Miller School of Medicine Continues Its Rise in NIH Research Grant Rankings

The Miller School of Medicine rose two positions in the national rankings of medical schools based on research grants received from the National Institutes of Health during the 2016 federal fiscal year. The NIH grants are vital for advancing research that leads to a greater understanding of a wide variety of diseases and public health issues.

According to data compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, the Miller School rose from No. 41 to No. 39 of 139 schools ranked, with its grant total increasing by slightly more than $13.8 million, or 14 percent, to $111.2 million. That figure is $17.6 million higher than the next Florida medical school on the list, and retains the Miller School’s status as the highest-ranked medical school in the state.

In addition, eight of its departments made rankings gains, including one — the John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics — which jumped 16 points among its peers due to a funding increase of $11.012 million — nearly double its FY2015 total — bringing it up to a total for FY2016 of $17.369 million.

Twenty-five faculty members received more than $1 million in funding, with 13 ranked in the top 10 percent in their academic field.

“We are very proud that the Miller School of Medicine continues to climb in the NIH ranks, and that it continues to maintain its position as the top-ranked research medical school in Florida,” said interim Dean Laurence B. Gardner, M.D. “This outcome is entirely the result of the quality and efforts of our researchers.”

This year, five Miller School departments ranked in the top 20 nationally against their peers: Public Health Sciences (up 3 places, to No. 5), Human Genetics (up 16 places, to No. 8), Ophthalmology (maintained rank, at No. 8), Neurosurgery (down 6 places, to No. 10*) and Otolaryngology (up 2 places, to No. 14).

Other departments that moved up were, in order: Radiation Oncology (3 places, to No. 36), Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2 places, to No. 41), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (2 places, to No. 25), Medicine (1 place, to No. 51), and Physiology and Biophysics (1 place, to No. 62).

Twenty-three principal investigators received more than $1 million each, generating $59.891 million, or 54 percent of the Miller School’s total NIH funding.

• Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics and the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics, was the school’s highest NIH-funded researcher, with $9.015 million in awards — slightly more than half of her department’s total award dollars — which earned her the No. 3 spot in a national field of 641, in the top 0.3 percent of her specialty.

• Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., professor and Chairman of Neurology and Olemberg Family Chair in Neurological Disorders, was the school’s second-highest-funded Miller School researcher, with $6.910 million, making him No. 24* of 756, in the top 3 percent of his specialty.

Other research funding leaders were:

• José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and Chair Emeritus of Public Health Sciences, $4.566 million (No. 12 of 388)

• David I. Watkins, Ph.D., professor of pathology, $4.391 million (No. 8 of 869)

• Sara J. Czaja, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, $3.801 million (36 of 1,147)

• Gary Wayne Beecham, Ph.D., assistant professor of human genetics, $3.579 million (No. 19 of 641)

• Savita Pahwa, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and Director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research, $3.280 million No. 26 of 1027)

• John R. Guy, M.D., professor of ophthalmology and the Rogers Research Chair in Ophthalmology, $2.300 million (No. 6 of 396)

• Margaret A. Fischl, M.D., professor of medicine, director of the HIV/AIDS Clinical Research Unit, and Co-Director of the Miami Center for AIDS Research, $2.095 million (No. 321 or 4,085)

Sixteen additional faculty members passed the $1 million mark:

• Michael Benatar, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, $1.559 million

• Xue Z. Liu, M.D., professor of otolaryngology, $1.524 million

• Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., professor of medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the HIV/AIDS Institute, $1.373 million

• Carlos T. Moraes, Ph.D., Lichtenstein Professor of Neurology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, $1.369 million

• Mustafa Tekin, M.D., professor in the Dr. John T. MacDonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics, $1.266 million

• Stephan Züchner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Department of Human Genetics and Co-Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics,
$1.241 million

• Ashok K. Saluja, Director of the Sylvester Pancreatic Cancer Research Institute, Associate Director for Research Innovation, Senior Associate Dean for Research, and professor and vice chair of surgery, $1.229 million

• W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Scientific Director of The Miami Project and Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery, Senior Associate Dean for Discovery Science, and professor of neurological surgery, neurology and cell biology, $1.225 million

• Kevin Park, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological surgery, $1.222 million

• Shaun Brothers, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, $1.180 million

• Eli Gilboa, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, and Director of the Dodson Interdisciplinary Immunotherapy Institute, $1.178 million

• Guillermo J. “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences, Director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health and Dean of the Graduate School, $1.179 million

• Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, $1.146 million

• Deborah Lynne Jones, Ph.D., M.Ed., research professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and co-chair of mentoring for the development core at the Center for AIDS Research, $1.137 million

• Antoni Barrientos, Ph.D., professor of neurology, $1.083 million

• Maria T. Abreu, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and Director of the Crohn’s and Colitis Center, $1.041 million.

Complete rankings of schools, departments and researchers are available here.

* Corrected funding figures will raise this ranking by several places.

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