UAMS’ Kevin Sexton, M.D., Named BioVentures President

By David Robinson

Sexton, an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Surgery, became interim director in 2021 following the death of Nancy Gray, Ph.D., who had led BioVentures since 2015. BioVentures helps equip researchers with technology licensing, patent protection and other resources that are required for company startups.

“I am excited and honored for this new opportunity to lead BioVentures, an organization with a long track record of supporting Team UAMS and growing the local economy,” Sexton said.

He brings advanced expertise in informatics and software that he hopes will help expand the technology licensing capabilities and bring more research developments to the market.

“We want discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship to become part of the campus DNA,” Sexton said.

In addition to his surgical and BioVentures roles, Sexton is co-director of the Health Sciences Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HSIE) Training Program for UAMS postdoctoral fellows, a program of the Translational Research Institute. He is also associate director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and associate chief clinical informatics officer for Innovation, Research, and Entrepreneurship, although his time in these roles has been reduced.

Sexton has multiple patents and more in progress with he and his colleagues at the institute disclosing a new technology every quarter on average. Sexton has founded and sold two companies. His first patent came from an invention during his surgical residency at Vanderbilt University. His advanced medical and computer skills enabled him to devise an intravenous sensor that would show whether a catheter was properly in a patient’s vein.

He also learned that entrepreneurship can improve health for many more people than he could possibly help by seeing patients individually.

“I wanted to scale my impact on patient outcomes, and software was a natural fit with my interests and entrepreneurship experience,” he said.

After joining UAMS in 2015 as a trauma surgeon, Sexton grew his knowledge in research and the role of computers in health care. He became board certified in clinical informatics and much of his work has been investigating new software systems for UAMS, analyzing how best to integrate systems and examining how the electronic health record can be used for research.

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. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six 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 Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.