This past week, we had the opportunity to highlight our School of Medicine research portfolio and our faculty to the VCU Health System Board of Directors. We highlighted prominent publications in high impact scientific journals (e.g., research featured on the cover of Nature Medicine) and in a highly visible public magazine (e.g., inclusion in a recent cover story in Time Magazine), as well as the impressive growth we have seen in research funding.
A recent PLOS Biology paper, bearing in mind all the caveats related to national rankings, applied a novel method to generate a list of the 100,000 most-cited researchers across all scientific fields, placing them in the top 2% of the more than 6 million authors analyzed. Of note, 14 VCU-affiliated researchers and leaders were ranked in the top 10% of that accomplished group, including:
- Dr. Lindon Eaves
- Dr. Dwain Eckberg
- Dr. Ana Espinel-Ingroff
- Dr. Steve Grant
- Dr. Ken Kendler
- Dr. Anthony Marmarou
- Dr. John Nestler
- Dr. Arun Sanyal
- Dr. Larry Schwartz
- Dr. Sarah Spiegel
- Dr. Harvey Sugarman
- Dr. Norbert Voelkel
- Dr. Dick Wenzel
- Dr. Steve Woolf
This past year, overall funding reached $148 million – a new milestone for our school. This growth includes a very impressive 13.8% increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and highlights the strength of our basic health sciences researchers, as a remarkable 68% of our federal funding supports basic health science research.
Two recent grants that have contributed to this current success and will help promote the success of future generations include:
- The Central Virginia Center on Drug Abuse Research was awarded a NIDA P30 grant worth $6.8 million to support meritorious drug abuse pilot proposals from young and established investigators. The team is directed by Dr. Bill Dewey and includes Dr. Aron Lichtman, Dr. Matthew Halquist, Dr. Hamid Akbarali and Dr. S. Stevens Negus.
- With Dr. Joyce Lloyd’s leadership as principal investigator, the Center on Health Disparities received a new $2.5 million Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) K12 grant from the NIH that will continue to fund their efforts to develop biomedical scientists from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research until 2024. This program has been highly successful, with 82% of former IRACDA fellows in tenure-eligible faculty positions and 100% employed in scientific careers.
We also continue to support our research colleagues through internal funds, including presidential, CTSA career development and Value and Efficiency Teaching and Research (VETAR) awards, as well as joint VA-VCU pilot research funding.
We are most cognizant that funding is just one way to measure the success. Our faculty continue to strengthen our reputation as a leader in scientific research, discovery, innovation and education by:
- Serving in leadership roles within prominent national, regional and local societies and as editors of well-respected scientific journals
- Representing our school within preeminent honorific societies, such as the National Academy of Medicine and the American Society for Clinical Investigation
- Garnering prestigious awards for your achievements and dedication to research, education and clinical care
- Publishing highly cited papers that serve as foundational research for numerous scientific fields
- Helping attract stellar recruits, especially in the areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular and cancer
These are just a few examples of the creativity, excellence and commitment that defines our School of Medicine, and we greatly appreciate everything all of you do to enhance our reputation as a highly collaborative school at the forefront of both basic science and clinical research. We look forward to continuing to build on your good work and success.
With all good wishes,
Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System