Research rankings, centers and initiatives

  • For FY 2011, UAB had federal research expenditures of $343 million and its research expenditures exceeded $500 million.
  • UAB ranks No. 20 in funding from the NIH and No. 30 in total federal research funding among academic institutions.

  • In the latest Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, UAB is ranked No. 31 in clinical medicine, No. 74 in life sciences and No. 126 in social sciences and No. 105 overall.

  • UAB’s investigative reach includes more than 60 countries and Antarctica. In addition, UAB teams with more than 40 collaborators in AAU institutions to address world issues.


Centers and major grants

  • UAB, home to one of the original 13 NIH-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, holds more Specialized Program of Research Excellence grants — for brain, breast and pancreatic cancers and cervical cancer — than all but three institutions. The center, which treats 5,000 new patients annually, is at the forefront of cancer prevention and diagnosis and is routinely recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s survey of "America's Best Hospitals." Researchers, ranked among the nation’s top 40 for competitive funding from the National Cancer Institute, have pioneered advances in chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and nutrition and are a world leader in developing innovative monoclonal antibody approaches to cancer therapy.

  • UAB is one of the seven inaugural NIH-designated Centers for AIDS Research established in 1988 and a world leader in HIV/AIDS research and patient care. UAB has been among the first to make the newest, most effective treatments available to patients, including the three-drug combination that today is the standard of care. From the field, a UAB-led team discovered the simian virus linked to all major HIV-1 variants and traced the exact route of HIV’s spread to humans. U.S. News & World Report ranks the AIDS program No. 8 among “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” and the journal Science recently highlighted Birmingham and UAB's 1917 Clinic among 10 cities nationally excelling in efforts to combat the disease.

  • UAB is one of 25 inaugural members of an NIH-funded neuroscience research consortium created to rapidly advance new treatments in our areas of expertise: movement disorders, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and demyelinating diseases and the growing field of epigenetics. The Comprehensive Neuroscience Center is the focal point for UAB basic and applied neuroscience research of more than 20 specialized centers of study within the university, which created one of the nation’s few undergraduate programs in neuroscience in 2009. UAB President Ray Watts, M.D., a renowned neurologist, is committed to expanding our excellence in neurology education, research and patient care.

  • UAB is one of six NIH Diabetes Research and Training Centers and leads in the development of new methods to treat, prevent and cure diabetes — the seventh leading cause of death in America. It is one of several components within the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center to conduct basic, clinical and translational research, develop novel therapies and train clinicians and researchers. UAB, which opened the first public, university-affiliated diabetes hospital in the country 40 years ago, provides the most advanced, comprehensive, multidisciplinary care in its clinics for adults and children, and its new partnership with the City of Birmingham is bringing a diabetes-management program to city residents.

Landmark discoveries and initiatives

  • A UAB Egyptologist and space archaeologist used infrared satellite imaging to discover 17 lost pyramids and thousands of houses and tombs invisible from the ground. A team of French excavators confirmed her discovery, and the work was the subject of BBC and Discovery Channel documentaries.

  • UAB’s nationally renowned cybersleuth and director of research in computer forensics is a five-time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional who consults frequently with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and law-enforcement agencies. His team recently helped the FBI and NASA identify seven foreign nationals who were conducting a massive Internet fraud that infected more than 400 million computers in 100 countries and scammed $14 million.

  • In the new Materials Processing and Application Development facility, the largest academic research facility of its kind in the nation, UAB engineers are pioneering leading-edge metals and composites for a range of applications — from missile systems to lighter, more fuel-efficient city buses.

  • Physiology and ecology faculty and students conduct research in Antarctica, investigating chemical defenses of marine life and the role these could play in prevention of diseases such as heart disease, cystic fibrosis, cancer and AIDS.

  • The Center for Urban Education examines the lagging performance of urban schools, devising ways to address the myriad social issues. Efforts include an NSF-funded project to teach innovative methods of middle-school math instruction.