Fred Prior, Ph.D., Named Inaugural Chair of the UAMS Department of Biomedical Informatics

By ChaseYavondaC

The newly established department develops computational tools to assess and manage medical and public health information for patient care and research programs. It was elevated from a free-standing division to a full department this year to give a greater focus on advanced medical information technologies.

Prior comes to UAMS from the Electronic Radiology Laboratory in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he has served as director since 2003. He is also director of the Center for High Performance Computing, which he created and supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as associate director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and a research professor of radiology.

“The importance of a strong, vibrant, cutting-edge biomedical informatics enterprise to our institutional success cannot be overstated,” said Pope L. Moseley, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine and UAMS executive vice chancellor. “Establishment of the department and Dr. Prior’s appointment will ensure continued momentum in the informatics advances made at UAMS in recent years and help us to truly leverage data and maximize its potential for improving health and health care.”

Previous informatics initiatives at UAMS included the 2010 creation of the Enterprise Data Warehouse, a searchable database of de-identified patient information. Last year, the data warehouse was reorganized to enhance the ability of UAMS researchers to use clinical data to improve clinical operations and research projects.

Prior is involved in numerous large clinical trials and is experienced in managing data collection and quality assurance for industry- and NIH-sponsored trials. He has served on numerous NIH panels relating to imaging and informatics and has held editorial and journal review positions.

He is the principal investigator for the Cancer Imaging Archive, supported by the National Cancer Institute, which provides researchers, educators and the general public with a vast, freely accessible, open archive of cancer-specific medical images and metadata. The archive will be moving to UAMS with Prior and will provide a new research and training resource.

Prior holds seven U.S. and international patents and is working with a consortium of investigators on the Human Connectome Project, which is comprehensively mapping neural pathways of the human brain.

Prior received a Master of Science in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1984 and a Ph.D. in computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago in 1992. He served as chief of the Section on Radiologic Computing and Imaging Science at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine from 1993 to 1997. Prior spent six years in in medical information management research and development, holding senior management positions at Philips Medical Systems and Eastman Kodak Co., as well as Silicon Valley startups.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 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. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.