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Monthly Archives: September 2014


TRI Removing Step in IRB Protocol Submission Process

Research protocols submitted through CLARA are no longer receiving an automatic content review prior to the protocols’ arrival at the UAMS Institutional Review Board (IRB) office. On Oct. 13, the UAMS Translational Research Services Center (TRSC) began routing all submissions not requiring budget/coverage analysis directly to the IRB, where they will receive their first content review. The practice traditionally has involved an automatic pre-IRB review by the Research Support Center (now part of the TRSC). To avoid redundancy due to the IRB office having its own pre-IRB review process, this TRSC service is now being provided only at the request of researchers. Investigators who would like assistance with protocol development and IRB submission may request services at

Analytics Tools Help TRI Size Up UAMS’ Research Past, Future

Jiang Bian, Ph.D., found that TRI has had a positive impact on research at UAMS.

A recent analysis found that TRI has played an important and effective role in promoting collaborative research at UAMS.

Led by Jiang Bian, Ph.D., the social network analysis looked at researcher collaborations based on grant data from 2006 to 2012. UAMS received its Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) in 2009.

Bian’s work has led to new informatics tools for measuring the efficiency of UAMS’ research environment, whether it is improving, and whether external factors are playing a role. The analysis was published in the February 2014 Journal of Biomedical Informatics.

“We found that the CTSA and the establishment of TRI has had a positive impact,” said Bian, a researcher in the Department of Biomedical Informatics whose analysis was supported by TRI. “Prior to the TRI, there were far fewer collaborations and smaller, more isolated groups of researchers.”

Prediction Model
An intriguing element to his work is a statistical model showing which researchers should collaborate. The model was developed using 80 percent of the researcher population and then verified by applying it to the other 20 percent.

“Being able to predict is pretty exciting,” Bian said. “It helps people understand what sort of collaboration environment we have and whether the things we’re doing are enriching the environment for collaboration.”

Bian said TRI will reach out to researchers who are not collaborating but who should be based on the prediction model. “We’ll share our results with them so that they’re aware of the opportunity.”

In addition, Bian is developing visual analytics for TRI. The visualization tool, based on collaborations found in grant data, is designed to help any audience understand the nature of research networks and how they may evolve over time. The tool can track individual UAMS researchers as well as groups of researchers over time.

View Bian’s poster presentation: Interactive visualization for understanding and analyzing biomedical research collaboration networks.

TRI Awards $300,000 for Six Pilot Studies

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) has awarded six UAMS researchers approximately $50,000 each for pilot studies. The annual awards are made to those studies with the strongest likelihood of leading to improved health and health care. The researchers and their project titles are:

Paul Gottschall, Ph.D., College of Medicine (COM), Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology: Targeting lecticans to enhance synaptic plasticity in Alzheimer’s disease
Gur Kaushal, Ph.D., COM, Department of Internal Medicine: Antifibrotic therapy by upregulation of autophagy to reverse renal fibrosis in chronic kidney disease
Dennis Kuo, M.D., COM, Department of Pediatrics: Barriers and facilitators to health care transition from pediatric to adult health care
Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, Ph.D., COM, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology: Novel therapy to reduce injury to human donor kidneys prior to transplant
Mark Mennemeier, Ph.D., COM, Department of Neurobiology & Developmental Sciences: A joint CTSA (Clinical and Translational Science Award) project with WUSM (Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis) leading to a phase II clinical trial for tinnitus
Steven Post, Ph.D., COM, Department of Pathology: Pathological features that predict clinical outcome in vulvar squamous cell carcinoma patients
TRI utilizes National Institutes of Health (NIH) Study Section review criteria in making its selections. Reviewers are not involved in the review and scoring of applications where potential conflicts of interest exist.

Funding Opportunities

This list of funding opportunities was updated Sept. 9 and includes a tab with archived funding opportunities that remain open.