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February 17, 2020

School of Medicine Sees Record Funding From NIH

Claude Moore Education Building at night

The School of Medicine received $146.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal 2019, the largest amount in the school’s history. The funding backs an ambitious research effort to pioneer new treatments and cures while helping doctors better understand and prevent disease.

“This record NIH funding speaks to the breadth and importance of the research taking place at the School of Medicine,” said David S. Wilkes, MD, the school’s dean. “NIH funding is incredibly competitive, now more than ever. But our accomplished faculty are doing really exciting work – work with concrete benefits for patients. We are grateful to see it receive such tremendous support.”

That work spans the spectrum of human ailments. UVA research includes:

  • pioneering the use of focused soundwaves to perform surgery without scalpels;
  • exploring the role of the microbiome (the microorganisms that live in and on us) in maintaining human health; and
  • developing cutting-edge cancer treatments that dramatically amplify the power of the immune system, among many other projects.

In one notable milestone, the federal Food and Drug Administration just approved an artificial pancreas developed at UVA to free people with type 1 diabetes from the painful ritual of daily needlesticks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Researchers and clinicians at UVA work hand-in-hand to take scientific discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside, and they then use what they see while providing cutting-edge care to drive the next wave of innovation.

“We have worked diligently to foster a culture of collaboration at the School of Medicine, and that has created a really exciting environment,” Wilkes said. “I’ve never seen our faculty more engaged and more eager to do truly great work.”

That is reflected in the significant increase in NIH funding in recent years. In fiscal 2000, the School of Medicine received $82.3 million from the NIH; in 2015, $101.2 million. In fiscal 2018, that figure had climbed to $120.9 million. Then, in a single year, it jumped a whopping $25.4 million to the record $146.3 million.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment,” Wilkes said. “But we hope this is only the beginning.”

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

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