UAMS has scheduled a news conference Wednesday morning to make what it says will be one of the largest funding announcements in recent years.

Possible hint: Participants include Laura James, director of the Translational Research Institute. TRI works on applying clinical research to practical medical applications.


Last year, TRI completed an 1,800-page application for five years of funding of $26.1 million from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.  A description at the time said the proposal, in addition to supporting research, would serve people who’ve not traditionally been a research focus . The application aimed at aligning research with special populations — children, older adults, underrepresented minorities and people with “low health literacy.” The Institute had received $3.5 million in 2017 as a bridge toward a broader project.

The institute supports research at UAMS campuses, Children’s Hospital and the VA.



UPDATE FROM WEDNESDAY: Good guess here. UAMS has won the NIH grant it sought, in the amount of $24.2 million. From the release:


The CTSA award includes a main grant and two training grants. Laura James, M.D., is the principal investigator on the primary Translational Research Institute grant, which totals $20.6 million, and provides research infrastructure and oversite for the entire CTSA program.


“A CTSA is among the most significant NIH awards an institution can receive,” said James, also institute director and UAMS associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research.  “We are thrilled over this award because it represents the collective effort of numerous faculty members working across diverse research programs. This award demonstrates the synergy and strengths of research talents at UAMS. In addition, the CTSA will harmonize our efforts as health care providers and researchers to improve the health outcomes of Arkansans through research innovations.”


“We are also very proud that this opportunity allows us to work closer with our partner institutions, Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS), as well as the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus, to expand the impact of research throughout the state,” James said.


The institute is supporting novel research that addresses significant health issues in Arkansas, such as opioids and pain management, diabetes and obesity, mental health and rare diseases. It is also expanding opportunities for UAMS researchers to participate in multisite clinical trials, including cross-CTSA research opportunities.


“The Translational Research Institute has created a collaborative cross-campus and cross-CTSA environment that enables our researchers to thrive,” said Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research. “The funding is important, and the prestige of being part of the CTSA Program helps us recruit the best researchers nationally.”

The two other grants that are part of the award include the Institutional Career Development Core grant totaling $2.3 million, led by Mary Aitken, M.D., and Brooks Gentry, M.D.; and the National Research Service Award Training Core, $1.3 million, led by Nancy Rusch, Ph.D.