Arkansas Research Alliance announced five new ARA Fellows during a press conference at the State Capitol on Dec. 10.
In its second year, the Fellows program recognizes distinguished university research leaders who are already working in Arkansas at one of the state’s five research universities: Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Fellows are nominated by their university’s chancellor and receive a $75,000 grant paid over three years.
The five new Fellows include:
1. Brandon Kemp, associate professor, College of Engineering, Arkansas State University
Kemp’s research seeks to better understand the fundamental interactions between light and matter by developing a consistent theory of the momentum, energy and forces that electromagnetic fields exert on materials.
2. Michael Owens, professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and director, Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Owens’ research focuses on the development of medicines to treat drug abuse. These medicines are based on antibodies and vaccines that bind dangerous drugs. He is founder and chief scientific officer of InterveXion Therapeutic LLC.
3. Jessie J. Walker, interim coordinator of computer science, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Walker’s research focuses on cyber-infrastructure and defense super computers.
4. Cang Ye, professor, Department of Systems Engineering, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Ye’s research focuses on health care robots for people with visual/physical disabilities.
5. Min Zou, professor, mechanical engineering, University of Arkansas
Research focuses on nanoscale surface engineering for applications ranging from anti-reflective coatings for solar panels to friction and wear reduction coatings for mechanical systems.
“We are proud to welcome these talented researchers to our Fellows program,” said Jerry Adams, ARA president and CEO. “They represent the exemplary research talent at Arkansas universities and the powerful potential that exists to positively impact economic development, innovation and advancement in our state.”
The program was created to advance ARA’s mission by supporting world-class scholars whose work helps strengthen the competitiveness of the state through university-based research. Members of last year’s inaugural class focus on innovations in biomedical engineering, plant biochemistry and nutritional improvements, electronics research for transportation and the electric power grid, as well as testing to help diagnose liver injury related to acetaminophen.
“Arkansas Research Alliance continues to help fuel economic growth in our state,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “By investing in distinguished researchers and nurturing innovation, they’re helping us more aggressively advance our economy and position us for the future.”