February 2015

Serrano Collaborates with UAMS on Telehealth Grant

Christina Serrano

Christina Serrano is committed to finding research projects that focus on the application of information systems to improve health in underserved populations.

“My first undergraduate degree is in public health, so it has been a passion of mine for a really long time,” said Serrano, an assistant professor of information

systems in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

“I like to think of information systems research opportunities that really move me, that are meaningful and fulfilling. People generally can’t live without information technology, and it is a powerful tool in the health community in terms of promoting health and wellness.”

Serrano is a co-principal investigator on a telehealth pilot research project being funded jointly by the Translational Research Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Sarah Rhoads Kinder, an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is leading the study, titled “Postpartum Management of the Pregnancy Complicated by Preeclampsia: A Pilot Study Using mHealth Monitoring at Home.”

The institutions initiated the one-year Translational Research Institute Pilot Research Awards program last year to foster research between physicians engaged in telehealth programs and researchers. The awards are intended to help investigators obtain data necessary to quickly advance to extramural funding and solidify collaborations poised to advance translational research.

In June 2014, Serrano presented a poster at a research showcase at UAMS at which the grant program was announced. She and Kinder had previously discussed collaboration; their proposal was the only one selected for funding this year.

“Dr. Kinder had been working on a mobile health project that used this equipment but without a funding source for a research assistant and participant incentives, she had not been able to gather much data,” Serrano said. “We saw this as an opportunity for seed funding to get enough subjects enrolled for solid pilot data. A lot of the women who will be served by this project are in underserved, rural areas of Arkansas.”

The research team plans to use the pilot study’s analysis and results to apply this year for a National Institutes of Health grant, titled, “mHealth Tools to Promote Effective Patient-Provider Communication, Adherence to Treatment and Self-Management of Chronic Diseases in Underserved Populations.”

Serrano helped design the study’s parameters, specifically the research questions and hypotheses and the data that would be collected, and she will assist with the data analysis and write-up for future manuscripts and proposals.

Serrano joined the Walton College faculty in 2011. She holds a doctorate in management information systems from the University of Georgia. Her research has appeared in in the International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics and Journal of Nursing Management.


AHPCC Passes 1 Million Jobs


Razor II

The Arkansas High Performing Computer Center has surpassed 1 million jobs performed by researchers on the University of Arkansas campus and beyond.

“This is a significant milestone,” said Jeff Pummill, co-interim director of the center. “A million is a very substantial number, one that reflects all of the times our users submitted a job and hit ‘go.’ Some of our users submit hundreds jobs at once that won’t take very long to compute, while others can take weeks to finish. There are polar extremes to the computations our supercomputers perform on a daily basis.”

The Arkansas High Performance Computing Center began keeping a log of its jobs in 2007 with the activation of the supercomputer Star of Arkansas, Pummill said. Star at one time was the most powerful academic supercomputer computer in the state and was ranked among the world’s fastest 500 computers.

In early 2011, the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center activated Razor, its flagship supercomputer. In 2012, Razor underwent a substantial upgrade – funded by a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation – that significantly increased its computational ability, and is now known as Razor II.

The researcher who ran the 1 millionth job was Changsong Xu, a member of the computational condensed matter physics group at the U of A led by Laurent Bellaiche, Distinguished Professor of physics in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Xu, a former visiting doctoral student at the university who continues to collaborate with the group from China and run simulations on Razor, submitted the job on Jan. 4.

Learn More

Office Requests Proposals for A&H Seed Grants

For the third consecutive year, the Office of Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development at the University of Arkansas will award faculty research grants through its Arts and Humanities Seed Funding Program.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty from all colleges and schools are eligible to apply. The funded projects are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of the faculty member and the U of A and result in new opportunities for research or other creative endeavor.

Particular emphasis will be given to projects in those areas for which the opportunity for external funding is limited. Proposers may request a budget of up to $5,000. Budget details should include major categories that will further a project, such as materials, travel and supplies. The funds may not be used for faculty salary.

The proposal deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 9. Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF file to research@uark.edu with the subject line: 2015 A&H Seed Grant Competition.

Proposals will be reviewed by a group of research faculty selected from departments, schools and colleges from across campus. The panel will discuss the reviews and develop a recommendation for funding to the vice provost for research and economic development.
For more information, contact Cynthia Sagers, associate vice provost for research and economic development, at csagers@uark.edu.


VPRED Plans Intellectual Property Meetings


The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development is planning a series of meetings for the spring 2015 semester to raise awareness of translating research into solutions that benefit society.

The series, titled “IP Aware,” will provide individuals with the tools necessary to navigate issues associated with intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and industry-sponsorship. A potential participant will have completed a successful third year review or have been recently promoted to associate professor.

Expected outcomes of the program include: completion of intellectual property disclosures that lead to successful patent applications; launch of a small business opportunity that fuels economic development; and integration of industry-centric programs into a research portfolio of a faculty member.

Success in any of the three areas requires a basic understanding of the strategies, relevant policies, and procedures to facilitate these activities and a sound plan for action.
Associate or assistant research deans in their colleges or schools will nominate participants for the series.

For more information, contact Bob Beitle, associate vice provost for research and economic development, at rbeitle@uark.edu with the subject line “IP Aware.”



Serrano Collaborates with UAMS on Telehealth Grant

AHPCC Passes 1 Million Jobs

Office Requests Proposals for A&H Seed Grants

VPRED Plans Intellectual Property Meetings


Company Co-Founded by U of A Biologist Awarded $14.5 Million in Federal Grants

Doctoral Candidate Explores Formation of Martian Gullies

It Takes a Lab to Orchestrate a Vaccine


The Arkansas Catalyst
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Grant Award Winners

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty in January, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.
• Jing Yang, $500,000, National Science Foundation
• Darin W. Nutter, $175,000, Arkansas Energy Office
• Woodrow Shew, $164,410, National Institutes of Health
• Ed Pohl, $98,574, Air Force Institute of Technology
• Simon Ang, $88,690, GRid-Connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems
• Larry Brian, $87,400, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Small Business Development Center


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Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
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1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Website: vpred.uark.edu

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The Arkansas Catalyst is an initiative of the office of the vice provost for research and economic development with support from the office of university relations & information technology services.