Friends of Medicine 2019

What exciting careers are possible for someone with interest in medicine?

Wish you could hear directly from people in those positions how they got there?


In a collaboration between UAMS and UA Little Rock’s STEM Education Center, this seminar series is designed to give you the chance to interact with people working to improve human health from the clinical and the basic research perspective!


From 4:00 – 5:30 pm, each seminar brings one clinical guest and one research guest to share their story of how they got to where they are, and also how they play a role in improving human health. Each guest will have 20 minutes to share their story, and after both are done there will be 40 minutes for you to ask questions!


Open to everyone curious to learn about careers in medical related fields!


Scheduled Seminars for Spring 2019:

Wednesday 3/27/2019: Ovarian cancer

1 – Viruses that are used to treat ovarian cancer with research scientist Dr. Jia Liu

My name is Dr. Jia Liu. I am an Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). I have a Ph.D. degree in Genetics in Biomedical Sciences; I am a virologist studying how viruses evade host defense systems. I will tell you about how we repurpose viruses to fight ovarian cancer. I have an amazing group of people joining me for the discussion: Bernice Nounoma, B.S., who is a graduate student in our Ph.D. program, and Richard Connor, B.S., who will obtain his Ph.D. from UA Little Rock soon and currently works as a researcher in my lab. 

2 – Surviving ovarian cancer: hear the story from diagnosis to survival with former patient Stephanie Carper

Ms. Stephanie Carper, who is a survivor of ovarian cancer, has generously offered to come speak about her journey. She will share her experiences in diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship of ovarian cancer. Her perspective will allow you to see ways that you can contribute to medicine from the clinical and basic research fields that you may not have been aware of.

Monday 4/1/2019: Public Health

1 – International perspective on health care from an English physician Dr. Chris Hopkinson

Chris Hopkinson is a primary care physician with a particular interest in community health care. He is a generalist who enjoys the incredible variety found in the art and practice of medicine and takes a great interest in the social factors that shape health, wellness and access to care.  Chris trained in the U.K’s National Health Service and since moving to the US has worked with Federally Qualified Community Health Centers in Arkansas and Oklahoma. 

2 – Infectious diseases, parasites and the immune system with research scientist Dr. Tiffany Weinkopff

Tiffany Weinkopff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). She has a Ph.D. degree in Cellular Biology with an emphasis in global health and her lab studies infectious diseases and specifically how parasites cause inflammation and disease. According to the CDC, more than 1 billion people, or one-sixth of the world’s population, is suffering from one or more Neglected Tropical Diseases with many of these diseases affecting the poorest populations in the developing world. Throughout her research career, she has focused on the relationships between these parasites and their hosts. Using a variety of parasitic diseases including lymphatic filariasis and leishmaniasis, she has examined multiple facets of host-pathogen interactions from the insect vector to the pre-clinical mouse model to the human.​

Wednesday 4/10/2019: Studying the brain

1 – Effects of Space Radiation on Cognition and Brain Physiology with research scientist Dr. Antiño Allen

My name is Antiño Recio Allen  I am an Assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at UAMS. My PhD work focused on Evolutionary Biology and Neuroscience. I  have taken a very non-traditional path to my position in Academia. I will share with you my experiences of how I transition from an Officer in the United States Army to a researcher developing countermeasures that may be used for future Space Travel to Mars.

2 – Cutting-edge treatments for brain cancer with physician / research MD PhD Dr. Analiz Rodriguez

My name is Analiz Rodriguez and I am assistant professor and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology at UAMS.  I wanted to be a doctor growing up and then did independent research in high school.  I was inspired to continue doing science so ultimately combined my interests and did the MD/PhD program.  I take care of people who have brain tumors and also do research in this area.  I hope to shed light on how physicians can carry out scientific endeavors.

Wednesday 4/17/2019:

1 – Malaria related immune cell response and memory with research scientist Dr. Jason Stumhofer

Through determination and a little luck I turned an interest in malaria that started with the writing of a term paper in college into a career in basic research! My name is Jason Stumhofer, and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UAMS. I have a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology, and my research interests have centered on parasitic diseases. My current research program involves understanding the immune response to the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria.

2 – How do hospitalists guide patient care with physician Dr. Brandy Utter

Dr. Brandy Utter is a family physician working as a hospitalist at Conway Regional Medical Center. Dr. Utter received her training at UAMS before completing residency in North Carolina. She worked in St Paul, MN as a primary care physician before returning to Arkansas where she delved full time into hospital medicine at Conway Regional Medical Center. Dr. Utter takes care of the hospitalized patient from admission to discharge, using evidence based medicine to guide them through healing. She holds a special interest in palliative and hospice care for the dying patient as well. 

Wednesday 4/24/2019:

1 – What can we learn from studying the Plague with research scientist Dr. Roger Pechous

My name is Roger Pechous and I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). My laboratory is interested in defining bacterial and host factors that contribute to the progression of severe bacterial pneumonia.  Specifically, we use the bacterium Yersinia pestis to characterize bacterial strategies to evade killing by the innate immune system, and host hyper-inflammatory responses that lead to lethality during infection. Y. pestis is the causative agent of plague, and is responsible for at least three major pandemics in recorded history including the “Black Death” of the Middle Ages. Pulmonary infection with Y. pestis results in a severe and rapidly progressing pneumonia that is lethal 100% of the time in the absence of treatment, and is very difficult to treat in its later stages. We use a combination of immortalized cell lines, primary human cells and tissues from donors, and a mouse infection model to identify bacterial genes that contribute to disease, as well as mammalian genes and pathways that are dysregulated to result in a severe and lethal pulmonary infection. We hope to further understand how Y. pestis causes disease, and identify bacterial and host factors that can be exploited therapeutically to treat pneumonic plague and other severe pulmonary infection.

2 – How research in clinical orthopedic trauma surgery can lead to improved patient outcomes with physician Dr. Steven Cherney

Steve Cherney is an orthopaedic surgeon that specializes in orthopaedic trauma.  He works full time at UAMS, the only level I trauma center in the state. In addition, UAMS is the only medical school and orthopaedic residency program in the state.  His interests in research reflect this unique opportunity, balancing between investigating clinical outcomes for patients, improving resident education, and public health advances through the trauma system.


All seminars are from 4:00-5:30 pm in Fribourgh Hall 102 at UA Little Rock

Food provided, please RSVP here so we can predict quantities. 

Photo gallery from previous events can be found here.

Curious about the UA Little Rock STEM Education Center, and what we do?