Since 1994, Ranum’s lab has been awarded key grants from the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency that funds biomedical and public health research, including several projects and programs at the UF College of Medicine.
“NIH funding has been critical every step of the way,” Ranum said. “We’ve cloned genes that cause various neurological diseases. We’ve used preclinical models to understand how those diseases work, and now we’re using those models to develop therapeutic strategies to prevent and reverse disease.”
The 2017 fiscal year marked a milestone for the UF College of Medicine: For the first time in its 61-year history, the college’s annual grant awards from the National Institutes of Health eclipsed $100 million.
To UF Health researchers and faculty, this means renewed support for experimental therapeutic research in a variety of areas, such as neurodegenerative diseases, the brain, cancer, diabetes, sepsis, infectious diseases and age-related diseases. The figure contributes to a total of $141.8 million of NIH awards to the colleges, centers and institutes that comprise UF Health, the university’s academic health center. This marks the seventh consecutive year that NIH funding for UF Health has increased, according to David S. Guzick, MD, PhD, senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
“Due to the talent, dedication and persistence of faculty and staff across UF Health, there has been consistent improvement in NIH funding,” he said.“This continuing growth shows the scientific excellence of the research conducted by faculty at UF Health is recognized at the national level.”
Reaching this milestone is a testament to the expertise and hard work of researchers and physicians, both those who have worked at the college for many years and those recently recruited as part of UF’s preeminence faculty recruiting initiative, said UF College of Medicine Dean Michael L. Good, MD.
“Achieving $100 million in NIH grant awards demonstrates the momentum of our faculty and propels us forward as one of the nation’s best public research universities and medical schools,” he said.
Stephen Sugrue, PhD, UF College of Medicine senior associate dean for research affairs, said the college experienced a funding increase of 8.5 percent over the last year, exceeding the 6 percent increase in the NIH budget.
“Not only did the number of grants increase, the size of our grants also increased considerably,” he said. “This means we are doing bold, multidisciplinary science with a high impact. These are cooperative, collaborative efforts. Our biggest success is in recruiting the right people who can form teams to attack important issues of human health.”
This story originally ran in the Summer 2018 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.