LSU and Louisiana Invest in the Best Biomedical Solutions for Soldiers

March 07, 2023

Optimizing Military Health and Performance

As the Louisiana Legislature made a historic investment in LSU and its Pennington Biomedical Research Center, or PBRC, last year, the university is now following the state’s lead by adding critical expertise and growing one of PBRC’s most successful and sustained research programs: providing the United States military with biomedical solutions to keep American soldiers at optimal health and performance.

Building on three decades as the go-to provider of nutrition science for the Department of Defense, PBRC attracts some of the nation’s best rising scientists who are focused on research to keep America’s soldiers at the top of their game. This includes the recent recruitment and hiring of Claire Berryman and Stephen Hennigar. Before joining LSU’s PBRC, Berryman and Hennigar both worked for several years as post-doctoral researchers for the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM.

While the state invested $1 million in several new faculty hires at PBRC in 2022, Berryman brings with her a $2.3-million federal R01 grant. This grant will solve a mystery related to metabolism and weight loss—why it’s much easier to lose weight and turn carbohydrates and sugars into energy at high altitude, such as in Colorado, than around sea level, like in Louisiana. The results of her study could lead to new treatments and improved care for both diabetes and obesity, which impact soldiers like everyone else. In addition, Berryman and Hennigar will be collaborating on a new $3.6-million federally funded project to specifically support soldier health and performance.

“We see a lot of similarities between USARIEM and Pennington Biomedical because the science is meant to be immediately applicable and directly translatable to the populations we serve,” Hennigar said.

Claire Berryman and Stephen Hennigar

Recent LSU Pennington Biomedical hires Claire Berryman and Stephen Hennigar are joining a new $3.6-million project funded by the Department of Defense to specifically support soldier health and performance.


“The applied experience that Berryman and Hennigar bring to [LSU’s] Pennington Biomedical team will facilitate and extend the longstanding collaborative relationship between USARIEM, the Department of Defense and PBRC. Their current and future work at PBRC will build upon recent discoveries, resulting in the development of tangible solutions to optimize and enhance Warfighter health and performance.”

James McClung, USARIEM Military Nutrition Division Chief