The Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars program serves as the cornerstone for ARA and plays a pivotal role in bridging university research and economic development. Scholars concentrate on Arkansas’s strongest and most commercially viable research competencies. Current research projects include drug development, stem cell research, cutting edge membrane technology and more.
Dr. Phillip Massey2021 ARA Scholar
Associate Professor of Public Health, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, College of Education and Health Professions; Director, Center for Media, Technology and Health, University of Arkansas (UA)
Dr. Massey’s research centers on health communication, media and technology in the U.S. and globally, on topics ranging from social media, cancer prevention, substance use, health literacy, and entertainment education. His scholarship has helped advanced health and media literacy research in the age of misinformation and online information sources. His research has extended traditional behavior change models, communication theories, and media effects to new media environments that continue to become more participatory. He has worked to create new ways to integrate data across medical platforms and link to health outcomes.
Dr. Edward Yeh2021 ARA Scholar
Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine; Nolan Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Dr. Yeh graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in Biochemistry and received his medical degree from the University of California, Davis. He completed medical residency at the Boston VA Medical Center and did a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Baruj Benacerraf at Harvard Medical School. In 1987, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In the early 1990’s, Dr. Yeh relocated to Houston to join the faculty of The University of Texas and the Texas Heart Institute. In 2000, he founded the Department of Cardiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and developed a new field called Onco-cardiology that specializes on caring cancer patients who developed heart problems caused by cancer therapy. He was recruited to the University of Missouri at Columbia as Chair of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Center for Precision Medicine in 2016. In three years, he raised the department’s national ranking in NIH-funded research from 98 to 76. In 2020, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Nolan Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Teresita Bellido2019 ARA Scholar
Distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, UAMS
Dr. Bellido received her doctorate in biochemistry in 1988 and completed an initial postdoctoral fellowship in 1990 at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. For the next three years she trained with Stavros Manolagas, M.D., Ph.D., while he was on faculty in the Endocrinology and Metabolism Section at the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center at Indiana University. In 1993 Manolagas recruited Bellido to UAMS, where he continues to serve as director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and director of the UAMS/VA Center for Osteoporosis and Bone Diseases. Bellido holds multiple major grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as a Veterans Administration Merit Award. She serves on the Skeletal Biology Development and Disease Study Section for the NIH. Bellido and serves as president of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), the ninth woman among 40 presidents in the society’s history and the first female president originally from Latin America.
Dr. Justin Zhan2019 ARA Scholar
Professor of data science in the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, University of Arkansas
Dr, Zhan’s research focuses on big data, blockchain technologies, information assurance, social computing and biomedical informatics. He has published more than 230 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and delivered more than 30 keynote speeches and invited talks. As a principal investigator or co-principal investigator, Zhan has been involved in more than 45 projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health. Zhan has also served as editor-in-chief of two leading academic journals of data science, International Journal of Privacy, Security and Integrity and International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems.
Dr. Hong-Yu Li2016 ARA Scholar
Professor, College of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UAMS
Dr. Li is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of cancer treatment research. He designs, synthesizes and develops small molecules through a variety of novel approaches to develop new agents for cancer treatments. He started work as a professor at UAMS in April. He was recruited from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson. Before Arizona, Li worked for more than 10 years at Eli Lilly & Company’s Lilly Research Laboratory in Indianapolis – the last four years as the laboratory’s principal research scientist.
Dr. David W. Ussery2016 ARA Scholar
Director of ArC-GEM (Arkansas Center for Genomic and Ecological Medicine), UAMS
Dr. Ussery, has been working with bioinformatic analysis of bacterial genomes since 1995. His group has published more than 150 papers since 2000, including two papers that have been cited more than 1,000 times. He has been a co-applicant on grants totaling more than $30 million since 2010. His course on Comparative Microbial Genomics, taught at the Technical University of Denmark from 1997-2013, is currently in its 19th year. Workshops based on this course have been held in five countries.
Dr. Morten Olgaard Jensen2015 ARA Scholar
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Arkansas
Morten Jensen’s research focuses on experimental cardiovascular surgery, seeking to create useful solutions with sophisticated technologies. He was appointed to the Danish Academy of Engineering and became the youngest person since 1965 to receive the prestigious “Elektroprisen.” His work has been published extensively in scientific journals, magazines and public media.
Dr. Peter A. CrooksD.Sc. 2011 ARA Scholar
Chairman, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Simmons Chair in Cancer Research, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Peter Crooks has been involved in drug discovery research for over 35 years and currently has several drugs in various stages of clinical development. He and his team work in the field of anticancer drug research where they focus on new, effective treatments for a variety of complex cancers including leukemia, brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer.
Dr. Ranil Wickramasinghe2010 ARA Scholar
Professor and Ross E. Martin Chair in Emerging Technologies in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas (UA)
Ranil Wickramasinghe has established a Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology Center at UA where he and his team focus on research that will lead to new advanced membranes and membrane-based separation processes for applications in the manufacture of human therapeutics, water treatment and production of biofuels.