The Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), a joint department in the School of Medicine and School of Engineering, ranked seventh in the nation for funding received from the National Institutes of Health in 2020. This marks the fifth year the department has ranked in the NIH’s top ten based on the database of the Blue Ridge Institute. BME brought in $4,730,582 in NIH grant funding in 2020, a slight decrease from the previous year’s funding.
“We are excited to continue a tradition of excellence in research in our department,” said Jianyi “Jay” Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair in UAB’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “For the fifth straight year, and amid a global pandemic, we obtained funding to remain among the nation’s most prominent joint biomedical engineering departments. Our ongoing success reflects the support of the schools of Medicine and Engineering, and collaborative research across the institution.”
Zhang highlights several research efforts from the past year including projects specific to combating COVID-19, such as Solution Studios™ led by Joel Berry, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The program brings students together to collaborate in solving real world clinical problems. Berry and his team officially launched the platform as a startup company in 2020, and pivoted quickly to create a pandemic-specific interface where clinicians could pose COVID-19 challenges, including addressing social needs amid the pandemic, tackling at-home care for discharged COVID-19 patients and keeping patients safe during routine treatments such as dialysis.
“As we look ahead we see growth and expansion in our partnerships, with interdisciplinary projects taking place across departments,” Zhang says. “We look forward to hosting the fifth annual NHLBI Progenitor Cell Translation Consortium (PCTC) Symposium here at UAB in the fall—an event with international participation. We continue our work to promote the exciting field of biomedical engineering and to train a new generation of bioengineers, as evidenced by the recent selection of one of our undergraduate students, Krista Jackson, as UAB Outstanding Undergraduate and Student of the Year. The UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering is an exciting, vibrant department poised for growth.”