Laura James, M.D., Named UAMS Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical and Translational Research

By David Robinson

James will continue as director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, a position she has held since 2014, while expanding her role over the institution’s clinical and translational research efforts, said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D.

“Translational science is at the heart of our research mission,” Rahn said. “We want to ensure that our researchers have the tools they need to make discoveries and that new knowledge can be applied to improving health and health care as quickly and efficiently as possible. Dr. James is vital to this effort.”

James, as Translational Research Institute director, has overseen development of key services to help researchers achieve their clinical and translational science goals, including:


  • An online researcher-to-researcher networking/collaboration tool called UAMS Profiles
  • An automated services portal for researchers that ensures TRI’s timely assistance with a range of research needs
  • An updated website for researchers,
  • Creation of, a website and registry for Arkansans who want to participate in research, which will help UAMS researchers more quickly identify research volunteers
  • Creation of a new speaker’s series to education UAMS researchers about opportunities for health sciences innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Decreased by more than 60 percent the time for launching clinical trials that utilize TRI assistance with budget development and negotiations
  • Increased collaboration with other research institutions that are members of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium.

James, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, has a 22-year history of translational research in clinical pharmacology and toxicology at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She has held continuous funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases since 1999. As a clinician-scientist and founder of the startup company Acetaminophen Toxicity Diagnostics, LLC, she and colleagues developed a rapid diagnostic test for acetaminophen liver injury. In 2014 she was named inaugural fellow of the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA).

The Translational Research Institute was established with significant UAMS support after receiving a 2009 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).  The institute’s research services also include biostatistics, biomedical informatics, community engagement, and clinical trials services ranging from budget development and negotiation, regulatory assistance, trial recruitment and research coordination.

James received her medical degree from the University of South Carolina and completed a pediatrics residency at UAMS. She completed fellowships in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAMS, respectively.

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 eight 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, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community 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.