UAMS Researchers See 12% Increase in Grant Funding for FY2021

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As Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation of the UAMS, Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., oversees the institution’s research enterprise.

Oct 28 2021 | LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and its affiliated research institutions saw research funding grow 12.2% last year, with $177.4 million in grants by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

It is the second consecutive year of a double-digit increase in research funding coming from outside the institution. Last year, UAMS received $158.1 million in grants, up 43% from the previous year.

“Our grant funding growth reflects the dedication of UAMS’ talented and innovative researchers,” said Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. “I’m proud of their award success because it’s critical to our mission to address important health issues in Arkansas and beyond.”

Most of the funding comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal sources.

UAMS researchers work at the UAMS main campus, regional campuses, and at the affiliated Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS). They compete for grants with their counterparts at research institutions in the United States.

Researchers at the UAMS main campus in Little Rock and its regional campuses accounted for $142.8 million in external funding in fiscal 2021. The funding supports 326 projects and represents a 13.8% increase over the $14 billion USD. 125 million in 2020.

Please note that these are annual totals, not cumulative reward amounts. For example, a researcher may have received a $5 million five-year grant, but for this report, the amount is $1 million.

At ACRI, UAMS researchers acquired $26.1 million in fiscal year 2021, up 9.4% from $23.8 million last year. ACRI researchers, with expertise in basic science and clinical and community-based research, focus on a broad spectrum of childhood health problems, including childhood nutrition, childhood obesity, food allergies, diabetes-related complications and numerous childhood diseases, including asthma and cancer.

At CAVHS, UAMS researchers successfully competed for $8.5 million in grants from the Veterans Affairs Research and Development program and the nonprofit Biomedical Research Foundation in fiscal 2021, compared to $8.8 million last year. Funded research centers at CAVHS include the Pharmacogenomics Analysis Laboratory; the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center; the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; the Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research; and the Behavioral Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.

The fundamental and translational research of CAVHS includes aging and cognitive decline, suicide prevention, bone metabolism, atherosclerosis and more recently COVID-19.

The top 10 funded researchers for FY 2021 are (with annualized grant amounts):

Jeannette Lee, Ph.D., professor, UAMS Department of Biostatistics; four grants totaling $9,121,137 (of this total is Jessica Snowden, MD, co-principal investigator on a single grant of $7,795,485. Snowden is an associate professor in the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.) Eduardo Ochoa Jr ., MD, associate professor, College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics; two grants totaling $9,071,196 Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., MBA, associate professor, vice chancellor of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus, director of the UAMS Office of Community Health and Research, and associate director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute; 10 grants totaling $8,456,217 Marjan Boerma, Ph.D., Professor, College of Pharmacy and Director of the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy; five grants totaling $6,165,794 Kristine Patterson, MD, Ph.D., associate professor, College of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine; a grant totaling $5,673,639 Alan Tackett, Ph.D., professor, deputy director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and holder of the Scharlau Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Research; three grants totaling $5,240,681 Fred Prior, Ph.D., professor and chairman, College of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Informatics; 11 grants totaling $4,710,113 Laura James, MD, professor, director of Translational Research Institute and UAMS associate vice chancellor for clinical and translational research; one grant totaling $4,608,197 Richard Turnage, MD, executive associate dean for Clinical Affairs, College of Medicine; a grant totaling $3,980,232 Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., professor, College of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology; one scholarship totaling $3,757,778

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