UAMS Pharmacology and Toxicology Program Wins Prestigious $665,000 Training Grant

By David Robinson

UAMS research leaders say the prestige of the hard-won T32 Training Grant is as significant as the money behind it, putting the department in the company of schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke and Vanderbilt. The NIGMS funds only 31 such pharmacology and toxicology training programs across the country. 

“We want to bring the best students here, and having our program listed on the NIGMS website will help us attract the best students from Arkansas and all over the country,” said Philip Mayeux, Ph.D., professor and director of education in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. “Good students are looking for competitive opportunities like the T32 fellowships, and if they get one it looks very good on their CV (curriculum vitae).”

Mayeux said the department’s track record for developing predoctoral students into successful research professionals was a major factor in winning the T32. The other factor was demonstrating that the department had a training program in place, which the UAMS Translational Research Institute enabled with financial support of the department’s Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology (SPaT) Fellowship program.

“TRI allowed us to fund our first SPaT trainee (Neil Detweiler), and because we had the program up and running the NIGMS was willing to fund it,” said Mayeux, who also directs the Translational Research Institute’s Translational Technologies Support Center.  

Translational Research Institute Director Curtis Lowery, M.D., thanked Mayeux for his hard work on the grant and Nancy Rusch, Ph.D., for her leadership as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

“This is exciting news, especially considering the research funding environment we’re experiencing nationally,” Lowery said.

The T32 is also matched nearly dollar for dollar by a combination of funds from the Translational Research Institute, the College of Medicine and the chancellor’s office. “That was also viewed favorably in our application,” Mayeux said. 

The T32 grant will support two SPaT fellows this year and four fellows each year thereafter through 2017. In addition to a stipend, T32 fellows enjoy perks such as health insurance, travel funds, and career development opportunities through the Translational Research Institute and the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR).

The SPaT fellows chosen from within UAMS will come from three feeder programs:

  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences, William D. Wessinger, Ph.D. , director
  • Pharmacology Graduate Program, Paul Gottschall, Ph.D., director
  • Interdisciplinary Toxicology program, Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, Ph.D., director

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 790 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit or