Apollo_11-KSCFacilitating research success at UAMS is a bit like preparing for a NASA launch. We know the principal investigators and research involved, but may not know the small army of research support staff and technicians who help facilitate grant funding, navigate regulatory hurdles, and protect animal/human health every day.

The Research and Innovation MVP focuses on these dedicated UAMS research support folks. Find a research staffer highlighted here every other month. (Note: Past awardees who are no longer in research/retired have been removed from the list.)

  • Meet Chris Phillips, Biomedical I & II Facilities Mgr., Division of Research & InnovationSeptember 23, 2021

    Chris Phillips

    What is your favorite part of the job? I love listening to a customer’s story, figuring out what their ‘pain points’ are and coming up with solutions. I love it when I can make a customer’s day by doing more than they expect and I am able to make their jobs easier.

  • Meet Evan T. Finley., Au.D., Graduate Research Assistant, College of Health ProfessionsJune 2, 2021

    Evan Finley, Au.D.

    What is your favorite part of the job? I have always enjoyed working on large/complex problems. I particularly enjoy setting a research goal and then working on overcoming any obstacles that arise as progress towards the goal is made. Working in Dr. Atcherson’s lab was a great way to gain experience doing exactly that!

  • Meet Suzy Sun, B.A., Dept. Administrator/Assoc. Chair, Dept. of GeriatricsApril 2, 2021

    Suzy Sun

    Any last thoughts on your position as Department Administrator? There is no place that I would rather be than at UAMS. Here we embrace our diversity and inclusiveness, while also celebrating our individuality. From our life experiences, we all bring unique perspectives that enhance the workplace. We listen and learn from one another.

  • Meet Nicki Spencer, M.H.A., and Rachel Hale, M.A., TRI Community Engagement Program ManagersJanuary 28, 2021

    How do you/your group handle problematic issues? While program planning, there are various opinions regarding content. As a team, we bring everything to the table. Due to our respect for one another, we are able to heed another person’s reasoning and be open to informative criticism/concerns.

  • Meet Jennifer Hixon, Research Program Manager, IRBJanuary 12, 2021

    Jennifer Hixon

    How long have you worked at UAMS? I have been with UAMS for 12 years. What is your favorite part of the job? I really enjoy working with investigators, research staff, and different departments across campus and at other sites. Obtaining FDA approval for investigator-initiated drug and/or device studies is always interesting because of the…

  • Meet Kimberly Krager, Ph.D., Research Associate, College of PharmacyNovember 2, 2020

    Kimberly Krager

    How do you/your group handle problematic issues? I work with a fantastic group with expertise in several fields and who are always willing to assist in teaching new lab techniques or trouble shooting project issues that may arise. Whatever needs to be done to accomplish the goal, we will do it.

  • Meet Natalie Morris, B.S., Research Assistant, Brain Imaging Research CenterSeptember 21, 2020

    Natalie Morris

    How does your work assignment interact with others? We recruit in the community and BIRC's main goal is to offer awareness of the practical side of neuroscience. Depending on the study, we recruit from domestic violence shelters, substance abuse treatment programs (e.g., UAMS’ CAST program), inpatient recovery centers, and even middle schools.

  • Meet James Bishop, M.S., RBP (ABSA), Biological Safety Officer and Director of Occupational Health and SafetySeptember 21, 2020

    James Bishop

    What is your favorite part of the job? There’s never a dull moment. I work with everyone including the IBC, IACUC, IRB, DLAM, Compliance, Engineering and Operations, and Infection Control and Prevention to name a few. UAMS also has clinical/research work at BSL1, BSL2, and BSL3 safety levels that require special care.

  • Meet David Robinson, Communications Manager, Communications and MarketingJune 15, 2020

    David Robinson

    What is your favorite part of the job? I love telling the stories of UAMS scientists. It is a great privilege.

  • Meet Meredith Joheim, M.S., Editor, SciComJune 9, 2020


    Are there any challenges? We edit grants and manuscripts with subject matter that encompasses a variety of scientific research. I enjoy the challenge of familiarizing myself with the specific area of any given project that I am editing. It keeps my scientific brain engaged and happy.

  • Meet Alison Gill, B.A., Project Specialist, BioVentures, LLC.December 3, 2019

    Allison Gill

    How many invention disclosures do you work on each year? My desk handles approximately 35 invention disclosures and their associated legal documents each year. Additionally, legal documents and government reporting for 150 active patent cases and the financial processing for $1.68 million in income and $1.60 million in expenses are managed annually.

  • Meet Lisa Smith, Program Coordinator, Dept. of Microbiology and ImmunologyOctober 2, 2019

    Lisa Smith

    Are there any challenges? I like to finish my work the same day it hits my desk. You cannot always do that here. There is so much is happening. You have to be flexible and work on those pop-up priorities that can delay your regular departmental priorities.

  • Meet Paula McCauley-Shelton, Senior Research AdministratorJune 7, 2019

    Paula McCauley

    What is your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job is working with faculty. Providing administrative support isn’t necessarily the most glamorous part of research, but as a non-scientist it is extremely rewarding to know that I play a part in the extraordinary work that our wonderful faculty are doing every…

  • Meet Kay L. Shuttleworth, Ph.D., IRB Administrator for the DCOC (ISPCTN)February 1, 2019

    Kay Shuttleworth, Ph.D.

    What is your favorite part of the job? Knowing that I am, in the long run, helping children.

  • Meet Christina Hamilton, GMC, Office of Sponsored Programs Administrative Network (OSPAN)November 19, 2018

    Christina Hamilton

    Are there any challenges? It can be challenging to find a common language between all of the different roles that touch a grant – from the PI to the program officer to the research administrator to the grants’ accounting specialists, everyone looks at the grant from a different perspective. It can be hard sometimes to…

  • Meet Executive Director, Cancer Clinical Trials and Regulatory Affairs (CCTRA) – Sandy Annis, B.A., CCRPSeptember 28, 2018

    Sandy Annis

    How do you/ your group handle problematic issues? We handle problematic issues through communication and problem solving. Effective communication is key to everything, but it is most important in problematic situations. We have to tailor our communications to the person, the study and the situation. It’s a constantly moving target. Our goal is to address…

  • Meet Allen Gies, M.S., Research Associate, DNA Sequencing Core ManagerMay 2, 2018

    Allen Gies

    How long have you worked for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences? I’ve worked at UAMS since May of 1997. I’ve had the same position for 21 years. How long have you been in your current position? I was recruited here from Kansas State to specifically start the DNA Sequencing Core. UAMS was badly…

  • Meet Jeff Kamykowski, M.S., Core Technologist for the Digital Microscopy LaboratoryMarch 30, 2018

    Jeff Kamykowski

    How long have you worked at UAMS? I have been at UAMS for ten years, 8 years in the Digital Microscopy Lab. What is your favorite part of the job? Everyday can be different, it never gets boring. It also helps when things work well the first time.

  • Meet Melinda Gunnell, B.A., Biology, Research Program ManagerFebruary 24, 2018

    Melinda Gunnell

    How long have you worked in the University of Arkansas System? After college, I worked in the Animal Sciences Department at UA Fayetteville for a couple of years doing poultry research and also diagnostic work with industry clients such as Tyson Foods.  I joined UAMS in 1986 and worked briefly with Dr. Phillip Rayford in…

  • Meet GibAnn Berryhill, M.A., Senior Research Administrator, OSPANJanuary 17, 2018

    Gib Berryhill

    How long have you worked at UAMS? Since 2005. Previously, I was teaching college freshman/sophomore writing and co-directing a National Writing Project site at UALR. How long have you been in your current position? I came to OSPAN as a research administrator in July 2016. Before that I was in the Department of Internal Medicine…

  • Meet Michael Bailey, Translational Research Institute (TRI) Research Program ManagerAugust 30, 2017

    Michael Bailey

    How long have you worked at UAMS? I have worked at UAMS in the Translational Research Institute’s Clinical Trials Innovation Unit for 3 years. I also attended the UAMS College of Pharmacy, graduating in 1983. How long have you been in your current position? What is your favorite part of the job? I have been…

  • Meet Andrea Ham, B.S., ORSP Senior Grants AdministratorJune 5, 2017

    Andrea Ham

    How long have you worked at UAMS? I have worked at UAMS for 10 years. How long have you been in your current position? Three years What is your favorite part of the job? Working in the ORSP has given me the opportunity to build wonderful relationships with my team, PIs, and the entire research…

  • Meet Ty Stephens, CPA, MBA, Director of Cost AccountingMarch 31, 2017

    Ty Stephens

    How long have you worked at UAMS? I have been working at UAMS for nearly 14 years. Prior to that, I was at Arkansas Children’s Hospital for two years and the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture for 9 years. Are there any challenges? One of the main job challenges is having to answer a…

  • Meet Carrie Chiaro, M.P.H., CCRP, Research Compliance Audit ManagerFebruary 23, 2017

    Carrie Chiaro

    Are you originally from Arkansas? No. I grew up in Memphis, TN, but attended Hendrix College with a degree in Sociology and later received a master degree in Public Health at UAMS. How long have you worked at UAMS? Ten years with 4 years at ACH in the middle of that time. How long have…

  • Meet Bridgette Engi, B.S., LATG, Animal Husbandry Supervisor/Veterinary AssistantNovember 29, 2016

    Bridgette Engi

    How long have you worked at UAMS? Since July of 2009.  I worked in a veterinary clinic in private practice prior to joining UAMS and DLAM. Summarize your current job responsibilities. Initially, I started in DLAM as a husbandry technician because that was the only job open at the time. Later, I was promoted to…

  • Meet Kerrey Roberto, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) AdministratorFebruary 5, 2016

    Kerrey Roberto

    How long have you worked at UAMS? 21 years How long have you worked in your current position? Two years What is your favorite part of the job? Interacting with the research community and learning about the interesting projects going on in UAMS & ACHRI laboratories. Are there any challenges? Of course.  The main challenge is…

  • Meet Susan Steelman and Sheila ThomasJanuary 28, 2016

    Head of UAMS Library Education and Reference Services – Susan Steelman Library Research and Clinical Search Services Coordinator – Sheila Thomas Sheila Thomas How long have you worked at UAMS? Susan – 20 years; Sheila – 6 years Susan Steelman You asked to be interviewed together. How does the overlap between your jobs work? Since…

  • Meet Edith Paal, Institutional Research Board (IRB) DirectorJanuary 12, 2016

    Edith Paal

    How long have you worked at UAMS? 18 years How long have you worked in your current position? 1.5 years. I worked in the Office of Research Compliance for 9 years before moving to the IRB in 2012. Summarize your current job responsibilities. Our office oversees human subject research to ensure, to the extent possible,…