ALRI Names First Fellows to Address Rural, Underserved Communities

  • January 27th, 2020

The name of the Alabama Life Research Institute in silver on a red wall.Eight faculty members have been selected as Alabama Life Research Institute Fellows at The University of Alabama as part of ALRI’s commitment to establishing a foundation of collaboration within the University.

The inaugural fellows, selected from a large number of candidates, come from across the UA campus. Fellows were chosen as representatives of diverse fields of study to create an interdisciplinary research environment that offers multiple perspectives on the ALRI mission.

The ALRI serves as a focal point for interdisciplinary bio-psychosocial research that seeks to investigate the human condition at all levels, from the molecular to the environmental, collaborating across the University, as well as with peer institutions, health care corporations, governmental agencies, community-based organizations and other concerned individuals.

“A major criterion of naming the first cohort of ALRI Fellows is their extensive experience and desire to collaborate with faculty, staff and students from around campus to address one of the initial major research foci of ALRI – that is, to identify, understand and solve problems related to rural and underserved communities,” said Dr. Sharlene Newman, ALRI executive director.

Fellow’s area of study range from genetic anomalies to governmental policy, from drug discovery to prosthetic design, from education to behavior change-seek to improve life, whether through the reduction of morbidity and mortality, the elimination of health inequity, or other quality-of-life improvements.

The ALRI Fellows, from five different colleges, include:

— Dr. Angela Barber, chair and associate professor of communicative disorders, College of Arts & Sciences.

— Dr. Thomas English, assistant professor of management, Culverhouse College of Business.

— Dr. Louanne Friend, assistant professor of community medicine and population health, College of Community Health Sciences.

— Dr. Rajesh Kana, professor of psychology, College of Arts & Sciences.

— Dr. Linda Knol, associate professor of human nutrition and hospitality management, College of Human Environmental Sciences.

— Dr. Marcia Hay-McCutcheon, professor of communicative disorders, College of Arts & Sciences.

— Dr. Edward Sazonov, professor of electrical and computer engineering, College of Engineering.

— Dr. Xiangrong Shen, professor of mechanical engineering, College of Engineering.

In addition to eight fellows, two senior fellows are named in recognition of their significant support of ALRI. This is an honorary distinction of leaders in their field and who have demonstrated a commitment to UA’s research mission. They include:

— Dr. John Higginbotham, senior associate vice president for research and economic development.

— Dr. John Lochman, Saxon Professor Emeritus in psychology, director emeritus, Center for Youth Development and Intervention, and former interim ALRI director.

Drs. Higginbotham and Lochman will serve as senior fellows and act as mentors to the faculty fellows and as advisers to Newman as the program expands.

“They have both played essential roles in the creation of ALRI and are invested in seeing it be successful,” Newman said. “They can provide critical input to help me understand the system, ensure I know who to talk to and act as an important sounding board. They are really important to me as someone new to the campus. They have both been selfless, and I really appreciate them and respect their advice.”

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.