Arkansas Research Alliance Names Five Inaugural Fellows

Dec 3, 2014

Gov. Mike Beebe, speaking at Wednesday's announcement of the Arkansas Research Alliance.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Research Alliance launched a new program to recognize and reward research talent in the state with a program called ARA Fellows.

Five universities – Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – were recognized for their research efforts in a press conference at the state capitol.

ARA Fellows are nominated by his or her chancellor and receive a $75,000 grant paid over three years.

“ARA is proud of the new ARA Fellows program because it underscores our mission to stimulate economic opportunities through university innovation and collaboration,” stated Jerry Adams, ARA president and CEO. “By identifying and investing in researchers currently working in the state, we are maximizing opportunities for commercialization and economic impact.”

“The Fellows are proven research leaders and highly regarded at their respective universities, and they share the same vision as the ARA Scholars: to impact Arkansas through innovative research with commercial applications,” stated Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream and chairman of the ARA board of trustees.

The inaugural ARA Fellows class included:

  • Alexandru Biris, Ph.D., UALR. He is the Director and Chief Scientist, Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences (CINS). Biris is conducting research on the science of nanostructures that can be used to alter properties of substances at the atomic level.
  • Laura James, M.D., UAMS. She is the Director, Translational Research Institute; Professor, Department of Pediatrics; and Section Chief, Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Arkansas Children’s Hospital. James is researching the performance of drug dosing in children in order to gather critically needed information to guide the dosing of a number of pediatric therapeutics.
  • Argelia Lorence, Ph.D., ASU. Lorence co-leads the Plant Imaging Consortium (PIC) and leads research for the potential development of crop plants with enhanced nutritional content, better growth, and improved tolerance to multiple environmental stresses.
  • Alan Mantooth, Ph.D., P.E., FIEEE, UAF. He is the Executive Director, National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission; the Executive Director, NSF Center for Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems; and the 21st Century Endowed Chair, Mixed-signal IC Design and CAD. Mantooth is building on his internationally recognized electronics research program. His team’s designs have flown on the International Space Station. The latest achievements include developing an electronic charger for Toyota’s new plug-in electric vehicles.
  • Trace Peterson, Ph.D., D.V.M., UAPB. Peterson is the Assistant Professor, Regulatory Science Center of Excellence. Peterson’s research examines transgenic humanized zebrafish used to study human cancers and kidney diseases. He is also researching drug delivery systems and patentable vaccine technology for previously non-preventable food fish diseases, which will enhance worldwide food security.

The ARA Fellows program is a companion to the already-established ARA Scholars program, which recruits research talent to Arkansas.

The Arkansas Research Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization governed by a board of trustees comprised of chancellors from Arkansas research universities and CEOs from across the state.