The Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) announced Thursday (Dec. 5) the addition of two new ARA Scholars to the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows during a press conference in the Governor’s Conference Room at the Arkansas State Capitol.
ARA noted that there are close to 30 researchers now as part of their program. The new additions include:
Teresita Bellido, Ph.D., UAMS, Distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics; and
Justin Zhan, Ph.D., UA, Distinguished professor of data science at the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering
Bellido joins UAMS after serving as a tenured professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. Dr. Zhan is previously from the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, where he served as a professor and Director of Big Data Hub.
“We’re incredibly proud to have Teresita and Justin in the state of Arkansas,” said Jerry Adams, ARA President and CEO. “Both add impressive credentials to the state’s research portfolio.”
“Justin Zhan achieved important accomplishments while director of Big Data Hub at UNLV,” said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said. “We are fortunate to have him here. His presence will help us implement and achieve our goals as a national leader in data science.”
“Dr. Bellido is an internationally known leader in bone research and we are excited that she will be applying those talents at UAMS as she leads the Department of Physiology and Biophysics,” UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., said.
The ARA Scholars program, launched in 2010, helps recruit leaders in scientific research to the state’s five major research universities: Arkansas State University (A-State), University of Arkansas (UA), University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).
ARA Scholars receive a $500,000 grant paid over three years.
The ARA Scholars program helps recruit and support world-class researchers to universities where their work helps strengthen the competitiveness of the state. ARA Scholars, and its companion program – ARA Fellows, which recognizes and retains existing university research talent – focus on innovations in artificial intelligence, plant biochemistry, drug discovery, nanoscience, microbiology, big data, nutritional improvements, electronics research, and more.