Arkansas Children’s Research Institute Receives $11.5M from NIH

Scientists at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will continue studying the impacts of childhood obesity after the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded $11.5 million in renewed funding to the ACRI Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention. 

The NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant will fund further improvements to the center’s existing research infrastructure and ensure development of more scientists with expertise in childhood obesity. 

Led by Judith Weber, PhD, RD, the multidisciplinary Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention anchors the pediatric obesity program at Arkansas Children’s. Weber also serves as associate dean for research and a professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, as well as a professor in the Department of Pediatrics. 

“Our goal is a future where parents don’t have to worry about their child developing any of the countless complications children face because of obesity,” said Weber, who is also the project’s principal investigator. “This center continues to be a prime example of how research translates into interventions, creating a brighter future for kids right here in Arkansas and around the nation.” 

The Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention was established in 2016 with a $9.4 million NIH Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant award to ACRI.  The grant is part of the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program aimed at building research capacities in states that have historically had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical, and translational research.  

COBRE programs focus on creating thriving research programs with some of the nation's most promising young scientists, supporting basic, clinical and infrastructure improvements.