Top row: Laura James, M.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College
of Medicine, and Director, Translational Research Institute, UAMS; Andres Caro,
Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry, Hendrix College; Clare Nesmith,
M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, UAMS.
Second row: Hendrix students Emilie Cassar ’23, Savannah Wiegel ’21, and
Allison Long ’21.
LITTLE ROCK (February
22, 2021) — Through a partnership
with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Hendrix College
students have a unique opportunity to address a critical human health issue in
the new Clinical and Translational Research Immersion (CTRI) Program.
Andres Caro, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at
Hendrix, is leading the educational components of the program in collaboration
with the UAMS-administered Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research
Excellence (Arkansas INBRE) and the UAMS Translational Research Institute. It
is supported by a $165,326 grant from the National Institute of General Medical
Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The program began in the fall 2020 semester with three
students interested in biomedical science careers; three additional students
joined this semester, and three more will participate this summer. Caro noted
that there are few opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct
translational research, which includes human study participants. Translational
research is the process of rapidly applying new knowledge and discoveries to
deliver treatments or practices that improve health.
“Translational medicine is the future of therapy, and
the CTRI Program will introduce Hendrix students to this cutting-edge field,”
The program is providing the students with a
team-based translational research experience as part of an ongoing opioid study
that involves eight UAMS researchers.
Arkansas INBRE’s mission is to build biomedical
research capacity across the state. Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., director, said the
CTRI program is a great addition to INBRE’s efforts.
Increasing the number of future researchers is also a
focus of the Translational Research Institute.
“We’re excited to be part of this collaboration,” said
Laura James, M.D., director of the institute. “It allows us a unique
opportunity to teach the principles of translational research beyond UAMS. This
is crucial to expanding the research education pipeline and developing future
The project also enables the expansion of an ongoing
study of neonatal opioid drug withdrawal, led by Clare Nesmith, M.D., an
associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics,
Division of Neonatology. The addition of a second clinical site at the
University of Louisville will allow investigators to better understand factors that
predict the development of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns.
Lori Devlin, D.O., an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics,
Division of Neonatal Medicine, and Janice Sullivan, M.D., a professor and vice chair
for Pediatrics Research in the Department of Pediatrics are leading the study
at the University of Louisville site.
The Arkansas INBRE program involves most of the
state’s universities and colleges working toward the same goal of encouraging
interest in and supporting cutting-edge scientific research that, ultimately,
benefits the state as a whole.
“Research experiences are widely recognized to benefit
undergraduate students in a number of ways,” Caro said. “Students who conduct
research are more likely to complete a baccalaureate degree, pursue additional
training in either graduate school or professional school, and go on to a
career in research.”
Arkansas INBRE is funded under the NIH Institutional Development
Award Program, or IDeA. The UAMS-based Arkansas INBRE program manages the
initiative for partners that include the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,
Arkansas State University, Hendrix College, Ouachita Baptist University, John
Brown University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and others. Along
with UAMS, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville participates as a
The Translational Research Institute is supported by
the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas,
Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading
liberal arts institutions,
and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40
Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation and
value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists
and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United
Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with
colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health;
a graduate school; 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
including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in
cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult
Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS
Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat
program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing —
COPD, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement
and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and four 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 Hospital, the VA Medical Center and
Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu
or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube