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UTHealth Houston ranks among best in U.S. in research funding

A woman in a lab with instruments. (UTHealth Houston file photo)
(UTHealth Houston file photo)

UTHealth Houston is a national leader in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding, according to annual rankings released by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

The annual rankings evaluate institutions, departments, and investigators based on the funding they receive from the NIH over the previous federal fiscal year. See the full list on the organization’s website.

Three UTHealth Houston schools were ranked No. 1 in Texas, including Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston, UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry, and UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston also ranked highly, with several individual departments ranking No. 1 in Texas as well as in the top 20 in the nation.

“These Blue Ridge Research Institute rankings represent substantial growth in our research enterprise and is possible because of the visionary leadership of our President, and unwavering dedication and hard work of our faculty to improve the health of our community,” said Jagat Narula, MD, PhD, executive vice president and chief academic officer. “The surge in the NIH research funding highlights the collective prowess of UTHealth Houston as a premier academic medical center, showcasing our investigators spanning across all colleges as the trailblazers at advancing the forefront of clinical care and public health practices for the benefit of the state of Texas.”

Cizik School of Nursing

Cizik School of Nursing ranks No. 1 in Texas and No. 18 nationally among nursing schools that received research funding from the NIH in 2023.

The school’s ranking rose 20 positions from No. 38 year over year, with $5.3 million in grants funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research and other NIH institutes.

“Faculty at Cizik School of Nursing research a wide variety of topics with a common goal of improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations,” said Constance Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for research at the school. “I am proud to lead a group of stellar nurse scientists who are improving the lives of patients, families, and populations in our local communities and far beyond.”

Read more about the school’s research projects on its website.

School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry also ranks No. 1 in Texas, and placed No. 10 nationally among dental schools.

According to the agency, the School of Dentistry reported $7.7 million in research grants funded the National Institute of Health through September 2023.

“The school of dentistry is uniquely suited to be among the top research-focused dental schools in the world,” said Mary "Cindy" Farach-Carson, PhD, associate dean for research and director of Clinical and Translational Research. “Surrounded by the incomparable resources of the Texas Medical Center institutions, our exceptional faculty are poised to tackle the top research challenges in oral health, oral biomaterials and craniofacial biology. Oral health is essential to overall health, thus the opportunity to partner with other UTHealth Houston schools and TMC institutions allows our researchers to successfully compete for funding to provide new tools and solutions to transform oral and overall health care delivery.”

School of Public Health

The School of Public Health also ranked No. 1 in Texas, and placed 15th nationally.

According to the agency, the School of Public Health reported $24.8 million in research grants funded by NIH through September 2023.

“Our school of public health has continued to achieve exceptional national rankings, which is a testament to our esteemed faculty's hard work and dedication,” said Susan Tortolero Emery, PhD, SPH, senior associate dean of Academic and Research Affairs. “I am proud to report that our faculty's efforts have resulted in a remarkable 44% increase in NIH funding over the past five years. This impressive growth clearly indicates our faculty's commitment to excellence in public health research.”

McGovern Medical School

Overall, McGovern Medical School placed 53rd nationally in research expenditures, with $112.3 million in NIH funding coming to the school through September 2023.

The rankings also evaluate funding to specific disciplines within the medical school, and five departments moved up into the top 20 in the nation.

“The NIH funding increases we see across McGovern Medical School departments are a direct result of the incredible work by our faculty and research staff,” said Executive Dean John Hancock, MA, MB, BChir, PhD, ScD. “Our research of today translates to the health of tomorrow.”

The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery ranked No. 4 in the nation, with $18.2 million in NIH funding, and the Department of Neurology placed at No. 17 with $18.3 million. Both ranked as the No. 1 in Texas.

The Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine ranked No. 13 nationally with $7.6 million in funding.

The Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, which Blue Ridge categorizes under physiology, ranked No. 14 with $12.1 million in NIH grants.

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ranked No. 17 in the nation with $12.4 million on NIH grants.

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