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OU Health Sciences Rises in Ranking of NIH Research Funding

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Researcher Zachary Dalebroux, Ph.D., works in his laboratory at OU Health Sciences. Dalebroux studies infectious diseases, which is a strategic research focus for the campus.

OU Health Sciences Rises in Ranking of NIH Research Funding

March 5, 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences grew its funding from the National Institutes of Health to $64.4 million in 2022-23, an increase of more than $4 million over the previous year. That improves the campus’s ranking to 122 out of 2,886 institutions and other entities that receive NIH funding. The listing is compiled by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, which is regarded as the gold standard for ranking biomedical research institutions. Funding from the NIH is considered the key benchmark for research productivity and reputation for health sciences.

OU Health Sciences is the largest research institution in Oklahoma and is one of only a few comprehensive research universities in the nation to have six health professional colleges and an interdisciplinary Graduate College on the same campus. Strategic research areas are cancer, diabetes, neurosciences and vision, infectious diseases and geroscience.

Notable NIH grants awarded in 2022-23 include $20.3 million over five years to fund the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources, a program that collaborates with more than 30 state agencies, tribes, community organizations, research institutes and universities. Together, they work to improve health care and facilitate research into the major conditions that burden Oklahomans, including cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, diabetes and arthritis. This is the third successful competitive funding cycle for the OSCTR.

For the first time in state history, researchers at OU Health Sciences received NIH funding through a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant. The five-year, $11.6 million grant will allow OU researchers, along with research programs at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of New Mexico, to conduct a variety of studies, including clinical trials, on the prevention and treatment of endometrial cancer.

A $10.5 million grant over seven years will allow researchers to study the causes of increased death and disease among Indigenous women. The work of the grant will be the creation of CIRCLE — the Center for Indigenous Resilience, Culture, and Maternal Health Equity — to serve Oklahoma and the Southern Plains. OU’s Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing is leading the work of the grant.

Researchers studying Clostridioides difficile, or C. difficile, received a five-year, $6.5 million grant to better understand how the bacterium thwarts a person’s immune system, particularly in those who are hospitalized. The grant brings together a team of researchers to target their joint efforts on C. difficile infection.

“OU Health Sciences’ national ranking of 122nd in NIH funding represents our ongoing commitment to making high-impact discoveries that will benefit the people of Oklahoma and beyond,” said OU Health Sciences Vice President for Research Darrin Akins, Ph.D. “Increasing our research funding is a priority goal for OU Health Sciences and is at the heart of our mission of improving health and reducing health disparities in our state.”

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.


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