Biomedical research at UT Health Center at Tyler experiences phenomenal growth in funding

Friday, August 11, 2006

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler may be the smallest of the UT System’s six health components, but its 35 scientists consistently make a big impact in the world of basic biomedical research. These scientists direct world-class programs in lung diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes, cancer, and aging.

A decade ago, UTHSCT scientists received about $755,000 from six grants funded by the National Institutes of Health. In the 2006 fiscal year that ended this past August, UTHSCT received over $6.5 million in NIH funds. In just 10 years, NIH funding has increased more than eight fold. This year, UTHSCT was awarded 82 new grants and contracts totaling $15.3 million.

In 2005, UTHSCT received the largest government-funded research award in its history: a five-year grant of almost $7.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to study lung scarring. UTHSCT Vice President for Research Steven Idell, MD, Ph.D., and his team will investigate how cells lining the lungs and airways contribute to lung scarring and then will test ways to prevent it. Lung scarring can be deadly, with about 40,000 Americans dying from it each year.

Experts in bioethics and behavioral science recently have joined the research faculty, about 90 percent of whom are externally funded. Several investigators are working with other academic partners in this country and overseas and with biotechnology firms. New patents also are being developed through the work of UTHSCT investigators as well.

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