Research Resources

Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development (OVPRED)

Leadership for all administrative research units serving the research enterprise at UAB. OVPRED oversees Core Facilities, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Institional Review Board.

Integrated Research Administration Portal (IRAP)

Electronic submission of funding applications and compliance forms for future research initiatives.

UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The nexus for UAB innovation, entrepreneurial educational models, applied research, and management of intellectual property.

Funding Sources and Grant Opportunities

Presentations and general information related to effective grant writing.

Office of Postdoctoral Education

UAB is committed to the development and success of outstanding postdoctoral scientists.

Conflict of Interest Review Board (CIRB)

Charged with the ongoing development of policies and procedures related to conflicts of interest in sponsored research, review of disclosures of financial interests submitted by investigators, and the development of conflict of interest management plans.

Research News

Study to explore women’s emotional barriers to exercise
Study to explore women’s emotional barriers to exercise
An interdisciplinary UAB research team hopes to learn more about how emotions might keep people from getting enough exercise. 

calm studyLosing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but many people struggle to get enough exercise to make such a resolution stick. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers want to help women get more exercise by finding out the underlying issues that might keep them from exercising. Researchers are recruiting women ages 25-44 with a body mass index of 25-29.9 kg/m2 to join the Counseling and Activity Lifestyle Modification (CALM) Study.

Jane Roy, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of EducationDepartment of Human Studies, is leading the study supported by colleagues and students in the Kinesiology, Health

Education and Counselor Education programs and the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center Physical Activity and Exercise Core.

“Exercise really is medicine,” Roy said. “Physicians know exercise works and everyone knows they should do it, but so many people are sedentary. We’re learning that the reasons are multifactorial.”

While environmental and cultural factors contribute to difficulty in exercising regularly, the CALM study could show that emotional issues also can keep women from sticking to an exercise routine. To test that, all participants will be asked to commit to a regimen of walking three times weekly during the study, but one group will also receive positive psychotherapy sessions. A group of study participants will receive positive psychotherapy sessions in addition to a three-times-per-week walking regimen.

In addition to removing barriers such as access to exercise facilities, support from peers and time-management issues, Roy hopes that working to improve body image and self-esteem will help keep women exercising after the study ends.

While environmental and cultural factors contribute to difficulty in exercising regularly, the CALM study could show that emotional issues also can keep women from sticking to an exercise routine.

“Studies don’t typically change habits, and we wonder if emotions are the missing link,” Roy said.

After measuring their baseline health and aerobic fitness, researchers will monitor participants for 12 weeks during the study and follow up 12 weeks afterward to gauge their adherence to the exercise regimen.

Interested participants may call 205-996-1656 or email

UAB ophthalmology gets grant from Research to Prevent Blindness
UAB ophthalmology gets grant from Research to Prevent Blindness
Research to Prevent Blindness has given UAB’s Department of Ophthalmology a grant to further research of retinal and optic nerve diseases

blindnessResearch to Prevent Blindness has awarded a grant of $115,000 to the Department of Ophthalmology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of blinding diseases.

“We are very appreciative of the generous support from Research to Prevent Blindness. This grant will enable us to accelerate promising lines of research related to retinal and optic nerve diseases. These are the major areas of focus where UAB research can potentially lead to new treatments and cures for blinding disease,” said Christopher Girkin, M.D., EyeSight Foundation of Alabama chair of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology. 

RPB is the world’s leading voluntary organization supporting eye research. To date, the organization has awarded grants totaling $4,070,000 to the UAB School of Medicine.

Since it was founded in 1960, RPB has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to medical institutions throughout the United States for research into all blinding eye diseases. For information on RPB, RPB-funded research, eye disorders and the RPB Grants Program, go to

BCRFA presents its largest donation to UAB Cancer Center
BCRFA presents its largest donation to UAB Cancer Center
BCRFA continues to provide substantial gifts to UAB Cancer Center to accelerate breast cancer research.

BCRFThe Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented $650,000 — its largest donation to date — to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, for a total exceeding $5.1 million since BCRFA’s inception in 1996.

BCRFA has made an annual donation to the Cancer Center with proceeds from all its fundraising efforts during the previous year, including BCRFA events, corporate and individual donations, and sales of the breast cancer specialty license plate tags.

“We are extremely thankful for this generous gift. Without the help of the community, none of this would be possible,” said Edward Partridge, M.D., director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “If I could clone exactly what BCRFA does for breast cancer research and care for all of our other cancer areas, we would make tremendous breakthroughs, as we have done with breast cancer.”

BCRFA provides pilot funding for several projects at UAB to accelerate discovery and translate new knowledge into meaningful therapies for all types of breast cancer. Projects range from examining the ways patients’ immune systems respond to triple-negative tumors, which are among the hardest to treat, to developing therapies to prevent DNA repair in breast cancer tumor cells.

All BCRFA donations go to the UAB Cancer Center and stay in the state to help the residents of Alabama. Community partners for this year’s gift include Winn-Dixie, Docupak, Tameron Automotive, Belk, Sirote & Permutt, The Alabama Power Foundation and others.

UAB research probes molecular basis of rare genetic disorder
UAB research probes molecular basis of rare genetic disorder
Together with European partners, UAB unravels basis of Singleton-Merten Syndrome, which causes heart calcification and early periodontitis.

mary macdougallMary MacDougallAn international group co-led by University of Alabama at Birmingham researcher Mary MacDougall, Ph.D., has unraveled the molecular basis for the rare, inherited genetic disorder, Singleton-Merten Syndrome (SMS). Individuals with SMS develop extreme, life-threatening calcification of the aorta and heart valves, early-onset periodontitis and root resorption of the teeth, decreases in bone density, and loss of bone tissue at the tips of fingers and toes.

The cause of SMS is a missense mutation that changes a single amino acid in the protein MDA5 from arginine to glutamine, MacDougall and colleagues are reporting today (Jan. 22) in the online version of The American Journal of Human Genetics. That change in MDA5 — which detects viral double-stranded RNA as part of the innate immunity system — causes increased induction of interferon beta. Thus SMS is recognized as an innate autoimmune disease for the first time.

“The autoimmunity finding was startling,” said MacDougall, associate dean for research, James R. Rosen Chair of Dental Research, and professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at theUAB School of Dentistry, and director of UAB’s Global Center for Craniofacial, Oral and Dental Disorders. She and Frank Rutsch, M.D., Department of General Pediatrics, Muenster University Children’s Hospital, Germany, are co-first authors of the paper, “A Specific IFIH1 Gain-of-function Mutation Causes Singleton-Merten Syndrome.

Because of the unusual dental problems in SMS patients, Rutsch had contacted MacDougall 10 years ago to probe the molecular mechanisms of the syndrome. MacDougall is an internationally respected research leader in craniofacial developmental biology and dental genetics, particularly the molecular basis and mechanisms associated with human dental genetic disorders that alter tooth number, formation and hard tissue structure. Such investigations of differentiation during tooth and bone formation have broad applications across medical research.

SMS is an autosomal-dominant disorder, meaning the mutation is not carried on the sex chromosomes, and a single copy of the mutation in the gene IFIH1 that encodes MDA5 can cause disease. Rutsch identified three SMS-affected families, and researchers in Cologne, Germany performed whole-exome DNA sequencing and targeted Sanger sequencing to identify the mutation. The same mutation was found in 10 different patients.

MacDougall’s group at UAB analyzed the dental features of patients and created cell lines from SMS individuals and controls. Several of the dental pulp cell lines came from an extracted, forming third-molar that was shipped from Germany to Alabama by FedEx.

mary macdougall 2From left: Changming Lu, Mary MacDougall and Olga MamaevaFunctional studies by the UAB group found that:

  • MDA5 — as measured by immunohistochemistry of human heart, skin and cartilage tissue, or demineralized developing mouse teeth — was present in all target tissues that are altered in SMS.
  • Presence of the SMS- IFIH1 mutant gene increased interferon beta gene expression by 20-fold, and correcting the single mutation of the SMS-IFIH1 back to normal reduced expression to control levels.
  • The SMS- IFIH1 mutant gene had a greater response, as measured by interferon beta induction, when challenged with double-stranded RNA, as compared with the normal gene.
  • Whole blood of SMS individuals and the cell lines developed from the SMS tooth had higher expression of interferon signature genes, compared with control individuals and cells.

Thus, the altered gene is a gain-of-function mutation. Recently, IFIH1 has been linked to several autoimmune disorders, including Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome, though those individuals show brain and developmental defects.

The UAB research team included Changming Lu and Olga Mamaeva, research associates for the Institute of Oral Health Research in the UAB School of Dentistry, and Heidi Erlandsen, a former dental school instructor.

MacDougall is continuing SMS gene research at UAB, including probing the impact of its dysregulation of 30 genes that are involved in tooth formation and dentin mineralization; using it as a paradigm for patients with other diseases, such as periodontitis and aggressive periodontitis; screening glaucoma patients for the mutation, since early-onset glaucoma is one phenotype seen in some SMS individuals; and looking for altered microbiomes and oral biomes in SMS individuals.

The Global Center for Craniofacial, Oral and Dental Disorders at UAB, in conjunction with Dr. John Grant III, M.D., the James C. Lee III Chair in Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, does basic, translational and clinical research to help treat and diagnose craniofacial, oral and dental disorders, and develop novel therapeutics and gene discovery for those disorders. Craniofacial and dental defects account for the majority of birth defects in the U.S., with one affected child born each hour. Grant is also Professor of Surgery at UAB and Director of the UAB Cleft and Craniofacial Center.

UAB researcher awarded $1.25 million grant for “high-Medicaid” nursing home research
UAB researcher awarded $1.25 million grant for “high-Medicaid” nursing home research
UAB researchers receive a $1.25 million grant to identify and disseminate best management practices in nursing homes with a high census of Medicaid residents.

robert maldonadoResearchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions have been awarded $1.25 million by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to better understand the management and market factors associated with high performance among nursing homes that have a high proportion, 85 percent or greater, of Medicaid residents.

Robert Weech-Maldonado, Ph.D., professor and L.R. Jordan Chair of the Department of Health Services Administration, says this five-year R01 grant is for a mixed-methods analysis — using both quantitative and qualitative studies — to study high-Medicaid-resident nursing homes and identify evidence-based, best management practices.

“Nobody has taken a mixed-methods look at why some high-Medicaid nursing homes perform well and others do not,” Weech-Maldonado said. “This grant will enable us to gather quantitative data, such as surveys of management, and find patterns. Following that, we will use qualitative methods, such as interviewing staff, to reveal the complete story about what is really happening inside nursing homes across the United States.”

The five-year project, titled “Performance of High-Medicaid Nursing Homes – Contextual and Management Factors,” will survey management from 1,000-1,200 nursing homes to learn which management practices are in use. After analysis, Weech-Maldonado’s team will select eight nursing homes — four of the best-performing and four of the worst-performing — for qualitative analysis. They will work directly with the staff of each nursing home to study its finances and quality of care.

“High-Medicaid nursing homes have resource constraints, lower-quality care, a higher proportion of minorities and a tendency to be for-profit organizations. Within this vulnerable group of nursing homes, there are performance variations, with some facilities having both better quality and better financial performance than others. We want to learn what management practices and market factors explain these differences in performance.”

“High-Medicaid nursing homes have resource constraints, lower-quality care, a higher proportion of minorities and a tendency to be for-profit organizations,” Weech-Maldonado said. “Within this vulnerable group of nursing homes, there are performance variations, with some facilities having both better quality and better financial performance than others. We want to learn what management practices and market factors explain these differences in performance.”

A portion of the grant will enable a partnership with the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation to translate and implement the lessons learned. With the help of AQAF, a collaborative group will be formed to design a new program for the operation of high-Medicaid nursing homes. The team will then select 10 nursing homes across the country for implementation.

“There always is criticism that research is published but not implemented. So we will engage closely with providers to make sure it is implemented in the real world when we are finished,”Weech-Maldonado said.

This is the first mixed-methods R01 grant for the Department of Health Services Administration. The study will include fellow UAB faculty Larry Hearld, Ph.D., Nataliya Ivankova, Ph.D., Amy Landry, Ph.D., Midge Ray, Ph.D., Jeff Szychowski, Ph.D., and Jessica Williams, Ph.D.; plus Rohit Pradhan, Ph.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Jane Banaszak-Holl, Ph.D., University of Michigan School of Public Health; and Kent Rondeau, Ph.D., University of Alberta, Canada.

Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award

This award was established by the University of Alabama at Birmingham to recognize one of its faculty who has rendered outstanding service in the Birmingham community in one or more of the following areas:
  • Education
  • Economic Development
  • Health Care Delivery
  • The Arts
  • Social services
  • Human rights
  • and Urban and public affairs.


To be eligible, a person must currently hold a full-time regular faculty appointment at UAB, as defined by the UAB Faculty Handbook, and have completed at least one academic year in this position. A person may receive the award only once in any five-year period.

The recipient of the Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award will be recognized at the annual Faculty Awards Convocation and will receive a $2,500 cash award.

A nomination package should consist of a brief letter of nomination, the faculty member’s curriculum vitae, a one- to two-page description of the community service for which the award is sought, and a maximum of five letters of recommendation. This information should be submitted to Linda Piteo (AB 374) by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 25, 2015. If you have questions, please contact Linda Piteo at 934-9438.

Past Recipients

2014 - Cynthia Ryan
2013 - Larry DeLucas
2012 - Stephen Yoder
2011 - Tamilane Blaudeau
2010 - Max Michael
2009 - Brian Geiger
2008 - John Thornton