August 23, 2019

Jeannette Y. Lee, Ph.D.

Jeanette Lee

Professor Department of Biostatistics UAMS College of Medicine Research Interest Statement Dr. Lee is a biostatistician whose primary cancer research focus is in clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of malignancies in persons living with HIV/AIDS. She has been involved in the statistical design and analysis of phase I-III therapeutic trials and studies aimed…


UAMS Program Starting Sept. 10 Offers Support to Children of Cancer Patients

| LITTLE ROCK – A group to help children ages 6-12 better cope with their parent’s cancer diagnosis is set to begin Sept. 10 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

CLIMB, which stands for Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery, will be offered from 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 10-Oct. 15 at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

There is no cost to participate, and pre-registration is required. To register, call Carrie Calhoon, L.C.S.W., at (501) 603-1612.

While the children participate in art projects and interaction focused on emotions such as sadness, anxiety, fear and anger, their parents meet separately to discuss ways to support their children throughout their illness.

Oncology social workers lead both the children’s group and parents’ group. Siblings are welcome to attend together.

CLIMB is a national program sponsored by The Children’s Treehouse Foundation.

 


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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Free Skin Cancer Screening Offered at UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute on Sept. 14

| LITTLE ROCK — People concerned about spots on their skin are invited to participate in a free skin cancer screening from 9 a.m. – noon Sept. 14 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The screenings will take place on the second floor of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and will be conducted by the UAMS Department of Dermatology.

Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis and are encouraged to arrive no later than 11 a.m. Free parking is available in UAMS Parking 3 at Cedar Street and Capitol Avenue. For information, call (501) 526-6994.

Signs and symptoms of skin cancer include new spots on the skin or spots that change in size, shape or color. Potential signs also include bumps, patches or sores that don’t heal after two to three months.

 


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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Robert Eoff, Ph.D., Receives $1.2 Million Grant from National Science Foundation

Robert Eoff, Ph.D.

Robert Eoff, Ph.D.

| Researcher Robert Eoff, Ph.D., has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) on DNA damage, cell replication and its implications for diseases like dementia, ALS and cancer.

Eoff is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the UAMS College of Medicine and a member of UAMS’ Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Julie Gunderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at Hendrix College in Conway, is collaborating with Eoff on the project. The four-year grant will also support graduate student training at UAMS and undergraduate trainees at Hendrix.

Eoff’s research team studies what happens when DNA damage is not repaired in a timely manner and ends up blocking the mechanics behind how copies of new cells are made. Specifically, he studies the effect of large amounts of guanine in DNA sequences, which can form unusual structures called G-quadruplexes (G4).

“Imagine trying to copy a document containing over six billion letters in the span of a few hours,” Eoff said. “Now imagine finding that the text contains many words like ‘Mississippi,’ ‘Czechoslovakia,’ ‘Oberschleissheim’ and ‘Solgohachia.’ Even though you’re on a tight schedule, you might have to slow down a bit when you come to those tricky words.

“As it turns out, this is probably a good analogy for what happens when enzymes involved in DNA replication encounter certain sequences that contain an abundance of guanine bases,” Eoff said.

Errors in these G4 sequences can lead to changes in the genome that are associated with human disease. For example, neurological diseases such as frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the intellectual disability fragile X syndrome have all been linked to dysfunctional G4 maintenance.

There is also a substantive and growing body of literature linking G4 to the biology of cancer and cancer therapies. Many cancer-related genes are controlled by G4 motifs, and chromosomes in tumor specimens tend to be broken more frequently near G4 sites than other DNA sequences.

However, scientists do not fully understand how these errors occur.

For this specific grant, Eoff will study the role of a special enzyme called Rev1 in copying G4 sequences. Rev1 is a DNA polymerase — an enzyme that catalyzes synthesis of new strands of DNA.

“Successful completion of this research will give us a better understanding of how G4 replication errors occur and how they might have come about in the first place,” Eoff said. “Hopefully, this will give us new insight into replication barriers, which cause a wide range of issues in humans and other species, as a first step toward putting this greater understanding to use in the form of new treatments and therapies.”


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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August 13, 2019

Alicia Byrd, Ph.D.

Alicia Byrd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology UAMS College of Medicine Research Interest Statement DNA damage occurs tens of thousands of times per day in human cells from both endogenous and environmental sources. In order to preserve the genetic material, cells have evolved multiple mechanisms to detect and repair DNA damage. Mutations in genes…


UAMS Scientist Awarded $764,000 NIH Grant For Highly Advanced Research Equipment

Samuel Mackintosh, Ph.D.

The NIH S10 High-End Instrumentation Award awarded to Samuel G. Mackintosh, Ph.D., will purchase a mass spectrometer featuring the most up-to-date technologies, similar to the one shown here.

| LITTLE ROCK — A grant of almost $764,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to purchase biomedical research equipment with new capabilities unavailable elsewhere in Arkansas.

UAMS scientist Samuel G. Mackintosh, Ph.D., received the NIH S10 High-End Instrumentation Award totaling $763,971 to fund the purchase of a mass spectrometer, a piece of equipment used to identify and compare proteins essential for the development of new therapies for cancer and other diseases.

Mackintosh serves as co-director of the UAMS Proteomics Core, a shared resource at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute that provides access to technologies, services and scientific consultation for scientists throughout the university, across the country and in Puerto Rico.

“Our goal is to identify new avenues for diagnosis and treatment by comparing proteins present in diseases to proteins present in healthy individuals. The UAMS Proteomics Core supports this research by identifying and quantifying large numbers of proteins from cells, tissues, blood and other biological sources,” said Mackintosh, who also is an associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The core facility is co-directed by Rick Edmondson, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and director of proteomics. Core staff members include Renny Lan, Aaron Storey, Lisa Orr and Robert Brown.

“Investments by the College of Medicine and Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in the rapidly developing field of mass spectrometry have allowed us to keep up with the advances in the field, ensuring that state-of-the-art technology is available to UAMS researchers,” Mackintosh said.

Three NIH instrument grants have been awarded in Arkansas since 2015, with two going to Mackintosh.

The NIH grant also builds on recent efforts at UAMS to strengthen collaboration between research programs funded by the NIH Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which seeks to expand scientific research in 23 historically underfunded states and Puerto Rico.

It also will support proteomics research through three Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), IDeA research centers at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital that focus on career development for young scientists and expansion of institutional research capabilities.

The COBRE research centers the grant will support focus on three areas:

  • The Center for Translational Pediatric Research at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute directed by Alan Tackett, Ph.D., associate director of basic research at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;
  • The Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory Responses at UAMS directed by Mark Smeltzer, Ph.D., professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Orthopaedics;
  • The Center for Musculoskeletal Disease Research at UAMS directed by Charles O’Brien, Ph.D., professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine-Endocrinology.

Other UAMS researchers supporting the instrument grant application include Kevin Raney, Ph.D.; Maria Almeida, Ph.D.; and Srinivas Ayyadevara, Ph.D.

The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Core, directed by Stephanie Byrum, Ph.D., will play a key role in analyzing data generated by the new mass spectrometer.

This federal grant will bolster the Cancer Institute’s ongoing efforts to receive National Cancer Institute Designation.

To achieve designation, cancer centers undergo a highly competitive assessment process that demonstrates an outstanding depth and breadth of research in three areas: basic laboratory, patient/clinical and population-based. The designation brings with it many benefits, including expanded access to federal funding for researchers and improved access to clinical trials for patients.


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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UAMS Myeloma Researcher Awarded Nearly $543,000 from Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

UAMS Myeloma Researcher Awarded Nearly $543,000 from Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

“We’ll be trying to find new drivers or mutations of myeloma. By finding these new genes, we can identify new targets for future drugs so it could lead to new treatment options in the future,” Brian Walker, Ph.D., said of the three-year grant for $542,486 he was recently awarded from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

| LITTLE ROCK — Brian Walker, Ph.D., with the Myeloma Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $542,486, three-year grant from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to look at changes in the DNA sequence that effects the development and advancement of multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells in the blood.

The society’s Transitional Research Program award is titled “The Impact of Non-Coding Somatic Mutations on the Prognosis and Progression of Multiple Myeloma.”

“This application cycle was exceptionally competitive with 266 applications submitted and only 33 awarded funding,” wrote Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., chief scientific officer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, in a letter to Walker notifying him of the grant.

An earlier study through the Myeloma Genome Project investigated the mutated genes of DNA in myeloma patients’ tumors. This previous study concentrated on the coding regions of the genome, the exome, where DNA is transcribed into RNA and subsequently translated into the proteins that make the framework of a cell. However, the earlier study only accounted for about 1% of the genome.

“It’s the area we most understand, but it is just a small fraction of the DNA in the cell,” Walker said. “So we’ve recently performed some whole genome sequencing of about 100 myeloma patients to look at what’s happening in the rest of the genome.

The current grant will allow for expanding research into mutations in the rest of the genome, termed the non-coding region of the genome.

Earlier research revealed regions that were mutated outside of the exomes that might also be important, many of them in areas that potentially control gene expression and could lead to increasing or decreasing the amount of protein it creates, Walker said.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the last five years looking at the different mutations in patients that are contributing to disease progression and we still have a number of patients who don’t seem to have any high-risk markers but still have the disease,” Walker said. “These are what we called the missing drivers,” adding that mutated genes cause the disease.

“A lot of patients don’t seem to have any of those drivers so it’s interesting for us to look at the rest of the genome to try to identify those new drivers elsewhere.”

“This grant will take that study forward and allow us to try to determine if any of those non-coded mutations have any prognostic significance in myeloma patients,” he said, adding that the study would include looking specifically at the regions found to be mutated in the original 100 patients.

The second part of the project is adding MGUS and smoldering myeloma patients to the study to see if these mutations are also associated with disease progression.

“We’ll be trying to find new drivers or mutations of myeloma. By finding these new genes, we can identify new targets for future drugs so it could lead to new treatment options in the future,” Walker said.

 “The LLS grants are quite prestigious,” Walker said. “Having one shows that our research is well valued outside of UAMS and brings in some grant funding which contributes to the National Cancer Institute Designation that the UAMS Cancer Institute is pursuing.”

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designation is awarded through a highly competitive assessment process during which cancer centers must demonstrate outstanding depth and breadth of high-quality cancer research, including basic laboratory, patient/clinical and population-based research. It would bring with it an estimated $72 million annual economic impact to Arkansas, along with the ability to receive federal research grant funding and clinical trials only available to designated centers.

 


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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Hematologist Oncologist Akash Mukherjee, M.D., Joins UAMS Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program

Hematologist oncologist Akash Mukherjee, M.D., has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Hematologist oncologist Akash Mukherjee, M.D., has joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

| LITTLE ROCK — Fellowship-trained hematologist oncologist Akash Mukherjee, M.D., has joined the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

He sees patients at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and specializes in allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplantation. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation involves transplanting healthy stem cells obtained from a donor to treat patients with lymphomas, leukemias and other blood disorders. Autologous transplants involve collecting stem cells from a patient’s own bone marrow or blood to be infused into the patient and is used to treat multiple myeloma, relapsed lymphoma and other blood disorders.

He also specializes in CAR-T cellular therapy used to treat various malignant hematological disorders.

Mukherjee serves as an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology.

After graduating from Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, India, one of the country’s premier medical schools, Mukherjee completed his residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University/Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

He received specialized training in two fellowship programs: the three-year Hematology-Oncology Fellowship at Houston Methodist Hospital, where he served as chief fellow, and the one-year Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Mukherjee’s research examines the clinical outcomes of allogeneic transplant patients, including factors such as post-transplant hemorrhagic cystitis, pretransplant use of novel small molecule inhibitors in acute leukemia and lymphoma, clinical outcome of post-transplant cyclophosphamide-based haploidentical stem cell transplant in lymphoma patients, in vivo anti-thymocyte globulin based matched unrelated donor transplant, and post allogeneic transplant iron overload, among other areas.

He is board certified in hematology, oncology and internal medicine and is a member of the American College of Physicians, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society of Bone Marrow Transplantation.

The UAMS Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and is Arkansas’ only adult transplant program of its type.


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state's Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Childrens Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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Fellowship Program Gives Undergrads Glimpse Into Biomedical Research Careers

Robert Eoff, Ph.D., (left) served as mentor for Hendrix College senior Madison Blue during the Arkansas INBRE Summer Research Fellowship Program at UAMS.

Robert Eoff, Ph.D., (left) served as mentor for Hendrix College senior Madison Blue during the Arkansas INBRE Summer Research Fellowship Program at UAMS.

| A rising college senior, Huddoy Walters’ sights are set on a career in biomedical research.

“I want to be a scientist, most definitely,” said Walters, a native Jamaican and biochemistry major at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

That dream of a future in the research field was cemented by Walters’ two-time participation in a summer fellowship at UAMS sponsored by Arkansas INBRE, a program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and designed to promote biomedical research capacity and support for promising undergraduate students.

Larry Cornett, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for research at UAMS, serves as principal investigator for Arkansas INBRE and has worked on the Summer Research Fellowship Program since its inception in 2002.

“The summer program is one of the most exciting parts of my job. It opens doors for students, many of whom are the first person in their family to attend college, and shows them firsthand what it takes to be part of a research team,” Cornett said.

INBRE Summer Research Fellow Huddoy Walters (back) works with mentor Antino Allen, Ph.D., in his lab at UAMS.

INBRE Summer Research Fellow Huddoy Walters (back) works with mentor Antino Allen, Ph.D., in his lab at UAMS.

In addition to pairing rising juniors and seniors with scientists at UAMS, students in the 10-week program also are placed at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which participate in Arkansas INBRE as research-intensive lead institutions. In 2019, a total of 13 students participated at UAMS, and three took part at the University of Arkansas.

During his first stint in the program during summer 2018, Walters conducted biochemistry research in a lab at the University of Arkansas. He spent the following summer at UAMS working alongside Antino Allen, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAMS College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“My first research experience was in a program much like the INBRE Summer Research Fellowship. Now, by serving as a mentor, I can provide the same type of opportunities to the next generation of scientists,” said Allen, whose research examines how inflammation and oxidative stress affect neuronal anatomy and cognitive function after exposure to X-rays, heavy ion irradiation or traumatic brain injury.

For participant Madison Blue, the program provided the chance to experience graduate-level research before completing her biochemistry degree at Hendrix College in Conway.

“The fellowship program helped prepare me for what I’ll encounter in graduate school, and I didn’t have to leave Arkansas to participate,” said Blue, a Jonesboro native.

Blue, Walters and the additional fellows also participated in weekly workshops addressing topics such as research ethics and science writing. To wrap up their experience, they presented their research at the Central Arkansas Undergraduate Research Symposium, held July 26 at UAMS. A travel award offered to each summer fellow gives them an additional opportunity to present their research at an upcoming symposium or conference of their choice.

Robert Eoff, Ph.D., a cancer researcher who served as Blue’s mentor, said working with undergraduates brings a renewed energy to his lab and helps him improve his own teaching skills.

“For many of the students, this is their first exposure to biomedical research, so we have to break things down to be sure that the rationale for the study design and experimental details are clear and understandable,” said Eoff, associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Eoff’s research team studies what happens when DNA damage is not repaired in a timely manner and ends up blocking the ability to replicate cells.

The fellowship program also serves the important function of connecting UAMS to undergraduate institutions across the state, where up-and-coming researchers begin their training.

The UAMS-based Arkansas INBRE program manages the initiative for partners that include the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas State University, Hendrix College, Ouachita Baptist University, John Brown University and others.

“From my perspective, there’s a great cooperative spirit between UAMS and the colleges we work with across the state. It’s our goal to provide students with opportunities and experiences that elevate them to a level where they know first-hand what it means to perform biomedical research, which helps them become better advocates for science and more competitive applicants for grad school or other educational opportunities in the future,” Eoff said.

Cornett agreed, stating that he and the mentors grow attached to their students and continue to monitor their educational process. Two Summer Research Fellows have even gone on to become UAMS faculty members: Lindsey Dayer, Pharm.D., associate professor in the UAMS College of Pharmacy, and Stephanie Byrum, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“It’s always satisfying to see our fellows succeed in their chosen field,” Cornett said.

INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health under the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


August 1, 2019

Tom Kelly, Ph.D.

Tom Kelly, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Department of Pathology UAMS College of Medicine Research Interest Statement I work with Steve Post, Ph.D., on the role of tumor-associated macrophages and scavenger receptor-A (SR-A) in promoting the rapid formation and outgrowth of tumors that we observe in the in vivo mammary tumor virus-polyoma middle T (MMTV-PyMT) model of breast cancer. We…


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