February 13, 2024

Celebrating our research mission area

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This month, I am pleased to share an update on our research mission’s remarkable progress over the past year. Fiscal year 2023 has been a period of significant growth and success, and I am proud to highlight some critical research accomplishments at Heersink School of Medicine.

Total extramural funding for Fiscal Year 2023 reached an impressive $611 million, a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of our researchers. Heersink School of Medicine research funding makes up 78.8% of the university's total funding portfolio. We play a big part in the university’s “Research Strategic Initiative: Growth with Purpose,” which is a pathway to $1 billion in research funding for the university. It is important to note that this a guiding metric as a measure for our success and will be achieved through empowering research excellence, high impact scientific discovery and innovation.

This achievement reflects the collaborative efforts of our faculty and staff as they continue to pursue groundbreaking research. With $274 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, we are currently ranked 12 among public universities, positioning us as a leading institution in advancing biomedical knowledge on a national scale.

Our strategic research themes—I-4ward (Infection, Inflammation, Immunity, and Immunotherapy), Health Equity, D-TECH (Disruptive Technology Empowering Precision Health), and Brain Health and Disease Across the Lifespan—remain focal points guiding us forward. Each area represents our commitment to driving innovation, leveraging technology, and advancing our understanding of the complexities of brain health and disease.

To that end, we welcomed 72 new research-intensive faculty members in 2023, spanning the roles of instructors, assistant professors, associate professors, and professors across our four key research themes. Their talent enhances our academic community, strengthening our capacity for groundbreaking research and transformative education.

February is a big month for our research mission area. On Feb. 6, the Annual Research Retreat was held at the Alumni House with over 100 attendees, including leadership from Heersink School of Medicine and Southern Research, as well as leadership from other UAB Schools. It featured exciting presentations on the future of health care and science related to AI and engaging breakout sessions on each strategic research area. Leadership gained momentum during the in-person discussions, and morale is high for the future of research at Heersink School of Medicine.

Next week, on Feb. 20, we will host Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, at Heersink School of Medicine. Bertagnolli is the keynote speaker for the 2024 annual Kirby I. Bland Endowed Lectureship. We are honored to welcome her to campus and look forward to hearing her speak. Learn more about the event.

Together, we are shaping the future of medicine and making a lasting impact on the health and well-being of individuals worldwide. I look forward to our continued success and discovery.