Arkansas Children’s Research Institute has awarded two medical scientists up to $75,000 each to fund their ongoing work. Drs. Akilah Jefferson and Jennifer Rumple are the 2022 Marion B. Lyon Revocable Trust New Scientist Development recipients.
The annual award supports highly promising beginning researchers in their efforts to become independent investigators and fosters an environment where young scientists can flourish. The award funding is made possible through a private donor, the late Frank Lyon Jr. and family, who established the competitive award more than two decades ago.
Dr. Jefferson is an assistant professor of allergy and immunology in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine who also sees patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH). Her research focuses on asthma and health disparities, and she has a special interest in population health, health policy and social determinants affecting asthma outcomes.
Dr. Jefferson’s Lyon-funded project will identify at-risk children and assess relevant measures in reducing asthma risk. The ACH electronic medical record will give the study access to a large sample of children across the state who receive care through Arkansas’ only pediatric health system. Population-based risk prediction has the potential to guide interventions to improve health and reduce children’s burden of living with asthma.
Dr. Rumple is also an assistant professor of neonatology in the UAMS College of Medicine, who also practices at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Her principal research interest is acute kidney injury in premature newborns, which affects at least 30% of babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units.
Acute kidney injury results in short- and long-term consequences for premature newborns, raising their risk of chronic kidney disease and greatly increasing their chances of dying. Dr. Rumpel’s Lyon-funded project will create and validate a model to predict which babies with acute kidney injury face the highest risks of mortality.