UAMS’ Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., Receives National Award for NIH IDeA Contributions

By David Robinson

The award presentation took place Feb. 28 at the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)/Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Coalition and Foundation Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Cornett, a distinguished professor in the College of Medicine Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, received the award from Taylor, who noted that Cornett was a principal investigator on one of the first Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) awards in 2001. The Arkansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program, which Cornett directs, builds on the work of the BRIN program.

“Larry has always shown a remarkable commitment to the goals of the program across Arkansas, the Southwestern Regional IDeA Network and the country,” Taylor said. “He has brought folks and institutions together to further research capacity, careers and goals. It is my honor to congratulate him as his accomplishments are recognized and he receives this well-deserved award and recognition.”

The award honors the commitment and service of Taylor, whose NIH service focused on expanding opportunities for students, faculty and institutions in states and territories that have had historically low levels of NIH funding for biomedical research.

Cornett has spent the last 22 years fostering growth of biomedical research across Arkansas through the IDeA program, while also leading regional and national efforts to expand the breadth, impact, and longevity of the program, said UAMS’ Alan J. Tackett, Ph.D., who highlighted Cornett’s impact in a talk at the event.

“The Arkansas INBRE has redefined how we train the next generation of scientists in our state to be at the leading edge of biomedical research,” said Tackett, a professor in the College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and deputy director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

Cornett’s efforts have helped bring in more than $200 million in Arkansas IDeA funding through his past work as UAMS vice chancellor for research and as principal investigator of Arkansas INBRE. This includes his support and championing for funding of six NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) programs and the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Institutional Development Award States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN) Data Coordinating and Operations Center.

Under Cornett’s leadership, Tackett said, the Arkansas INBRE program has bolstered the research infrastructure and capacity at undergraduate campuses across the state.

UAMS will recognize Cornett for his INBRE leadership and receipt of the Taylor Award at an April 5 reception.