Researchers working on new vaccines and therapies for influenza and AIDS, innovative strategies for treating type 1 diabetes, molecular triggers of head and neck cancer, genetic variations in schizophrenia, and better ways to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's disease are among the Emory University scientists who last year earned a record $383.9 million in research grant funding, the most of any university in Georgia.
Emory researchers increased funding by 8 percent over fiscal year 2006. Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center received nearly $358.7 million, or more than 93 percent of the University total.
Federal funding was responsible for 72 percent of the annual Emory awards. Funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made up approximately 62 percent of the total and about 86 percent of total federal funding.
"In an era in which funding from the NIH has been essentially flat each year, or has even decreased relative to inflation, this is an extraordinary accomplishment for our Emory investigators," says James W. Wagner, president of Emory University.
Over the past decade research funding at Emory has increased by nearly two-and-a-half times, up from $156.9 million in fiscal year 1997.
"Emory University is continuing its strong upward trajectory as a leading national research institution," says Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. "With our outstanding faculty, physician scientists, strong research teams, and their expertise and innovation, we plan to continue this momentum in discovery research into the future."
Research funding in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health grew by 45 percent over the previous year, funding to Emory College grew by 12 percent, and funding to Emory University School of Medicine grew by 7 percent.
"Emory's research enterprise is not only maintaining existing grants with renewals and important supplements to successful projects, but we are increasing the number and variety of grants, as well as expanding internal and external research collaborations at a very exciting pace," says David L. Wynes, PhD, Emory vice president for research administration. "The future is very bright for investigators at Emory University."
- Major funded research projects in the School of Public Health included nearly $9 million from the NIH for the Emory Center for AIDS Research, with additional support from the Georgia Research Alliance. The new award marks the third time Emory has successfully competed for the NIH CFAR designation. The University's AIDS research program now encompasses the full translational pipeline from concept to community in the domains of vaccines, drug discovery and behavioral interventions.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $20 million to Emory over five years through the Rollins School of Public Health, the Emory Global Health Institute and Finland's National Public Health Institute to lead the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). IANPHI is an international alliance dedicated to optimizing global public health service delivery and decision-making by improving national public health institutes around the world. IANPHI recently awarded its first short- and mid-term technical assistance grants to public health institutes in five nations.
- Major funded projects in Emory School of Medicine included a $32.8 million, seven-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish a National Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance, one of six such awards in the nation.
- The National Cancer Institute awarded a $12.5 million, five-year Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in head and neck cancer to Emory's Winship Cancer Institute. The first SPORE grant ever received in the state of Georgia, the award is aimed at bringing new laboratory findings quickly to patient care.
- The National Institute of Aging granted scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center more than $10 million to compare changes that occur in normal aging humans, humans with Alzheimer's disease and humans with mild cognitive impairment to changes in nonhuman primates. The goal is to identify ways to diagnose aging-related diseases earlier and to develop new treatments based on specific physiological changes.
- The Emory HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) received a $7 million, seven-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and was designated a primary site nationally in both the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). The ACTG and the HVTN are the nation's premier NIH-funded clinical trials networks for HIV treatment and vaccine prevention trials.
- Researchers in the Department of Human Genetics will use a $3.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct schizophrenia research on "copy number variation" -- a recently discovered variation in the human genome that identifies deletions and duplications of segments of DNA that may contribute to disease risk but were previously unrecognized in the general population.
- The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation awarded physician/scientists in the Emory Transplant Center $2.5 million to develop a strategy for implanting pig islets as an alternative to transplanting human islets in patients with Type 1 diabetes who are unable to produce their own insulin.
- The Emory Center for Science Education was awarded nearly $2 million from the National Science Foundation to continue an innovative science education program that pairs graduate students in the sciences with K-12 teachers. Known as PRISM (Problems and Research to Integrate Science and Mathematics), the program engages K-12 students in inquiry-driven science studies and provides opportunities for graduate students to develop as teachers and communicators.