AR Children’s Nutrition Center Under New Leadership

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LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) on the campus of Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) will be under new leadership for the first time since its 1995 inception when a scientist renowned for his research in human nutrition takes the helm later this year.

Sean Adams, PhD, is research leader for the Obesity and Metabolism Research Unit of the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center, and an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis. He has two decades of experience investigating metabolic physiology and the causes and consequences of obesity and metabolic disorders.

Dr. Adams will become the center director and appointed professor and chief of the Division of Developmental Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine. He will assume both posts in October.

Dr. Adams will take over from the founding director of the Nutrition Center, Thomas M. Badger, PhD, a neuroendocrinologist who is currently professor and chief of Developmental Nutrition. Dr. Badger intends to continue his research on the effects of maternal and infant nutrition on development and disease prevention.

“I am very pleased that the search committee selected Sean as the new center director,” Badger said. “He brings new and fresh ideas to the center and will help advance the already respected research program.”

Dr. Adams comes to Little Rock having supervised an expansive laboratory producing innovative research into insulin resistance, fructose metabolism and metabolic profiles associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. He previously worked as a scientific investigator for Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Genentech.

“I am thrilled and honored to soon work with the ACNC faculty and staff, in partnership with UAMS and ACHRI, to push the boundaries on research,” Dr. Adams said. “An important goal will be to move lessons from the lab bench into the hospital, clinic and community, to have a positive impact on the health of children and families in Arkansas and the U.S.”

Raised in Kern County, California, Dr. Adams is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, and earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His postdoctoral work included research fellowships at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the University of Barcelona, Spain under a National Science Foundation/North Atlantic Treaty Organization award.

“Dr. Sean Adams brings leadership experience within the USDA nutrition research community and involvement in exciting scientific investigations that will strengthen the work being done at the ACNC,” said Richard Jacobs, MD, FAAP, president of the ACH Research Institute (ACHRI) and chairman of the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. “Dr. Tom Badger led the creation of a robust center that has an outstanding international reputation over the last 20 years, and exciting work lies ahead for all ACNC researchers under Dr. Adams’ guidance.”

Badger helped define the vision for ACNC, which was established in 1995 as the sixth of the USDA’s National Human Nutrition Centers. It is only the second of these centers devoted to children.

The ACNC is a partnership between the USDA, ACHRI and UAMS that conducts world-class pediatric research that in turn provides the finest, cutting-edge medical care for the children of Arkansas. It is funded by one of the largest federal research awards in the University of Arkansas System and has become a global leader among nutrition research programs.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown to span 29 city blocks and house 370 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 95 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research – all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development. For more information, visit

ACHRI provides a research environment on the ACH campus to meet the needs of the UAMS faculty. Research scientists at ACHRI conduct clinical, basic science, and health services research for the purpose of treating illnesses, preventing disease and improving the health of children everywhere.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,865 students and 785 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state.

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