LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is preparing for the next pandemic with an almost eight-million-dollar grant.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) $7.9 million to expand its infectious disease research.

In addition, the funds will also be used to establish a pandemic response space for rapid response in case of another outbreak.

The renovation will create about 9,900 square feet of additional research space on the first floor of Biomedical Research Center Building One.

The extra space will be realized through a redesign that repurposes an atrium, large diagonal hallways, and converts offices to laboratories.

The NIH grant will more than triple the space available for infectious disease research.

Dr. Daniel Voth, who is leading the project, says UAMS has turned down COVID-19 research and other opportunities in the past because they did not have the space for it.

“What I think it will do will position UAMS as the leader in our region, at least in our region, for infectious disease research,” Voth said.

The renovation is expected to begin in mid-2024 and finish in 2025.