Secures $16.4m in DOD Clinical Trials Research

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center has received two new military awards to study how to reduce warfighter muscle loss and fatigue during combat operations and how to analyze biochemical markers of warfighter nutritional status and performance.

The Research: $3.5 Million Clinical Trial with USARIEM

The institution received two grants in total. Under one award, a three-year, $3.5 million clinical trial with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), Pennington Biomedical will examine whether it is possible to prevent the loss of weight and muscle mass by maintaining warfighter’s testosterone at normal levels with a long-acting, low dose of the hormone.

This new research capitalizes on Pennington Biomedical’s earlier work in this area, called the Optimizing Performance for Soldiers study. The study suggested that supplemental testosterone may increase muscle mass and reduce weight loss in young men who burn more calories than they consume over the short term.

$12.9 million to work with USARIEM’s Military Nutrition Division

Pennington Biomedical also received $12.9 million to analyze biochemical markers of gastrointestinal and metabolic health, nutritional status, physiologic function, appetite regulation, cognition health, and physiologic status in a variety of studies by USARIEM’s Military Nutrition Division.

The institute will analyze hundreds of thousands of samples from USARIEM studies. Research underway for the Military Nutrition Division includes examining biochemical markers of stress and resiliency that may predict military career success and injury, studying how high altitude affects carbohydrate metabolism during exercise, and determining whether nutritional intake is linked to physical performance declines.

Research Background

This work for the Army is the latest collaboration between Pennington Biomedical and the Department of Defense.  Pennington Biomedical is known as one of the world’s leading obesity and diabetes research centers, the facility has also served as the primary provider of nutrition research for America’s military. Over the past 31 years, Pennington Biomedical and its researchers have been awarded close to $100 million to conduct more than 140 mission-critical studies related to warfighter health.

Pennington Biomedical Research has developed the First Strike Ration, a compact, eat-on-the-move ration used worldwide to support warfighters nationally during combat. Pennington Biomedical’s accomplishments also include:

  • Established the amount of protein warfighters need when they experience high activity and low caloric intake during military operations. Pennington Biomedical’s Mass Spectrometry Lab found that during combat, members of Special Ops Forces may burn up to 7,000 calories per day, more than twice the average soldier
  • Established the mineral micronutrients warfighters needed to sustain their immune systems during periods of intense stress
  • Showed how a short-term energy deficit-burning more calories than consumed—and the loss of body weight and  muscle mass profoundly affects IGG-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), a key hormone that helps regulate the immune system.

About Pennington Biomedical Research at LSU

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The center conducts basic, clinical and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more information, see

Lead Research/Investigator

Jennifer Rood, PhD, associate executive director of the CORES and Resources


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