The Arkansas INBRE, led by Drs. Lawrence Cornett and Jerry Ware (UAMS Physiology), held its annual Research Conference on November 6-7. The Arkansas INBRE Research Conference involves participation from colleges and universities in Arkansas and surrounding states in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, and biochemistry. In a first, the meeting was held as a virtual Zoom conference with the participation of 288 registrants from 24 institutions. Over the two-day meeting, there were 87 oral presentations from undergraduate students and 14 workshops on a range of topics from graduate school opportunities and applications, to genomics, bioinformatics, and specialized research methods.
A highlight of the meeting was a keynote address by Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. His talk “Preventing the Next Pandemic” focused on the current COVID pandemic, vaccine development, and the national efforts required for effective vaccination. In 2017, Dr. Hotez was named by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the 34 most influential people in health care, while in 2018 he received the Sustained Leadership Award from Research America. Most recently, as both a vaccine scientist and autism parent, Dr. Hotez has led national efforts to defend vaccines and to serve as a champion of vaccines amid a growing national “antivax” threat. Dr. Hotez appears frequently on television (including BBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC), radio, and in newspaper interviews (including the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal).