John Arthur, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine
I am a practicing nephrologist with a strong interest in acute kidney disease and have been using proteomic technologies for discovery and validation of biomarkers for over 15 years. We use targeted analysis of candidate markers by multiplexed bead array, ELISA and mass spectrometry and proteomic discovery analyses by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify and qualify biomarkers.
Nukhet Aykin-Burns, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
As a researcher, my primary interest is the effects of environmental toxins, such as lead and PCBs, on oxidative stress and the effects of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress on radiation-induced normal tissue damage. I am currently funded by NIEHS to assess the role of sirtuin 3 in regulating PCB-induced mitochondrial injury through AREA Grant mechanism, which is instrumental for exposing students to research.
Steven W. Barger, Ph.D.
Professor of Geriatrics, Professor of Neurobiology & Developmental Sciences, College of Medicine
My projects focus on links between glucose and insulin metabolism in processes leading to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This age-related neurodegenerative disease is the most common cause of dementia and seems to depend on the accumulation of a peptide termed “amyloid-β.” Our studies utilize experiments conducted in cultured cells and models developed in mice, particularly mice genetically altered for amyloid-β along with diet-induced obesity. These studies may provide key insights into the cause(s) and treatment of both Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps even diabetes.
Alexei Basnakian, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
I am mostly interested in apoptotic endonucleases, the key enzymes regulating irreversible cell death after cell injury and during diseases. The nine known endonucleases seem to act by fragmenting DNA independently from each other. Our latest studies show the crosstalk between the endonucleases through several mechanisms. When necessary, tissues can protect themselves by inactivating endonucleases, while in other cases, the endonucleases activate each other and cooperate. By learning the mechanisms of this regulation, we hope to find universal cures of many human diseases including organ failures and cancers.
Sarah Blossom, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine
My research goal is to advance understanding of how environmental exposures, primarily the solvent and common environmental pollutant, trichloroethylene (TCE) alter CD4+ T cell function. My expertise lies in development/early life exposures. I am interested in understanding how these exposures impact both mother and offspring. My research has shown that the CD4+ T cell is central to the autoimmune pathology we see in the liver with TCE exposure.
Karl Boehme, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
Research in my laboratory focuses on defining mechanisms of viral pathogenesis using mammalian orthoreovirus (reovirus) as a model system. Reoviruses are enteric pathogens that enter the bloodstream to disseminate to the central nervous system where they cause encephalitis. We work to define host and viral determinants that govern (i) the establishment of viral bloodstream infections and (ii) development of viral encephalitic disease.
Marjan Boerma, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
Radiation-induced heart disease is a late occurring and sometimes severe side effect of radiotherapy of cancers in the thorax. To better understand how radiation causes heart disease, our lab uses preclinical in vivo models to study the effects of radiation on cardiac function, structure and molecular changes.
Gunnar Boysen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health
My interest is understanding the interplay between chemical exposure and nutritional or lifestyle habits, (diet selection and physical activity). We utilize small metabolomic biomarkers to characterize disease phenotypes.
Peter Crooks, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Dept of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
My research is focused on the design and discovery of treatments for cancer and drug addiction, as well as aspects of prodrug and codrug design, drug metabolism studies, and the pharmacokinetic evaluation of potential clinical candidates.
William Fantegrossi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dept of Pharmaocology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
My research focuses on the behavioral pharmacology of emerging drugs of abuse, including designer psychostimulants (“bath salts”), cannabinoids (“K2 / Spice” products), and hallucinogens. We employ a variety of in vivo assays to study drug actions, including biotelemetry, intravenous drug self-administration, conditioned place preference, drug discrimination, operant behavior, antinociception, and drug-elicited behaviors.
Sherry Ferguson, Ph.D.
Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research
I am particularly interested in the effects of developmental exposure to drugs/toxicants on central nervous system functioning; however, a main focus of my laboratory now is the potential of certain compounds to attentuate the neurochemical and behavioral alterations in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Typical endpoints in these studies include a wide range of rodent behaviors as well as neurochemical data from in vivo cerebral microdialysis experiments.
Aime Franco, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine
The goal of my research lab is to understand how the tumor microenvironment impacts cancer growth and metastasis. We are particularly interested in how fibroblasts and immune cells within the tumor can communicate with each other to drive tumor progression and metastasis. We utilize a variety of in vitro and in vivo models to dissect the dynamic crosstalk between cancer cells and normal cells. We work closely with physicians in the Cancer Institute to try and translate our laboratory findings into improved patient care.
Jay Gandy, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Public Health
My research interests are pesticide toxicology, human health risk assessment, and the application of basic mechanistic studies to regulatory decision-making.
Paul Gottschall, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
The goal of my research program is to elucidate how changes in extracellular matrix in the brain influence the decline in neural plasticity observed with aging, and in particular, to determine whether proteoglycans contribute to the diminished structural synaptic plasticity associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Martin Hauer-Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S.
Professor and Director of Radiation Health and Associate Dean for Research, Dept of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
My research focuses on radiation effects in normal tissues, mainly in the gastrointestinal tract. The overall goal is to determine underlying mechanisms of normal tissue radiation toxicity and to develop strategies to prevent adverse effects of radiation therapy in cancer survivors. I am also actively involved in the development of medical countermeasures against radiological or nuclear threats.
Charlotte Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D.
Pamela D. Stephens Professor of Birth Defects Research and Section Chief, Birth Defects Research, Dept of Pediatrics, College of Medicine; Arkansas Children’s Hospital
My research focus is to increase the understanding of the causes of birth defects so that we can intervene and prevent them in the future. My team is identifying genetic and metabolic markers to identify women who are at increased risk of having a pregnancy/fetus affected by a congenital heart defect. By discovering life-style factors, genetic variants and metabolic markers that may lead to congenital heart defects, primary prevention methods may be developed.
Laura James, MD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine; Arkansas Children’s Hospital
I have clinical and translational research programs in acetaminophen toxicity that are funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). My research focuses on the development of biomarkers of acetaminophen toxicity using systems biology approaches involving genomics, metabolomics, and proteomics. I am also developing a new diagnostic assay for acetaminophen toxicity.
Clint Kilts, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine
My primary research interests focus on the use of brain imaging approaches to explore the impact of drugs of abuse and medications on human functional brain organization. Additionally, research in the BIRC also focuses on development of reliable and accurate biomarkers of risk, diagnosis, and treatment outcome for mental illness.
Igor Koturbash, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health
The focus of my research interests is in understanding of the epigenetic effects and mechanisms of normal and cancerous tissue response to cancer therapy, and how the modification over the epigenetic profile may modulate tissue response to therapy. I have a broad background in molecular and radiation biology, with specific training in epigenetic mechanisms of response to radiation exposure in both in vitro and in vivo systems.
Richard Kurten, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine and Co-Director, Lung Cell Biology Laboratory, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
My vision is that cell biological approaches largely restricted to cultured cell lines can be used to study human biology in a native tissue context. A focus of my research interests is on understanding mechanism contributing to airway hyper-reactivity and the development of tolerance to beta-agonist medications used clinically to manage asthma.
Annie Lumen, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow, Division of Biochemical Toxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research
My current research focuses on the development of computational (PK/PD/Dose-Response) models for drugs and environmental chemicals as a reliable predictive tool to support relevant regulatory decisions. Such models have the capability to conduct cross-species extrapolation, in vitro to in vivo extrapolations, and quantitate life-stage dependent kinetic alternations to guide dose selection during pregnancy and support other risk assessment needs of the agency and the scientific field.
Lee Ann MacMillan-Crow, PhD
Professor, Dept of Pharmaocology and Toxicology, College of Medicine; Director of Pharmacology and Toxicology/Interdisciplinary Toxicology Graduate Program
My lab has a long-term interest in oxidant generation and mitochondrial damage during renal ischemia/reperfusion as it relates to renal transplantation injury. In addition, the lab is examining the therapeutic potential of several agents to block mitochondrial and renal injury during warm and cold ischemia using animal models of ischemia, as well as sepsis.
My research focuses on using biomarkers of responses to toxicity and pathology across species to inform the use of modeling in vitro and in vivo systems for human safety assessment.
Philip Mayeux, PhD
Professor, Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine; Director of SPaT Program
The goals of my research are to identify new therapeutic targets to treat sepsis-induced kidney injury then test agents that target these new pathways. Students will receive training in the use of juvenile and aged rodent models of sepsis, in evaluating cardio/renal function, the kidney microcirculation, mitochondrial function, and in performing pre-clinical drug evaluation studies.
My research involves the detection and mechanisms of drugs of abuse, environmental toxicants, endogenous molecules and other xenobiotics. The analytical platforms developed are often used to support forensic, public health, and environmental laboratories.
Charles O’Brien, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology
Our research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control bone remodeling and lead to osteoporosis. We have generated several novel genetically-modified mouse models. Trainees in my lab benefit from access to state-of-the-art techniques to modify the mouse genome and my experience in using these techniques to generate informative models of bone disease.
S. Michael Owens, PhD
Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
Research in my laboratory involves experimental therapeutics and preclinical development of antibody-based medications for the treatment of drug abuse. Our first medication, an anti-methamphetamine monoclonal antibody, is currently in an FDA approved clinical trial.
My research is focused on developing and validating quantitative biomarkers and identifying biological pathways associated with the expression of neurotoxicity, primarily in intact animal models including nonhuman primates. My main research interests involve behavioral pharmacology/toxicology emphasizing cognitive function deficiencies as indicators of toxicity; the pharmacology and toxicology of central nervous system drugs; developmental pharmacology and toxicology; operant behavioral analyses to quantitate aspects of specific brain functions in children and laboratory animal models for animal-to-human extrapolation.
Eric Peterson, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
The focus of my research is to develop novel biologic medications to treat chronic and acute drug abuse. We are accomplishing this goal through a multidisciplinary drug development program. The students in my laboratory gain an understanding of in vitro molecular-based design and production of biological entities, and in vivo testing of their safety and efficacy in models of dug abuse and addiction.
The goal of our research is to understand the key role that macrophages play in the development and progression of chronic inflammatory diseases. In particular, our studies seek to provide mechanistic details regarding the ability of macrophage scavenger receptors to regulate the inflammatory response associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Paul Prather, PhD
Professor, Dept of Pharmaocology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
My research interests involve understanding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the addictive states produced by drugs of abuse. Specifically, I investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of signal transductionmediated by G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) with which drugs of abuse interact. I have recently shown that active phase I hydroxylated metabolites of synthetic cannabinoids present in K2/Spice may contribute to the rather unique toxicity profile associated with use of these drugs. As such, my laboratory provides students with the opportunity to employ cellular and molecular techniques to characterize the pharmacological and toxicological properties of novel drugs of abuse.
Sung Rhee, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
The overall goal of my research is to understand how ion channels are regulated in blood vessels and apply this knowledge to design better antihypertensive therapies. We use rodent models of hypertension and apply viral gene transduction and in vivo microscopy among other techniques.
Kevin Raney, PhD
Professor and Chair, Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine
My laboratory is interested in the enzymology and chemistry of nucleic acid enzymes. Helicases are enzymes that manipulate DNA and RNA in all aspects of nucleic acid metabolism. We are studying the mechanism(s) of helicases as well as protein-protein that govern activity. We have identified novel compounds that inhibit NS3 helicase from the Hepatitis C virus. In a separate project, we have discovered a signaling mechanism by which cells respond to DNA damage.
Nancy Rusch, PhD
Professor and Chair, Dept of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine
The goal of my laboratory is to discover abnormalities of ion channel expression and composition that contribute to systemic and pulmonary hypertension, and identify channel-based therapies to treat these diseases. We employ a multi-faceted approach of patch-clamp, molecular, cellular and in vivo techniques to accomplish this goal.
Mark Smeltzer, PhD
Professor, Dept of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine
My research is on the detection, treatment, and pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus infection with a specific emphasis on infections involving bone and indwelling medical devices. I am the recipient of the New Investigator Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society and the Randall Award as the Outstanding Young Investigator from the South Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). I am currently an ASM Distinguished Lecturer and was recognized as the 2013 recipient of the UAMS Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.
Alan Tackett, PhD
Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine
My research focuses on histone epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene transcription and that are coupled to melanoma progression. We utilize a suite of techniques including proteomics of human biopsies, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, tumorigenicity assays, ChIPseq, biochemical and proteomic approaches for analyses of protein complexes, and cutting-edge mass spectrometry for the analysis of histone post-translational modifications. We also develop new technologies for epigenetic studies such as tools for detection of in vivo protein interactions and quantitative assays for histone-modifying proteins.
David W. Ussery, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Informatics/Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine; Director, Arkansas Center for Genomic Epidemiology and Medicine
My research focusses on high-throughput comparative genomics, developing tools to compare millions of genomes in a few seconds. We are developing methodologies where we can take a clinical isolate like blood or a fecal sample, and determine the microbial composition, including possible toxins and antibiotic resistance, in less than an hour. Our goal is to model microbial ecosystems within healthy and diseased people. Students in my group work both in the lab as well as using high performance computing for bioinformatic analysis.
Daohong Zhou, MD, PhD
Professor and Associate Director, UAMS Cancer Institute and Director, Cellular and Molecular Analysis Core, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy
My research has included groundbreaking studies on the development of D609 and its prodrugs as radioprotective agents and the demonstration of tissue-specific NF-kB activation and function by ionizing radiation (IR). More recently, I have identified several molecular targets and pathways that are critical in mediating IR-induced hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) damage, and have developed several mechanism-based approaches to protect and mitigate IR-induced hematopoietic syndrome or lethality and residual or delayed bone marrow injury.