LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

IT Network Upgrades Support LSUHealthNO Research Enterprise


The Department of Information Technology at LSU Health New Orleans successfully competed for its first National Science Foundation grant. The $499,640 grant will support a complete cyberinfrastructure overhaul in two key research buildings to create a science demilitarized zone (DMZ) and a high-speed science network for LSU Health New Orleans researchers.

“After recovering from the devastating flooding following Hurricane Katrina, we are now moving forward with a strategic plan to support our research enterprise and its growth, “ notes Bettina Owens, LSU Health New Orleans Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and co-principal investigator.

The funding will be used to construct a high-speed science network to connect LSU Health New Orleans research areas, facilitating the movement of large data sets and providing a pathway to national and global high-performance computing resources.

The project will enable researchers, scientists, and students to exchange and store large data sets, to expand their opportunities for remote collaboration, and to facilitate leadership in research and education within multiple science disciplines at LSU Health New Orleans. Its objectives include upgrading the distribution and access layer networking infrastructure to provide 10Gbps and/or 1Gbps ports in the research areas, re-architecting the campus network to support large data flows by designing and building a Science DMZ, and connecting to LSU Health New Orleans’ regional optical exchange's Science DMZ via 20Gbps connections. Just as in the military, in computer security, a demilitarized zone (DMZ) provides a buffer. It is a perimeter or subnetwork that separates secure network servers from the internet. By placing public-faced servers on the DMZ network, untrusted networks do not have direct access to the local area network, significantly boosting security.

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“This project has broader implications for the scientific community including the next generation of researchers and scientists,” says principal investigator Mohamad Qayoom, LSU Health New Orleans Information Technology Consultant in Networking and Security. “Whether it is a high school student pondering his or her future by participating in a summer research program or internship, a student enrolled in curricula at LSU Health New Orleans, or a collaborative researcher somewhere in cyberspace, this project is key to the future of research at LSU Health New Orleans and will unlock the door to many exciting discoveries.”
Mohamad Qayoom
It is a collaborative project with LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. Co-principal investigators also include Drs. Judy Crabtree, Assistant Professor of Genetics, Jovanny Zabaleta, Assistant Professor-Research in Pediatrics and LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, and Christopher Taylor, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology.

“This capacity will help us to recruit and retain top-tier research faculty,” says Larry Hollier, MD, LSU Health New Orleans Chancellor. “Science superstars not only make breakthrough discoveries that save lives and improve health, but they also contribute to the health of the economy by generating jobs and economic impact.”