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Monthly Archives: March 2014


TRI’s Newsletter, The TRIbune, Is Online

The March issue of The TRIbune is now online. The newsletter features new TRI Director Laura James, M.D., and Associate Director Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., who built their research careers studying the opposite ends of the human lifespan.

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Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference April 2-4

The fifth annual Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference will be held April 2-4 at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton.

To learn more and to register, visit Standard registration is $300. For students and postdoctoral fellows, the cost is $100. Meals and lodging are included. For more information call (501) 727-5435.

UAMS is one of several partners of the event that brings together leading researchers in nanotechnology science and engineering with talent in the health and medical sciences to develop collaborations to improve health care.

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Commercialization Workshops for Researchers, Entrepreneurs

UAMS BioVentures is hosting two free commercialization workshops in April for entrepreneurs and academic researchers.

The workshops are from 8 a.m. to noon on April 3 and April 17. Sharon Ballard, CEO and president of EnableVentures, will be the featured speaker at both events.

Commercialization Strategies Event Details and Registration
Best Proposal Practices for the SBIR/STTR Program Event Details and Registration
Registration is required.

UAMS researchers planning to attend are encouraged to contact Ben Wofford at BioVentures at for more information about commercialization assistance.

UAMS BioVentures is a startup incubator and the commercialization and licensing arm for UAMS.

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Online Registration Ends April 4 for Translational Science 2014

Be part of the year’s premier research meeting – register today for Translational Science 2014! Join more than 500 of your peers April 9-11 in Washington, D.C., for three days of networking and education. Connect with leaders and peers to learn and share best practices, and go back to your lab with new ideas and strategies to take your research even further!

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March 26 Is Deadline for Student Research Day Abstracts

The abstract submission deadline for Student Research Day is March 26. Check out the new online form and other pertinent information for the April 16 Student Research Day.

The 2014 McGehee Distinguished Lectureship speaker is Tom Caskey, M.D., F.A.C.P., professor of molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Caskey will present “Genome Sequencing Utility in Disease Gene Discovery and Patient Care” at noon in the Wilson Education Building, Room 126.

Contact: Linda Williams,

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Vanderbilt Researcher to Speak at TRI Health Literacy Research Series

Russell Rothman, M.D., M.P.P., an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics and a translational research leader at Vanderbilt University, will present the next UAMS Translational Research Institute Health Literacy Research Grand Rounds on April 4, from noon-1 p.m. in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Room G219.

Rothman, the principal investigator on several studies addressing literacy and health communication in obesity prevention and diabetes, will present “Addressing Health Literacy and Health Communication in Obesity and Diabetes.”
Lunch will be served to the first 40 attendees. Registration is not required. View a flier about the event.

Rothman is director of the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research, associate director of the Vanderbilt Center for Diabetes Translational Research and co-director of the Community Engagement Research Core at the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical & Translational Research.
He has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Diabetes Association, the Pfizer Clear Health Communication Initiative, and other sources to examine the role of literacy and numeracy in patients with diabetes and obesity. He has served as a reviewer on the NIH Special Emphasis Panel on Health Literacy and the Pfizer Health Literacy Fellowship Awards. Rothman has been a Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Health Literacy Grand Rounds series will be broadcast via interactive video to UAMS’ eight Regional Centers (formerly the Area Health Education Centers, AHECs) across the state.
Low health literacy is a significant issue in Arkansas that contributes to higher health care costs and poor health outcomes, said Kristie Hadden, Ph.D., director of health literacy in the UAMS Center for Rural Health and coordinator of the TRI Health Literacy Research Grand Rounds.

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Laura James, M.D., and Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., are inviting all researchers to bring their ideas as plans for UAMS’ research enterprise are drafted for the next five years.

New TRI Leaders Bring Complementary Research Perspectives

The distinguished research careers of Laura James, M.D., and Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., have been built at opposite ends of the human lifespan.

James, a pediatrics researcher, and Beck, a geriatrics researcher, had not worked together until they were recently named by Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., to leadership posts at the Translational Research Institute (TRI). James is director, while Beck is associate director, and both are co-principal investigators for the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

“We’re excited to have this opportunity,” said James, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics. “We each bring somewhat different backgrounds that I believe will contribute to a productive partnership for UAMS’ research enterprise.”

James takes the role previously held by Curtis Lowery, M.D., who stepped aside to focus on his duties as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Distance Health. Greer Sullivan, M.D., M.S.P.H., who was leading the CTSA application process for TRI, recently accepted a position at the University of California at Riverside School of Medicine.

James and Beck are taking up the mantle to produce a successful application for a second CTSA, which provides comprehensive support for collaborative, multidisciplinary research by investigators in UAMS’ five colleges and Graduate School, UAMS regional centers, and several partner institutions. The current five-year, $19.9 million CTSA expires at the end of March, but it is anticipated that bridge funding will be made available to support the CTSA until the next request for applications is released.

James said one of her goals is to ensure an inclusive approach to the work of TRI.

“I think it’s crucial to hear as many voices as possible as we develop our plans for the next five years,” she said. “All UAMS researchers are invited to participate in the process.”

James’ research career has focused on acetaminophen toxicity and addresses the study of mechanisms 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 TRI co-director 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.

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Funding Opportunities

These new funding opportunities were compiled by TRI’s Comparative Effectiveness Research component. The linked document includes an archive page with funding opportunities that are still open.

TRI Now Taking Applications for 2014 KL2 Awards

Applications are being accepted through June 2 for TRI-sponsored KL2 Career Development Awards. Benefits of the two-year program for UAMS junior investigators include:

Up to $52,000 each year for salary support
Up to $25,000 each year in research funds
Travel and graduate-level tuition support
Eligible candidates are those with professional doctorates committed to academic careers in translational research.

View details of the program.

Download TRI’s 2014 Request for Applications.