UAMS Proteomics Workshops Educate, Promote Collaborations

Scientists from across the nation gathered at UAMS in April to learn more about their specialty: proteomics.

Scientists from across the nation gathered at UAMS in April to learn more about their specialty: proteomics.

May 8, 2018 | A skillful proteomics facility translates into improved care for a host of conditions.

The research it fosters in identifying the functions of proteins drives the development of new treatments for diseases with high prevalence in Arkansas such as cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disease. The key is a trained, knowledgeable staff.

The UAMS Proteomics Core hosted two workshops in April with that objective in mind. It welcomed proteomics core staff, faculty and graduate students from across the nation to share its expertise in the specialized research field of proteomics.

The IDeA (Institutional Development Award) National Resource for Proteomics, a partnership between the Arkansas and Oklahoma INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) programs, sponsored the workshops. Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research, directs the Arkansas INBRE program.

The UAMS Proteomics Core hosted two workshops for proteomics staff, faculty and graduate students.

The UAMS Proteomics Core hosted two workshops for proteomics staff, faculty and graduate students.

Puerto Rico and 23 states make up the IDeA program, which is intended to help states that historically receive less grant money than other states for biomedical research. In all, this year’s workshops hosted 30 participants representing 22 of 23 states and Puerto Rico.

Core directors met April 3-5 to learn new approaches, share their experiments with peers, compare notes and share ideas.

“We want core directors in IDeA states to leave here able to implement new approaches to help their facilities and local investigators,” said Alan Tackett, Ph.D., co-director of the IDeA National Resource for Proteomics.

Faculty and graduates students from IDeA states assembled April 10-12 to learn proper experiment design for data collection and how to analyze the data. Faculty and students were able to bring experimental ideas to the workshop and receive guidance on how to effectively perform their studies.

“This helps address an issue we see in proteomics, which is incorrectly designed experiments that end up costing time and money,” said Tackett.

Researchers who would not interact otherwise are brought together, said Tackett. This creates countless opportunities for collaborations, including at UAMS.

“More traditionally, we serve the needs of UAMS and the people of Arkansas, but these workshops help us operate nationwide to serve people from the other IDeA states as well,” said Tackett.

Continued support from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the UAMS Translational Research Institute and the Arkansas INBRE has enabled the UAMS Proteomics Core to establish itself as a hub for proteomics service and educational opportunities, said Tackett.

The UAMS Proteomics Core is not only able to examine samples, but help investigators plan projects, design experiments and analyze results. The UAMS Proteomics Core is co-directed by Rick Edmondson, Ph.D., and Sam Mackintosh, Ph.D.

“It’s very difficult work, but we’re fortunate to have an exceptional proteomics core staff that is as well-qualified as any group in the country, and has a high expertise in operating the equipment and reading data,” said Tackett. “These workshops allow us to take what we do well and help people across the nation advance science and ultimately patient health.”