Project Leaders

Current Project Leaders


Antiño R. Allen. Ph.D.

Project-2: Activation of the Nrf2 Pathway to Ameliorate Normal Tissue Damage and Cognitive Decline after Cancer Treatment.

The overall goal of the project is to determine if Nrf2 contributes to the protective effect of MnBuOE toward AC-T induced brain injury.  He will quantify the ability of MnBuOE treatment to reduce hippocampal microvascular damage and to ameliorate Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide and Paclitaxel (AC-T) -induced inhibition of neurogenesis.

Dr. Allen received his Ph.D. degree in Evolution, Ecology & Behavior from Indiana University Bloomington in 2010. He received postdoctoral training at the Brain and Spinal Injury Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California San Francisco. Dr. Allen is Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), member of the College of Pharmacy Division of Radiation Health.

Dr. Allen’s Mentor: Edgar Garcia-Rill, Ph.D.

Dr. Garcia-Rill (Ph.D.) is Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience, a division of the Department of Neurobiology & Dev. Sci. and research arm of the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neuroscience Institute, at which novel treatments for the treatment of spinal cord injury are being developed under the Spinal Cord Injury Mobilization Program. His laboratory is engaged in the investigations of 1) Disorders of the Reticular Activating Systsem (RAS), including schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, and sleep disorders, and 2) Disorders of motor control, including Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Spinal Cord Injury.

Dr. Allen’s Staff and Students

Jing Wang (Research Assistant)

Fabio Ntagwabira (Graduate student)

Taurean Brown (Graduate student)

Madison Trujillo (Graduate Student)

Christa Corley (Graduate Student)

Taylor McElroy (Graduate Student)

Pilar Simmons (Graduate Student)


Rupak Pathak, Ph.D.

Project-4: Role of KLF2 in Regulating Intestinal Radiation Toxicity

The overall goal of this project is to investigate the mechanisms underlying the function of the transcription factor KLF2 with the specific goal of developing future alternate therapeutic approaches by modulating KLF2 and its downstream targets for the prevention and/or treatment of intestinal damage caused by abdomino-pelvic radiotherapy.

Dr. Pathak received his Ph.D. in Radiation Biology from Kalyani University (Kalyani, West Bengal, India). He served as Assistant Professor in the Radiobiology Department of Manipal University (Manipal, Mangalore, Karnataka, India). He received postdoctoral training at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (Bethesda, MD, USA). Dr. Pathak is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy, UAMS.

 Dr. Pathak’s Mentor: Dr. Jerry Ware, Ph.D.

Dr. Ware’s laboratory studies fundamental aspects of platelet biology to elucidate their role of in hemostasis, thrombosis and in the development of cardiovascular disease. Since platelets are anucleate fragments of cytoplasm, in vivo models are used based on the hypothesis that the unique cellular characteristics of megakaryocytes and platelets require the correct in vivo environment for meaningful assessment of biological properties. Currently, we are characterizing variants of the human glycoprotein Ib receptor expressed on the surface of circulating mouse platelets. Methodologies include the generation of transgenic and gene-targeted deletions in the mouse genome. These studies are defining the molecular mechanisms controlling normal platelet generation and the role of specific platelet receptors in disease.

 Dr. Pathak’s Staff and Students

Ratan Sadhukhan, Ph.D. (postdoc)

Ms. Regina Lichti Binz, (Research tech)


Graduated Project Leaders

Nuhket Aykin-Burns, Ph.D., Associate Professor (The Role of Tetrahydrobiopterin Bioavailability in Radiation-Induced Skin Injury). Dr. Aykin-Burns is a faculty member in the UAMS College of Pharmacy, Division of Radiation Health with an expertise in oxidative stress and mitochondrial function. She has obtained external research funding from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Science and Technology. She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the UAMS College of Pharmacy in 2017.

Igor Koturbash, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor (Epigenetic Alterations Caused by Low-dose Ionizing Radiation). Dr. Koturbash is vice chair of the UAMS College of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health with expertise in epigenetics and toxicology. He has received over a million dollars in research funding from NIH, the FDA, the Department of Justice, and other funding sources. In addition, he established the UAMS Center for Dietary Supplements Research in 2019. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the UAMS College of Public Health in 2017.

Snehalata Pawar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (Molecular Mechanisms of C/EBPδ in Ionizing Radiation Response). Dr. Pawar is an assistant professor in the UAMS College of Pharmacy, Division of Radiation Health with a research focus on radiation-induced intracellular signaling. She has received multiple grants from the Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Guangrong Zheng, Ph.D., Associate Professor (Development of Novel Tocotrienol-Based Radioprotective Agents). Dr. Zheng is a medicinal chemist who became a Phase 1 project leader when he was an assistant professor in the UAMS Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has obtained an R21 from the National Cancer Institute and submitted an R01 proposal that received an impact score of 30, upon which the National Institute on Aging awarded him an R56 to obtain additional preliminary data to strengthen his R01 resubmission. He is now an associate professor with tenure at the University of Florida and continues to collaborate with investigators in the Center.