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NIH funded more than $325 million in UAB research last year

Federal research funding to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) topped $325 million in 2019, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

The university received $328,106,722, placing UAB ninth in the list of all public universities receiving funding from the NIH.

The UAB School of Medicine placed 22nd among all medical schools (private and public alike), with $256,395,438 in research funding, an increase of more than $23 million over the previous year.

Additionally, UAB’s School of Optometry ranked second among all optometry schools, with funding topping $4.95 million.

Meanwhile, the School of Dentistry ranked 11th, with a total of over $5.9 million, while the School of Nursing tallied $4.9 million, placing 15th.

The School of Public Health had grants topping $14.7 million, standing at 19th in the country, while grants to the School of Health Professions reached $7.2 million.

“Topping $300 million in 2019 reaffirms UAB’s place as a leading academic research institution,” stated Chris Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Research at UAB. “The leading schools in research are also the leading schools in health care, and a robust research enterprise is central to attracting and retaining the brightest faculty and students.”

Within the School of Medicine, five departments were in the top 10 in research funding. The Department of Dermatology was second, with more than $8 million. The Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology was fourth, with nearly $16.5 million. The Department of Biomedical Engineering landed in fifth place, with $5.3 million, while the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences brought in $8.7 million, good for eighth in the rankings. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ranked 10th, with $5.2 million.

Other significant grant recipients were the Department of Internal Medicine, with $96.8 million in research funding; the Department of Genetics, with $21.3 million; the Department of Pediatrics, with $18.5 million; the Department of Microbiology, with $14.4 million; the Department of Pathology, with $12.2 million; and the Department of Neurology, with $12.8 million.

The NIH funding to UAB came as U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) continues his historic leadership as chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Shelby’s committee annually funds the NIH, and Alabama’s senior senator last winter was awarded the prestigious UAB President’s Medal.

Shelby is the state’s longest-serving senator in history and has been dubbed “Alabama’s education senator.”

University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis St. John has profusely praised Shelby, who is a 1957 graduate of the University of Alabama.

“Senator Richard Shelby is a great Alabamian,” St. John said. “His support for education, scientific research, health care and economic development has changed Alabama’s image and influence around the world and improved countless lives.”

“We are fortunate that Senator Shelby chose a career of public service…” St. John added.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn