Four UAMS Professors Receive 2022 Provost’s Innovator Awards

Enlarge image

The recipients are Lisa Brents, Ph.D., Lyle Burdine, MD, Ph.D., Craig Forrest, Ph.D. and Gresham Richter, MD

Lisa Brents, Ph.D.

Lisa Brents, Ph.D.

The awards were established by Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., vice president and chief strategy officer of UAMS, and Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and innovation. Grants of $25,000 each support breakthrough, innovative, high-impact projects with the potential to establish new clinical approaches or achieve rapid commercialization.

Below are the winners, project titles and descriptions of their work:

Lisa BrentsPh.D., Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Project title: Development of a fetal protective agent against prenatal opioid use disorder
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) skyrocketed during the opioid epidemic in this country. Every 25 minutes a baby is born with NOWS. The hospital stay for a NOWS newborn is more than seven times longer than for a newborn without NOWS, and hospital costs are more than 10 times higher. Brents’ research will develop a new drug, deuterated buprenorphine (BUP-D2) to reduce NOWS in newborns born to people on opioid drug treatment during pregnancy. Moreover, he will

Lyle Burdine, MD

Lyle Burdine, MD

protect the fetus from opioids taken by a pregnant person (being treated) who relapses into illicit opioid use.

Lyle BurdineMD Ph.D., Associate Professor of Transplantation Surgery/Director of Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine

Project title: Interventional radiological targeting of splenic PALS for immune cellular programming in vivo in pigs

Harvested adoptive transfer therapy is a procedure in which a patient’s own cells are brought together, genetically modified, and placed back into the human body to achieve a therapeutic goal. The most successful example of this therapy to date is CAR-T therapy, in which a patient’s T cells are removed, designed to kill a specific type of cancer, and placed back into the body. This project would create a technological platform allowing the realization of gene therapy in the human body.

J. Craig ForrestPh.D., Professor, Faculty of Medicine Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Project title: Develop viral vectors for Gammaherpesviruses

Craig Forrest, Ph.D.

Craig Forrest, Ph.D.

Gammaherpesviruses (GHVs) are DNA tumor viruses that establish lifelong chronic infections in lymphocytes, especially B and T cells. Infection with human GHVs such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma virus (KSHV) puts individuals at risk for several different cancers. Forrest’s lab combines human and rodent GHV systems to define virus/host disease determinants and develop GHV vaccines. Forrest’s work will produce the viral vectors needed to develop a vaccine vector and identify potential antiviral drugs. Additionally, the development of these therapies for companion animals (e.g. domestic cats) will provide critical proof of concept that will serve as the basis for the development of GHV vaccine candidates for humans.

Gresham RichterMD, FACS, FAAP, Professor, VP and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery School of Medicine

Project title: Patient-Centered Monitoring for Invasive Ventilation

Tracheostomy tubes are needed in adults and children who need prolonged ventilation or protection against severe upper airway obstruction. Pediatric patients especially need additional monitoring for breathing difficulties. We have created a device allowing physiological monitoring at home with the possibility of measuring physiological parameters (heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse oximetry and temperature) in patients with or without mechanical ventilation. This work will result in a portable, minimalistic, easy-to-use, robust, and patient-centric monitoring device for patients requiring mechanical ventilation.

Gresham Richter, MD

Gresham Richter, MD

About Mark A. Tomlin

Check Also

Wesleyan Celebrates Class of 2022 at 190th Launch

Early 2022 On a joyful day marked by ritual and ceremony, Wesleyan University bid farewell …