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UI Carver College of Medicine increases NIH funding in 2020

Angela Pack in the lab
Angela Pack, PhD, a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The department was ranked in the top three for the college and is the highest ranked basic science department with $11.8 million in NIH funding.
Date: Monday, March 15, 2021

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, University of Iowa Health Care’s research enterprise continues to flourish and grow. According to an annual analysis compiled by Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, researchers in the UI Carver College of Medicine increased their research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 14% in fiscal year 2020 compared to 2019. 

Overall, NIH funding awarded to Carver College of Medicine faculty increased by $18 million this year to a total of $148.3 million, which is the highest annual total to date. This year’s increase is part of an upward trend that has seen a 43% increase in NIH funding over just the past four years from $104 million in 2016 to $148 million.

Moreover, 12 departments increased the total amount of NIH funding they received compared to eight in 2019, and 11 departments improved their total ranking based on the amount of NIH funding received, compared to three in 2019.  

“We are incredibly proud of the high level of productivity and innovation shown by our research teams in this unprecedented year,” says Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA, University of Iowa Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Tyrone D. Artz Dean of the Carver College of Medicine. “Obtaining NIH grants, even under normal circumstances, is highly competitive, and this significant increase in NIH research funding is a reflection our faculty’s talent and dedication, as well as the strong research infrastructure and community that exists at the Carver College.”  

The NIH awards received this year support a diverse array of new and on-going projects from fundamental molecular discovery to the evaluation of new therapies that advance patient care. Many of the projects rely on large collaborative teams working across disciplines. Several examples showcase the college’s success: 

  • The Department of Neurosurgery saw a 167% increase in funding, which included three new awards totaling $2.3 million for the first year of funding. Two of these grants led by David Hasan, MD, professor of neurosurgery, focus on new therapies to improve cognitive outcomes for patients affected by conditions that disrupt blood flow to the brain. 
  • The Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology had a 79% increase in funding, which included two grants for Matt Potthoff, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience and pharmacology, investigating hormonal regulation of brain systems controlling intake of sugar and alcohol, as well as funding for early-career faculty member Catherine Marcinkiewcz, PhD, assistant professor of neuroscience and pharmacology, studying alcohol consumption and the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 
  • The Department of Pathology had a 31% increase in funding, including a new award for John Harty, PhD, professor of pathology, to study cellular immunity against influenza, which might help advance development of a universal flu shot. 

“NIH support is foundational to the biomedical research that ultimately improves patient care and the quality of life for Iowans and people all over the world,” Jackson adds. “We are proud of the role UI Health Care scientists and clinicians play in advancing research and changing medicine.”