Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium Home Page


Presenter Biographies

AR-BIC First annual conference - March 11-12, 2015

Jerry B. Adams

Jerry Adams of Arkansas Research AllianceJerry Adams is the President/CEO of the Arkansas Research Alliance, an economic development non-profit modeled on the very successful Georgia Research Alliance. Its primary focus is to leverage university-based job-creating research in Arkansas. The ARA Board of Trustees consists of the five chancellors of the Arkansas research universities and sixteen Arkansas based CEOs. ( Jerry retired from Acxiom Corporation in October, 2007 after 34 years serving a variety of senior leadership roles and started the Arkansas Research Alliance in April 2008.
Jerry served as the chair of Accelerate Arkansas, a statewide volunteer group of leaders focused on building a knowledge-based economy in Arkansas. He continues to serve on Accelerate Arkansas’ executive committee.

Active in the start up community, Jerry serves on the Management Committee of Funds for Arkansas’ Future, the state’s first angel fund. Jerry also serves on the advisory board of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, chairs the board of BioVentures, the incubator at UAMS and serves on the Board of VIC Technology Venture Development, a Fayetteville based for profit incubator. Jerry is involved with education reform having served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Committee for Higher Education. He is currently serving on the Board of Visitors at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, past board member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Arkansas’ Walton School of Business, the University of Central Arkansas Advisory Board for the College of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the University of Central Arkansas Regional Advisory Board for the College of Fine Arts & Communication. Jerry was a founding member of the STEM Coalition and served as chair of the EAST Initiative, a secondary school technology based project learning initiative active in over 200 schools in Arkansas and six other states. Jerry also serves board chair of the Arkansas Initiative for Math & Science (AAIMS) focused on advanced placement of math and science in Arkansas high schools. Jerry also serves on the Board of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI). Jerry is the founding board chair for the Conway Interfaith Clinic, a clinic focused on providing medical and dental services to segments of the community who are underserved. Jerry was the founding board chair for the Faulkner County Community Foundation and served as chair of the state board of the Arkansas Community Foundation. Jerry also serves as the vice-chair of the Conway Development Corporation, Conway’s economic development organization. Jerry also serves on the Board of Directors of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Jerry is married with two grown sons and four grandchildren. Jerry and his wife, Madelyn, reside in Conway, Arkansas.

William Slikker, Jr., PhD
Dr. William Slikker, Director of the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research Dr. William Slikker, Jr. is the Director of the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). Bill received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of California at Davis in 1978. Dr. Slikker holds Adjunct Professorships in the Departments of Pediatrics, and Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He has held committee chairmanships or elected offices in several scientific societies including the Teratology Society (serving as President) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (chair, Developmental Pharmacology Section and member of the Program Committee) and co-founder and past President of the MidSouth Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Society. He is currently Associate Editor for NeuroToxicology and Toxicological Sciences and past Treasurer, SOT and past President of The Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Slikker is the President of the Society of Toxicology (Presidential term beginning May 1, 2012). Dr. Slikker has authored or co-authored over 300 publications in the areas of transplancental pharmacokinetics, developmental neurotoxicology, neuroprotection, systems biology, and risk assessment. He has also served on several National/International advisory panels for HESI/ILSI, CIIT Centers for Health Research, EPA, NIEHS, NAS, NIH and WHOs. ( )
G. Bradley Schaefer, MD
G. Bradley Schaefer, MDDr. Schaefer is a Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He is the Founding Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and the Chief of the Section of Genetics and Metabolism in the Department of Pediatrics at UAMS. He is also the Medical Director of the Genetic Counseling Training program at UAMS. He is the inaugural holder of the Committee for the Future Endowed Chair in Medical Genetics.
He has achieved board certification in Pediatrics, Human Genetics, and Pediatric Endocrinology. He is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a member of the American Pediatric Society.
He has authored over 250 scientific articles, book chapters, and invited reviews. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Neurology, and sits on the National Advisory Board for the Sotos Syndrome Support Association.
Selected honors and awards he has received include Valedictorian, Bitburg American High School, Bitburg, Germany; University Scholar, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; Phi Beta Kappa; Phi Sigma Honor Society; Phi Sigma Undergraduate Research Award, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; Sigma Xi; Ruth Rader Award - OUHSC Outstanding House Staff/Fellow; Reagents Appointed Endowed Chair : Munroe-Meyer / Scottish Rite Masonic Professor of Child Health; Hobart E. Wiltse, M.D., Ph.D. Excellence In Medical Education Award, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics; Committee for the Future Endowed Chair, Genetics, Arkansas Children’s Hospital; and Alpha Omega Alpha, Member Arkansas Chapter.
His clinical and research interests focus on the genetics of neurodevelopmental, neurosensory and neurobehavioral disorders; craniofacial genetics, medical transition for Children with Special Health Care needs; Tele-genetics services; and Newborn Screening follow up and infrastructure.
Gareth Morgan, BSc MB Bch FRCP FRCPath PhD
Gareth MorganGareth Morgan, professor of medicine and pathology, is the director of the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He is also the deputy director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS.
Dr. Morgan is an internationally recognized scientist and clinician in the field of the molecular genetics in blood cell cancers, in particular, multiple myeloma. Dr. Morgan came to UAMS from The Royal Marsden Institute NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cancer Research in London, Europe’s largest comprehensive cancer institute, where he was a professor of hematology and director of the Centre for Myeloma Research.

Dr. Morgan received his doctorate on the genetics of leukemia from the University of London in 1991 and his MD in 1981 from the Welsh National School of Medicine. He is a director of Myeloma UK, a respected UK patient organization, as well as a member of the Scientific Board of the International Myeloma Foundation. He is the founding director of the European Myeloma Network.

Dr. Morgan is doing influential work in characterizing the myeloma genome, defining specific subsets of the disease that have prognostic importance, and developing personalized therapeutic strategies targeted to each subtype. He also is engaged in advanced research in molecular diagnostics, drug development and clinical trials.

Dr. Morgan is a member of the British Society of Haematology, the American Society of Hematology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Royal College of Physicians, UK, and the Royal College of Pathologists, UK. He has authored more than 450 articles appearing in leading peer-reviewed journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Leukemia, Lancet-Oncology, and Clinical Cancer Research.

Donald J. Johann, Jr., MS, MD
Donald J. Johann, Jr., MS, MD Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics
Director of Informatics
Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy

Dr. Johann is a physician/scientist and associate professor at UAMS and Director of Informatics at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy. His scientific focus concerns the application of advanced molecular profiling and high-throughput technologies for the characterization of molecular alterations in cancer cells. Areas of emphasis include next-gen sequencing (NGS), high-resolution identity-based mass spectrometry (proteomics), laser capture microdissection (LCM), bioinformatics, and cancer biology. Previously, he was an assistant investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Center for Cancer Research (CCR), Medical Oncology Branch in Bethesda, MD. Prior to attending medical school he worked as an engineer for the Unisys Corporation for six years, where he directed a team of five engineers on projects involving avionic software design and instrumentation. During this time he also earned a graduate degree in computer science with distinction from Hofstra University. Dr. Johann received his M.D., from Case Western and received a graduate with distinction honors for Computer Applications in Medicine. Following residency he then became a postdoctoral research fellow at the NIH/NCI Lab of Pathology, under the mentorship of Dr. Lance Liotta, with a focus on clinical proteomics. He was twice selected for an AACR Scholar-in-Training Award for research work involving novel bioinformatics. Medical Oncology/Hematology fellowships were completed at NIH in the NCI and NHLBI. He has authored ~40 publications and contributed to three patents.

Dr. Mathias Brochhausen
Dr. Mathias Brochhausen Assistant Professor
Division of Biomedical Informatics
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Mathias Brochhausen is assistant professor at the Division of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and affiliate graduate faculty at the Department of Information Science at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. He also serves as the Interim Associate Director of the Translational Research Institute’s Comprehensive Informatics Resource Center (CIRC) at UAMS. His research focuses on the use of semantic web technologies, especially ontologies in managing biomedical data. He is the PI of an NIGMS-funded project on comparing organizational structures in trauma care. He also is a co-investigator on an NIH-funded project, in which he drives the development of an ontology for knowledge management on potential drug-drug interactions. His track record of extramurally funded work includes developing semantic web solutions for pediatrics, pediatric oncology, biobanking, epidemic simulators and chronic diseases. Dr. Brochhausen’s work has been published in eminent journals and proceedings in the field of Biomedical Ontologies. In 2014 he co-authored “An Ontological Analysis of Reference in Health Record Statements”, which won the best paper award at the Formal Ontologies in Information System Conference 2014.

Weida Tong, PhD
Weida Tong, PhDDirector, Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics

Dr. Tong is Director of Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (USFDA-NCTR). He has served a science advisory board member for several large projects involving multiple institutes in Europe and USA. He also holds several adjunct positions at universities, including Associate Professor at UMDNJ/Rutgers university and UAMS, full professor at UALR and, more recently, guest professor at Zhejiang University. His division at FDA is to develop bioinformatic methodologies and standards to support FDA research and regulation and to advance regulatory science and personalized medicine. The most visible projects from his group are (1) development of the FDA bioinformatics system, ArrayTrackTM suite, to support FDA review and research on pharmacogenomics; (2) leading the effort on the Microarray Quality Control (MAQC) consortium to develop standards for translational science and personalized medicine; and (3) development of liver toxicity knowledge base (LTKB) for drug safety; and (4) in silico drug repositioning. In addition, his group also specializes in molecular modeling and QSARs with specific interest in estrogen, androgen, and endocrine disruptor. Dr. Tong has published more than 200 papers and book chapters. ( )

Wenming Xiao, PhD

Research Principal Investigator
Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics

Dr. Xiao received his bachelor in biology from Xiamen University in 1989 and master in genetics from the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science in 1992. Later on, he moved to United States and finished Ph. D program in molecular genetics form the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1997 and master program in computer science from Marquette University in 1998. From 1998 to 2005, Dr. Xiao was bioinformatics scientist in GeneLogic, MetriGenix, and Celera Genomics. Since 2005, he joined the National Institute of Health as a contractor and then as a staff scientist at Center for Cancer Research, National Institute of Cancer. In Dec, 2014, Dr. Xiao joined Division of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Xiao has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, PNAS, N. Engl. J. Med, and Cancer Cell. In 2010, he received the NIH director award and NIH merit award for his contribution in Lymphoma Leukemia Molecular Profiling Program.
During his early career in industry, Dr. Xiao defined and developed IT infrastructure and software/database solutions for genomics and microarray data. His recent focus is to develop informatics tools in supporting next generation sequencing technology for intramural research at the NIH for various applications such as, genome assembly, ChIP-Seq, RNA-Seq, Exome-Seq and digital gene expression.

Richard D Beger, Ph.D.
Biomarkers and Alternative Models Branch
Division of Systems Biology

Richard Beger, Ph.D., is the Director of Biomarkers and Alternative Models Branch at NCTR. The Biomarkers and Alternative Models Branch consists of metabolomics, proteomics, and alternative models research teams that focus on discovering and evaluating translational biomarkers of injury and health status. He received his Ph.D. theoretical biophysics from Purdue University in 1991. He has been at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), US FDA, in Jefferson, AR since 1998. He has been a member of Society of Toxicology and Metabolomics Society since 2004. He is an author or co-author of over 115 publications including 6 book chapters. After arriving at the NCTR, he initiated research activities using NMR-based and MS-based metabolomics methods to identify non-invasive and tissue-based metabolic biomarkers of drug toxicity, drug efficacy, disease status, and precision medicine.

Hong Fang, Ph.D.
Hong Fang PhDSenior Bioinformatician
Office of Scientific Coordination

Dr. Hong Fang has over 15 years of experience in computational science, chemoinformatics, toxicoinformatics, and bioinformatics research. Dr. Fang has led and coordinated several bioinformatics software and database development efforts among those in the NCTR collection. These tools are widely used in the FDA, within the US, and internationally, and include: (1) ArrayTrack- an integrated genomics tool for FDA and public use; (2) LTKB – a liver toxicity knowledge base to study drug-induced liver injury; (3) EDKB - The Endocrine Disruptor Knowledge Base; (4) FDALabel- a full-text searchable, web based tool for searching FDA drug labels, which is crucial to the support of studies of adverse drug reactions and drug safety. Dr Fang is a prolific writer and has authored and co-authored more than 130 articles.

Daniel L Johnson

PhD Candidate
Arkansas State University

Mr. Johnson is a PhD Candidate in Molecular Biosciences at Arkansas State University. Mr. Johnson's PhD studies have an emphasis in bioinformatics and medical informatics. He received a B.S in Computer Science and Mathematics and a M.S in Computer Sciences from Arkansas State University. He joined the Molecular Biosciences program under Dr. Xiuzhen Huang in 2009. Mr. Johnson has performed analysis of microarray and RNAseq data for a number of projects during his PhD studies. He was involved in the project with Dr. Hood’s lab in identifying differentially expressed genes in microarray data for maize. He managed the first round of sequencing data from the Arkansas P3 sequencing projects. His dissertation focus is the classification and subtyping of lung cancer using differential gene expression in order to identify high aggressive tumors in a patient.

Abhijit Bhattacharyya, PhD

Abhijit Bhattacharyya, PhDAbhijit Bhattacharyya, Ph.D.
Interim Dean and Professor of Systems Engineering
Donaghey College of Engineering and Information
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya has been actively involved in STEM education and research in Arkansas since he joined the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2002. A mechanical engineer by training with research interests in smart materials and thin films, he became involved in STEM education and research in various capacities such as the Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Applied Science Graduate Program (2006-2010), Associate Dean at the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (2011-2014) and Interim Dean (since January 2015). In the latter two capacities, he has been actively involved in the administration of the Joint UALR-UAMS Bioinformatics Graduate Program. He has also served on the Science Advisory Committee of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Malathi Srivatsan, PhD

Malathi Srivatsan, PhDMalathi Srivatsan, Ph.D.
Director, Molecular Biosciences Graduate Program
Associate Director of ABI (A-State)
Professor of Neurobiology
Arkansas State University

Dr. Srivatsan is Director of the Molecular Biosciences Graduate Program, Associate Director of Arkansas Biosciences Institute and a Professor of Neurobiology at Arkansas State University. Her research focus has been on neuroregeneration and she directs a neurobiology lab that has been supported by funding from NIH and NSF. She has served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (2010-2011) at NSF in Washington, D.C. and is currently the PI of “Bridging the Divide: A Program to Broaden Participation in STEM Ph.D.” supported by a five year grant from NSF that bridges A-State with HBCUs Philander Smith College and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to increase the participation and success of students from underrepresented groups in STEM graduate programs. She has a professional certification in Bioinformatics from Stanford University, uses bioinformatics tools in her research and has developed/teach a course on ‘Bioinformatics for Biologists’ for senior undergraduates and first year graduate students at Arkansas State University.

Charlotte Hobbs, PhD

Charlotte Hobbs, PhDCharlotte Hobbs, M.D., PH.D.
Director, Arkansas Center for Birth Defects Research & Prevention
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Charlotte Hobbs is Professor and Chief of the Section of Birth Defects Research in the UAMS Department of Pediatrics. She is an epidemiologist, a board-certified pediatrician and the scientific medical director of the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System (ARHMS). In 2004, she was named the Pamela Stephens Chair in Birth Defects Research. In 2014, she was appointed the Executive Associate Dean for Research within the College of Medicine at UAMS.

Having earned her PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, and M.D. from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, she has been with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) since 1993. She is a Professor with Tenure and Section Chief of Birth Defects Research, in the Department of Pediatrics, in the UAMS College of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health. Dr. Hobbs is the Scientific Director of the Arkansas Reproductive Health Monitoring System, and an attending physician in Neonatology at the UAMS Hospital/Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Hobbs’ research interests involve genetic epidemiology of birth defects, including neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and Down syndrome. For the period 1996-2013, she has been awarded more than $53 million in competitive research funds and state appropriations for birth defects surveillance, research, and prevention activities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the March of Dimes, and the State of Arkansas.

In addition to receiving the Dean’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar Lecturer Award, Dr. Hobbs’ recent honors and awards include Dr. Robert H. Fiser, Jr. Research Achievement Award, serving as an ACHRI Board Member and being selected as a member of the National March of Dimes Scientific Advisory Committee on Prematurity. She was selected as the Non-federal Co-Chair of the National Children’s Study Birth Defects Working Group, is a member of the National Teratology Society, the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research, the Ambulatory Pediatrics Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Cesar M. Compadre, PhD

Cesar M. Compadre, PhDCesar M. Compadre, BS Pharm, MS, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences,
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Dr. Cesar M. Compadre is a professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He received his BS Pharm from National University of Mexico, 1977, MS from National University of Mexico, 1980, and Ph.D. from University of Illinois, Chicago, IL in 1985. He has extensive research experience on the development of bioactive compounds based on naturally occurring compounds, and on the use of molecular modeling in drug design and structure-activity studies. He has published over 85 publications and co-authored more than 70 patents related to the development of bioactive compounds. He is also the developer of one FDA approved antimicrobial technology, which is commercially used, and he is also co-founder of Tocol Pharmaceuticals, a company focused in the development of enhanced vitamin-E analogues. Dr. Compadre has a BSPharm degree, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He conducted postdoctoral research on structure-activity relationships studies using molecular modeling at the University of Illinois working with Dr. John M. Pezzuto and at Pomona College working with Professor Corwin Hansch. Additionally, he had a sabbatical experience at NASA Ames Research Center in computer modeling. Dr. Compadre is past-chair of the Board of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and chair of the board of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas. He also serves at the Board of MCBIOS where he is currently the Chair-elect. As an educator Dr. Compadre, regularly teaches graduate and professional courses at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and has directed over 20 graduate students, and post-doctoral trainees. Dr. Compadre is founding faculty of the joint UALR/UAMS bioinformatics program. Dr. Compadre has extensive research collaborations with many scientists locally, nationally and internationally.

Mary Yang, PhD

Mary Yang, PhDMary Yang, Ph.D. .
Associate Professor of Information Science
Director of the joint UALR/UAMS Bioinformatics Program
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Mary Yang is an Associate Professor of Information Science at UALR and Director of the joint UALR/UAMS Bioinformatics Program. Mary Yang received the MS, MSECE and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University and had postdoctoral training from NIH. She was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Supercomputing and the International Journal of Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Yang's main research interest is to develop functional genomics and systems biology-based approaches to understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying complex diseases such as cancer.

Cynthia Sagers, PhD

Cynthia Sagers, PhDCynthia Sagers, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost for Research
Professor, Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas

After earning a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Utah and a post-doc at UC Berkeley, Sagers joined the faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas. Leadership roles at the University of Arkansas include departmental, college and university appointments. In the department, Sagers directed 17 departmental committees, including the Graduate Studies Committees and a host of search committees. Sagers chaired the Honors Council of Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, and served on the College Personnel and Scholarship Committees. University service includes the interim position as Associate Vice Provost for Research (AVPR) and committee service for sustainability, student affairs, and broadening participation. In 2010, Sagers joined the National Science Foundation as a Program Officer serving the Office of International Science and Engineering and the Division of Environmental Biology. As a Program Officer, she managed a large portfolio of funding programs serving the U.S. scientific research community. Following the NSF appointment, Sagers was named Associate Vice Provost for Research in 2012 and charged with promoting research development at the University of Arkansas. Since then, she has convened multiple working groups to develop proposals in excess of $32M.

Douglas Rhoads, PhD

Douglas Rhoads, PhDProfessor
Department of Biological Sciences
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
University of Arkansas

Dr. Rhoads training research focuses on molecular biology and molecular genetics spanning a number of different organisms, and foci. Current research projects include: 1) genetic and genomic analyses of pulmonary hypertension and ascites in broilers, 2) genetic and genomic analyses of sperm mobility and primordial germ cell function in chickens, 3) sequence and assembly of the Timber Rattlesnake genome, and 4) host-microbe interactions in lameness and bacterial chondronecrosis and osteomyelitis in broilers. This research uses Next and Second Generation Sequencing, Genome Wide Association Studies, bioinformatics, high-performance computing, and molecular genetics to address these projects. Dr. Rhoads was the initiator of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology and has served as Director since 2006. The program currently has over 90 faculty and more than 80 graduate students.

Keith Bush, PhD

Keith Bush, PhDKeith Bush, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT)
Professor, Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas

Dr. Bushstudies the use of machine learning methods to model and control neural dynamical systems. Over the past ten years he has collaborated with American and Canadian computer scientists and neurophysiologists to develop treatments of epilepsy by teaching computers how to recognize the formation of seizures in brain activity and then safely alter this activity using small pulses of electricity. More recently, Dr. Bush worked with scientists in the Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) of UAMS to develop machine learning algorithms that improve modern neuroimaging methodology: improved filtering algorithms for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and reinforcement learning models of social decision-making; advances that have aided our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. Currently, he is working with BIRC scientists to identify and modulate human brain connectivity and function via real-time fMRI technology.