The Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) encompasses collaborative research efforts of five institutions through agricultural and medical research in order to improve the health of Arkansans. The ABI was created as the major research component of the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000 (sometimes referred to as Initiated Act I), which was approved in general election by 64% of Arkansas voters.
Scientists from the five member campuses - Arkansas Children's Hospital; Arkansas State University; the University of Arkansas-Division of Agriculture; the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences - focus on agriculture and basic and clinical science research that will lead to health improvement, especially in the area of tobacco-related diseases.
This joint venture in science research will strengthen all participating ABI partners by enhancing collaborations in the common research areas of agriculture, bioengineering, tobacco-related illnesses, nutrition and related science, and other complementary fields. The ABI partners will be expected to leverage their research funding to generate additional research dollars from national and philanthropic sources, some of which are only available by conducting collaborative research.
State-of-the-art facilities in plant genetic engineering, DNA and protein analyses, mammalian cell culture, microscopy and analytical support provides significant resources to faculty, students and industry. These facilities enable a broad spectrum of research activities that range from direct manipulations at the DNA and single cell level to large scale bioproduction and assessment of medically active compounds.
Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
With recent advances in molecular medicine, the human genome, and agriculture, biotechnology is seen as the next major engine of economic development in the U.S. The Delta's strengths in agriculture and food industries make this region a "natural" to capitalize on this revolution. Our goal is to ensure that the region participates fully in this growth through development of intellectual property and state-of-the-art facilities, workforce training, and strong collaborations with other institutions and business organizations. Faculty within the Biosciences Institute are encouraged to engage in entrepreneurial activities including spin-off companies, joint ventures and other business relationships to facilitate technology transfer and regional economic development. This interactive environment provides problem-solving capabilities and innovations to industry and unique cross-disciplinary experiences and training to students in science and business alike.