UAMS-based Arkansas INBRE Receives $3.9 million to Support Biomedical Research

By Spencer Watson

The total funding of the grant over a five-year period is $18 million. The grant provides research mentored fellowships to undergraduate students and faculty from predominantly undergraduate institutions, expands statewide resources for bioinformatics, and hosts an annual research conference. The grant ensures the Arkansas program will reach 19 years of continuous NIH funding.

“It’s hard to overstate how important this funding is in building a biomedical research capacity across the state in a highly collaborative manner. The Arkansas INBRE program involves almost a dozen of the state’s largest universities working toward the same goal of encouraging interest in and supporting cutting-edge scientific research that, ultimately, benefits the state as a whole,” said Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research and principle investigator for the INBRE grant.

Arkansas INBRE is funded under the NIH Intuitional Development Award Program, or IDeA, and stands for IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. 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. The University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock participate as research-intensive lead institutions.

One of the primary initiatives of the Arkansas INBRE program is to support 10-week summer mentored undergraduate research fellowships at the lead institutions.

“The goal is to offer this special opportunity at the undergraduate level to spark student interest in a research-oriented career, and we’ve been highly successful in this regard,” said Cornett.

Since 2002, 161 undergraduates have participated in the summer fellowship program, with more than 50 percent of those now working in research or medical-related careers. Nearly a quarter of undergraduate fellowship participants are in graduate school, and five are doing postdoctoral research. Four are now faculty members.

“Dr. Helen Beneš, the associate director of the INBRE Program, and I are thrilled to have the opportunity over the next five years to build upon our accomplishments, which are aimed at increasing the scientific workforce in Arkansas and increasing the competitiveness of Arkansas institutions for funding to support biomedical research that will ultimately benefit human health,” Cornett said.

The INBRE’s outreach also includes a number of  different types of grants to faculty — from shorter summer research to 2.5-year grants —  and an annual research  conference, all seeking to promote more Arkansas-grown research talent and ultimately to attract more research funding to the state.

 



UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and six 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 and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,727 students, 822 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 throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube or Instagram.

###