Miller School’s NIH Research Funding Sets Record

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The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine received a record $149.5 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health in Federal Fiscal Year 2019 — a $16 million, or 12%, increase over the school’s FFY 2018 total, raising the school another point to No. 39 of 142 institutions in the national rankings.

The Miller School's record $149.5 million in grants once again made it the No. 1 NIH-funded institution in Florida.

According to data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, that total again made the Miller School the No. 1 NIH-funded institution in Florida. It also put the Miller School $42 million and 11 ranking places above the next-highest Florida medical school in terms of NIH funding.

In addition, based on the NIH data, 11 of the Miller School’s departments posted funding increases, with 10 departments rising in the rankings, one holding its place. Two departments ranked in the top 10, and 6 others ranked in the top 20 in their respective fields.

“Our national and international reputation as a cutting-edge research-based academic medical institution continues to grow,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “Our continued increase in NIH funding and rise in the Blue Ridge rankings demonstrates that our world-class investigators are being recognized for conducting research that matters.”

“Miller School researchers continue to receive funding for cutting-edge research that is leading the way to new discoveries and new therapies,” said Carl I. Schulman, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.P.H., professor of surgery and executive dean for research. “Our average grant total per NIH-funded principal investigator is $840,000 — significantly more than the average totals at a number of other schools that rank above us based on overall funding.”

The two departments that ranked in the top 10 nationally against their peers were Human Genetics (which held steady at No. 4) and Neurological Surgery (No. 10), both of which ranked in the 90th percentile.

Departments that moved up were, in order: Surgery (up 1 place, to No. 11), Public Health Sciences (up 6 places, to No. 13), Neurology (up 2 places, to No. 16), Ophthalmology (up 4 places, to No. 18), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (up 15 places, to No. 32), Microbiology and Immunology (up 2 places, to No. 33), Pediatrics (up 8 places, to No. 42), Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (up 7 places, to No. 49), Medicine (up 3 places, to No. 52), and Physiology and Biophysics (up 2 places, to No. 53).

Two additional departments ranked in the top 20 in their field: Dermatology (No. 19) and Otolaryngology (No. 20). Other rankings included Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (No. 34), Radiation Oncology (No. 41), Anesthesiology (No. 44), Pathology (No. 49), and Cell Biology (No. 56).

Among faculty members, 33 received more than $1 million in funding, 18 ranked in the top 10 percent nationally, and two ranked in the top 100 nationally of more than 20,000 total.

  • Stephan Züchner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and co-director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, was the school’s highest NIH-funded researcher, with nearly $13.3 million in awards, which earned him the No. 35 spot nationally, in the top 0.2% of his specialty.
  • Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics, was the school’s second-highest NIH-funded researcher, with almost $11.6 million in awards, which earned her the No. 51 spot nationally, in the top 0.2% of her specialty.

Other researchers in the top 10 percent nationally were:

  • Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and chairman of Neurology and Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, and director of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, $5.9 million
  • José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and chair emeritus of Public Health Sciences, $4.9 million
  • Gary Beecham, Ph.D., associate professor in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, $4.8 million
  • Savita Pahwa, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research, $3.9 million
  • Maria Luisa Alcaide, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and director of the Infectious Disease Research Unit, $3.6 million
  • Michael Benatar, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, $3.3 million
  • Nichole Rose Klatt, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and vice chair for research, $2.7 million
  • Margaret A. Fischl, M.D., professor of medicine, director of the HIV/AIDS Clinical Research Unit, and co-director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research, $2.5 million
  • Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, $2.5 million
  • Sabita Roy, Ph.D., professor of surgery, $2.1 million
  • Lily Wang, Ph.D., associate professor of public health sciences, $2.1 million
  • Wei Li, Ph.D., research associate professor of ophthalmology, $1.9 million
  • John Guy, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology, $1.9 million
  • Ashok K. Saluja, professor of surgery, $1.9 million
  • Carlos T. Moraes, Ph.D., Lichtenstein Professor of Neurology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, $1.6 million
  • Mingjiang Xu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, $1.5 million

Additional researchers who received more than $1 million in funding were:

  • Ramin Shiekhattar, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Epigenetics Program, chief of the Division of Cancer Genomics and Epigenetics, and professor in the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, $1.5 million
  • Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and vice chair for research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, $1.4 million
  • Mustafa Tekin, M.D., professor in the Dr. John T. MacDonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, $1.4 million
  • Xue Z. Liu, M.D., professor of otolaryngology, $1.3 million
  • Ronald C. Desrosiers, Ph.D., professor of pathology, $1.3 million
  • David Loewenstein, Ph.D., director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Aging, and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, $1.3 million
  • Stephan C. Schürer, Ph.D., research professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology, $1.2 million
  • Enrique A. Mesri, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, $1.2 million
  • Claes Wahlestedt, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, associate dean for therapeutic innovation, and director of the Center for Therapeutic Innovation, $1.1 million
  • Shaun Brothers, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, $1.1 million
  • Joshua M. Hare, M.D., the Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine and founding director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, $1.1 million
  • Alessia Fornoni, Ph.D., professor of medicine, chief of the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Center, and associate director of the newly NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program, $1 million
  • Antoni Barrientos, Ph.D., professor of neurology and biochemistry and molecular biology, $1 million
  • Alejandro Caicedo, Ph.D., professor of medicine, $1 million
  • Tatjana Rundek, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, epidemiology and public health sciences, $1 million

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