April 6, 2021

Alan Tackett Named Arkansas Research Alliance Fellow

By Susan Van Dusen

The Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) announced today that two researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will be joining their ranks.

Edward T.H. Yeh, M.D., a cardiologist renowned in the field of onco-cardiology, was named an ARA Scholar, and Alan Tackett, Ph.D., a cancer researcher widely recognized for his work in cancer biomarker discovery, was honored as an ARA Fellow.

Yeh will receive $500,000 and Tackett will receive $75,000 to further their research.

“We are extremely proud to have both a new ARA Scholar and ARA Fellow at UAMS. The leadership demonstrated by Dr. Yeh and Dr. Tackett has made a valuable impact on research programs at UAMS. We are fortunate to have them in Arkansas and look forward to their future successes,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS Chancellor and UAMS Health CEO.

The ARA Scholars program helps recruit and support world-class researchers to universities where their work helps strengthen the competitiveness of the state.

The ARA Fellows program recognizes research leaders who are currently working in Arkansas at one of the state’s five research campuses.

“The ARA Scholars program is the cornerstone for our organization and bridges the gap between university research and economic development, while our Fellows program recognizes research leaders who have already made an impact in our state,” said Jerry Adams, ARA president. “We anticipate great things from both Dr. Yeh and Dr. Tackett as they build upon their outstanding research portfolios and explore new paths in the future.”

Yeh joined UAMS in 2020 as chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and the Nolan Family Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine in the College of Medicine.

From 2000 to 2016, he served as professor and founding chair of the Department of Cardiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he made seminal contributions to understanding the relationships between cancer, chemotherapy agents and heart disease. In 2012, his laboratory discovered that Topoisomerase 2b is the molecular basis of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity, upending decades of belief that toxicity to this chemotherapy drug was due solely to reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation.

Earlier, Yeh made important contributions in biochemistry, including the discovery of two ubiquitin-like proteins, SUMO/Sentrin and NEDD8. Both of these proteins are important in regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor stability, DNA repair, heart and lymphoid development, cancer pathogenesis, and sudden death and seizure disorders.

Tackett’s research involves using advanced technology to discover molecular pathways essential for the development of new therapies and finding new biological markers to assist in developing a personalized treatment for each patient’s specific needs.

He is deputy director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and holder of the Scharlau Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.

In 2020, Tackett was awarded a $10.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) establishing the IDeA National Resource for Quantitative Proteomics as the first NIH National Resource in Arkansas, which serves biomedical researchers across the nation.