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Monthly Archives: February 2014


Laura James, M.D., Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., Named TRI Director, Associate Director

Laura James, M.D., and Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., were named this week as director and associate director of the Translational Research Institute. They will also serve as co-principal investigators of UAMS’ Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).

The two were appointed by Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., who noted that the $20 million, five-year CTSA from the National Institutes of Health, one of the largest awards in UAMS history, is up for renewal. The CTSA provides comprehensive support for collaborative, multidisciplinary research by investigators in UAMS’ five colleges and Graduate School, UAMS regional centers, and several partner institutions.

In his announcement, the chancellor expressed his appreciation to Curtis Lowery, M.D., chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and director of the Center for Distance Health, who also has served as principal investigator of the CTSA since 2008.

“Curtis is nationally recognized among the CTSA consortium and has worked hard to build an important program that continues to make significant strides at UAMS in improvements to the translational research infrastructure,” Rahn said.

James is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics with a successful research career focusing on acetaminophen toxicity that addresses the study of mechanisms of toxicity and biomarkers of toxicity in animal models and clinical samples. She previously served as the director of the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) and is section chief of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at ACH. James also oversees clinical trials in children that are addressing the appropriate and safe use of a number of medications.

Beck is a professor in the Department of Geriatrics and the Louise Hearne Endowed Chair in Dementia and Long-term Care. She has served as a co-director for the TRI for the last five years. Her research career has been focused on improving the care of people with Alzheimer’s disease though clinical trials of non-pharmacologic interventions. Beck also is the co-director of the UAMS John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence and has been responsible for the research arm of that center for the last 12 years.

“Please join me in congratulating Laura and Cornelia on their new roles and thanking them and Curtis for their commitment to improving population health through translational research,” Rahn said.

Register Now for Community-Engaged Research Training Feb. 24

“Training for Community-Engaged Research” will be held Feb. 24, from 1-5 p.m. in the UAMS ED II building, Room 8/121. The training will be conducted by the Arkansas Prevention Research Center’s Community Advisory Board and will include video testimonials, role-playing scenarios and group discussion.

It is designed to help researchers and community members gain insight into each other’s perspectives on community engaged research, and to provoke all participants to think critically and creatively about their roles in the training’s fictionalized scenarios as well as in their daily lives. Register here.

Showcase of Medical Discoveries

The next Showcase of Medical Discoveries will be March 19 from 4-5:30 p.m., with a focus on Neuroscience. The wine and cheese event in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute 10th floor rotunda features UAMS investigators discussing their research and discoveries. View a flier about the event.

Pharmacoepidemiology Professor Featured in PCORI Methodologies Seminar

Til Sturmer, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., professor and director of the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be featured at the next PCORI Methodologies Seminar on Feb. 14 at noon in the College of Public Health, G225.

Sturmer will present “Improving the Validity of Nonexperimental Research on Medical Interventions.”

The seminar series is sponsored by TRI’s Comparative Effectiveness Research component and the College of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy Division. The series’ purpose is to assist investigators with understanding the difficult PCORI methodologies that grant submissions are required to follow.

View the seminar series schedule.

Research Ads Receiving Free TV, Radio Air Time

Television and radio stations across Arkansas began airing public service announcements last week thanking Arkansans for their contributions to research at UAMS. The 30-second television and 1-minute radio ads were sponsored by the UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) and produced by the Creative Services division of the UAMS Office of Communications & Marketing. The idea for the ads was sparked by TRI’s Community Advisory Board.

TRI covered the minimal production costs, and Communications & Marketing is leveraging its annual contract with the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, whose member stations will deliver upwards of $250,000 worth of free air time for the radio and television spots.

The ads feature two TRI KL2 Scholars, Keneshia Bryant, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P.-B.C., and Dennis Kuo, M.D., M.P.H., and two UAMS patients: Susan Pruitt of Fort Smith and Jeanette Perkins, R.N., of Little Rock. In addition to expressing gratitude for Arkansans’ participation in research, the ads help brand UAMS as a research institution and invite viewers interested in participating in research to visit

View the television public service announcement.

Funding Opportunities

These new funding opportunities were compiled by TRI’s Comparative Effectiveness Research component. The linked document also includes a page listing grant requests for applications that remain open.

Blue & You Foundation Announces Grant Opportunities

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is now accepting applications for large and small grants to organizations to implement health improvement programs in Arkansas.

Applications for $1,000 mini-grants will be accepted February 1 through April 30. Applicants will be notified of mini-grant awards within approximately 15 days. Regular grants of $5,000 to $150,000 have an application deadline of July 15 and will be awarded in November to fund health improvement programs during 2015.

Any public charity, public school, government agency, or non-profit hospital in Arkansas is eligible to apply. Grants are not made to individuals. Funds must be used in an effort that produces some positive health outcome for Arkansans. The grant may be used for general operational or specific program support, for an existing or new program.

Information about the grants and the online application submission process can be found at

More information, call: Patrick O’Sullivan, 501-378-2221.

New Fund to Cure Stroke Offers Intramural Research Grant Opportunity

The Fund to Cure Stroke, a new intramural research grant opportunity, will provide up to $30,000 for UAMS faculty to advance and develop research programs related to stroke. Support is focused on developing:

New stroke therapies and their translation into clinical care
Improved diagnosis, diagnostic imaging and stroke care
Improved methods of stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation
Clinical and pre-clinical stroke-related research
Grants for personnel will also be considered. More information.