Research Highlights

Highlights of research from the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, including schools of medicine, public health and nursing, the Winship Cancer Institute, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare.


Discoveries and Innovations

  • Helped develop lifesaving procedures including angioplasty and drug-eluting stents, and newer technologies such as off-pump surgery.
  • Created lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (FTC), two of the most commonly used and most successful HIV/AIDS drugs, taken by more than 94% of U.S. patients on therapy and by thousands more around the world
  • Developed one of the leading vaccine candidates against HIV, already tested in preclinical and early stage clinical trials and currently in phase II trials
  • Developed brain mapping to guide effective surgical approaches (deep brain stimulation) to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson's and dystonia
  • Discovered the gene responsible for fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, and now working to develop drug therapy to treat it.
  • Helped develop belatacept, a post-transplant drug that is less toxic and more effective than traditional immunosuppressants.
  • Discovered the role of PD-1 (programmed cell death 1) in inhibiting the T cell immune response to chronic viral infections, which helped lead to the development of new immunotherapy drugs cancer.
  • An international leader in developing an effective method of using deep-brain stimulation as therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

Research Leadership

  • Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Georgia.
  • The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University is one of only seven NIH-designated national primate research centers in the country.
  • Emory is one of nine NIH-sponsored Vaccine Evaluation and Treatment Units (VTEUs) conducting clinical trials for vaccines for infectious diseases, including H1N1 flu. 
  • Emory is a leader in technology transfer, with more than 50 products in various stages of development of regulatory approval – 27 products having reached the marketplace and 12 more in human clinical trials. Over the past two decades, the WHSC has helped Emory launch 57 start-up companies and bring more than $806 million into Georgia in licensing revenues from drugs, diagnostics, devices, and consumer products.
  • The Emory Vaccine Center is one of the largest academic vaccine centers in the world, with scientists working on vaccines for AIDS, malaria, hepatitis C, influenza, and tuberculosis.
  • The Emory Center for AIDS Research has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1998.
  • The Emory Alzheimer's Disease Research Center has attracted 71 federal grants over five years totaling $122 million.
  • In 2015 Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer celebrated 30 years of success in guiding scientific discoveries from the laboratory into the marketplace, since the Bayh-Dole Act first put ownership of innovations in the hands of universities.
  • Over the past three decades Emory has launched 39 products into the marketplace, and helped create 72 startup companies in drug discovery/pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostic technologies, and software. Fifty-three of these companies are still active, and 44 are Georgia-based.
  • The research partnership between Emory and Georgia Tech includes the No. 2-ranked (U.S. News & World Report) Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Regenerative Medicine and Engineering Center,  the Emory/Georgia Tech Predictive Health Institute, and one of the nation's largest NIH-funded research programs in nanomedicine.

External Research Funding

  • Emory University total external research funding, FY17: $628 million
  • Woodruff Health Sciences Center external research funding, FY17: $584 million 
  • Emory University federal funding, FY17: $384 million
  • Woodruff Health Sciences Center federal funding, FY17: $353.7 million
  • Emory University NIH funding FY17: $320 million
  • Woodruff Health Sciences Center NIH funding, FY17: $307.7 million