Dr. Alex Biris’ research inspires (and confounds) Arkansas columnist

You don’t have to be an ARA Fellow to appreciate Dr. Alex Biris’ work with nanomaterial-based bone regeneration. The fascinating research conducted at UA Little Rock is impressive dinner-table discussion. After all, whose eyes wouldn’t widen at the thought of healing broken bones with nanoscaled materials bearing bone-mimicking characteristics?

However, in a recent Democrat-Gazette article, noted columnist Rex Nelson admits his grasp of the tech is somewhat beyond his reach:

I don’t pretend to be smart enough to understand what it is that Biris is doing.

Indeed! Dr. Biris, Chief Scientist of the UA Little Rock Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences (CINS), explores the science of nanostructures that can be used to alter the properties of other substances at the atomic level. Such microscopic pursuits can have big commercial value, as Mr. Nelson soon discovers:

I do know enough to realize that this is exactly the kind of research that could move the central Arkansas economy forward once it’s monetized. As one UALR administrator told me: “Though the goal of the research is treatment for human injuries, the long Food & Drug Administration road to commercialization is shorter for animals than for human subjects. There’s potentially a big market for animals such as thoroughbred horses, prize breeding stock and beloved pets. The scaffold has enabled better healing of broken bones in some experiments than in any previous therapies. It’s exciting stuff. And it’s happening right here in Little Rock.”

And it’s happening right here in Little Rock. Research is a catalyst for economic growth in Arkansas, one that Mr. Nelson understands is undervalued in the Natural State. You can read more about Mr. Nelson’s discovery of research’s role in the future of Arkansas’ economy here, The Ol’ College Try.

 

ARA president Jerry Adams sits down with Roby Brock and Talk Business

Arkansas Research Alliance was founded in 2008, and according to president Jerry Adams, the mandate for the hardworking agency has evolved over the decade.  “Originally I thought I’d be sitting in the tech licensing office for our five research universities, watching intellectual property go across,” mused Jerry Adams, speaking with Roby Brock and Talk Business, “but it’s turned into us being much more focused on talent recruitment, recognition and retention.

While “intellectual property” is still a focal point, ARA has become a major conduit between Arkansas’ research campuses, the state’s science community and economic decision makers. During the interview, Mr. Adams highlighted some of the compelling research conducted in Arkansas, which includes advancements in bacteria-resistant artificial bone from Dr. Alex Biris (UA Little Rock) and Dr. Mark Smeltzer (UAMS), developing electric energy solutions from Dr. Alan Mantooth (University of Arkansas) and efforts to genetically strengthen rice against global warming from Dr. Argelia Lorence (Arkansas State).

“There’s a lot of collaboration, a lot of unique innovation, going on between the state universities,” said Mr. Adams, who also touches on ARA’s unique relationship with the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) and the ARA Academy.

“I think the Academy is how we’re going to be identified going forward,” said Mr. Adams. Watch the interview in its entirety here.