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.