Koeppe Recognized for Service as ABI Institutional Director at University of Arkansas

From left, Dan Sui, vice chancellor for research and innovation; Roger Koeppe, Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Robert "Bobby" McGehee, executive director of Arkansas Biosciences Institute and dean at UAMS Graduate School
Chieko Hara, University Relations

From left, Dan Sui, vice chancellor for research and innovation; Roger Koeppe, Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Robert "Bobby" McGehee, executive director of Arkansas Biosciences Institute and dean at UAMS Graduate School

Science and engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas use research awards from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute to improve the health of Arkansans and prevent smoking-related illnesses.

Seed funding from the institute, a statewide consortium consisting of five research institutions, often enables researchers to produce preliminary results that help them and the university compete for large grants from federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

As the U of A's institutional director and ABI representative for 11 years, Roger Koeppe, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, helped many colleagues secure funding from the institute. Koeppe was recognized for his service Thursday during a faculty town hall meeting to discuss future funding priorities and strategies of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute. The meeting was hosted by Dan Sui, vice chancellor for research and innovation.

"ABI funds have made a huge difference on this campus, certainly in terms of biosciences research, but also as leverage to attract and recruit top investigators," Sui said. "Obviously, Roger has been responsible so much its success on this campus, and we want to recognize his enormous contribution."

Earlier this semester, Chancellor Joe Steinmetz appointed Sui to serve as the new ABI institutional director.

The Arkansas Biosciences Institute was established as a result of Arkansas' share of the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement. Health care leaders in the state sought a productive way to disperse the state's share of the settlement. The Arkansas Biosciences Institute was created as a conduit for research that could help reduce or prevent smoking-related illnesses.

Arkansas voters endorsed the proposed Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000, and the Arkansas Legislature enacted the provisions of that proposal as Acts 1569 through 1580 of 2001. Part of that legislation established the institute as a consortium of five research institutions: the University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas State University and Arkansas Children's Hospital. Since ABI's beginning, scientists at these institutions have focused on biomedical and agricultural research with medical implications.

Robert "Bobby" McGehee, executive director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute and dean at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Graduate School, also recognized Koeppe during Thursday's meeting. He and Koeppe served together for more than a decade.

McGehee said Arkansas is one of only two states that uses all of its tobacco settlement money for heath inititatives and healthcare research. Sui said the university will continue to use ABI funds to make new strategetic investments in biosciences research.

Contacts

Wesley Stites, associate vice chancellor for research and innovation
Office of Research and Innovation
479-575-2470, wstites@uark.edu

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