Arkansas biomedical researchers get $18.4 million

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 406 views 

Arkansas INBRE (Idea Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence), which promotes biomedical research with programs for undergraduate students and faculty statewide, has seen its federal funding renewed for $18.4 million over the next five years.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is the lead institution for coordinating INBRE grants.

The grant comes from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is part of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With this latest funding, Arkansas INBRE has received a total of $78.5 million to date.

“What we’ve managed to develop is a whole ecosystem that promotes biomedical research in Arkansas,” said Lawrence E. Cornett, Ph.D., Arkansas INBRE director. “After 20 years, we have students who were introduced to research by INBRE and are now career scientists or physicians. We have supported research that has produced exciting findings and impactful publications. We have purchased game-changing technology and supported new academic programs.”

Arkansas INBRE is perhaps best known statewide for its research opportunities for undergraduate students. About 15 students annually spend their summer at UAMS or the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville conducting research, and INBRE funds similar opportunities at four-year institutions statewide. For many of the students, it is their first time conducting research, working in a lab, and presenting their findings.

INBRE also provides funding for faculty research at the four-year institutions in the state. Many of these grants include the requirement that faculty provide opportunities for undergraduate researchers to work in the lab.

“We track the success of these programs in inspiring students to pursue STEM careers and have found them to be successful by a number of measures,” Cornett said. “Additionally, from an anecdotal standpoint, we find the students who are introduced to hands-on science early on go on to be better students when we see them again as medical students, pharmacy students and graduate students at UAMS.”

Additionally, Arkansas INBRE has funded the purchase of technology and the development of new research areas. For example at UAMS, these investments helped develop the UAMS Proteomics Core, which enables protein characterization by mass spectrometry. The lab is available to scientists both on the UAMS campus as well as across the nation, and has enabled a whole new area of research in the state.

UAMS and the University of Arkansas are lead institutions for INBRE. Partner and affiliate institutions include Arkansas State University, Hendrix College, John Brown University, Ouachita Baptist University, UA Little Rock, UA Pine Bluff, the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech, Central Baptist College, Harding University, Henderson State University, Lyon College, Philander Smith College, Southern Arkansas University, UA Fort Smith, UA Monticello, and the University of the Ozarks.