Partnering with the NIH to Advance Medical Science and Improve Healthcare
With a budget of roughly $28 billion in FY 2006, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards over 37,000 extramural research grants nation-
wide. Researchers at University of California (UC) campuses successfully competed for over $1.58 billion in NIH funding in 2006 (not including
an additional $52 million NIH awarded to the three national laboratories managed by UC).
At UC, NIH-funded research has driven numerous discoveries and medical developments that have steadily improved the quality of healthcare
in the United States and throughout the world. ese advancements touch our daily lives, allow physicians to identify medical conditions early,
and provide hope for those facing signiﬁcant medical challenges. ey include:
• Artiﬁcial lung surfactant which allows premature infants to breathe
In the 2006 ﬁscal year, the National • e Herceptin antibody which is used for breast cancer treatment
Institutes of Health awarded UC • e nicotine patch for smoking cessation
campuses over $1.58 billion to • A catheter device to treat aneurysms
• e Hepatitis B vaccine
conduct research • A breast cancer CT scanner to detect tumors earlier than conventional mammography
FY 2006 NIH Awards to UC Campuses NIH-funded UC discoveries have advanced our knowledge about many complicated diseases:
• UC researchers discovered proto-oncogenes, or normal genes that have the potential to
San Francisco convert to cancer genes. e discovery transformed the way that scientists look at cancer
Irvine and is leading to new strategies for detection and treatment.
Santa Barbara • UC researchers discovered the prion, an infectious pathogen that causes many fatal
Santa Cruz neurodegenerative diseases. e discovery could lead to insights into the prevention of
• UC researchers were the ﬁrst to identify HIV, a watershed discovery in AIDS research.
e Power and Promise of UC’s 10 Campuses Maximize NIH Research
Riverside Funding Impact
NIH supports research at all ten of the UC campuses. Six UC campuses are, in particular, a
magnet for NIH funding, as they operate a medical school or a health sciences school such as
Davis public health, nursing, optometry, dentistry or pharmacy.
• In FY 2006, almost $454 million – or about 29 percent of UC’s NIH competitively based
NIH funding by UC Campus research awards – ﬂowed to UC San Francisco (UCSF). One of the world’s leading medi-
cal research centers, UCSF is the only UC campus dedicated exclusively to the advance-
Berkeley $ 98,099,432
ment of health sciences.
• UCLA received $366 million in NIH research grants, or 23 percent of UC’s total NIH fun-
Davis 162,711,796 ing. UC San Diego (UCSD) captured $319 million in NIH funding. Both UCLA and UCSD
Irvine 135,161,116 combine prominent medical and health sciences professional schools with major pro-
grams in the life sciences – interdepartmental collaboration among, for example, biolo-
Los Angeles 366,023,624 gists, quantitative scientists and physicians that yields signiﬁcant research returns.
Merced 75,000 • UC also operates medical schools at the Davis and Irvine campuses, which are among the
top 50 institutions nationwide in terms of NIH research funding. In FY 2006, UC Davis
won competitive grants for over $162 million in NIH funding (10 percent of UC’s total)
San Diego 319,357,521 and UC Irvine did so for $135 million.
• UC Berkeley’s strength in life sciences, public health and optometry allowed campus re-
San Francisco 454,834,766
searchers to successfully compete for over $98 million in NIH funding.
Santa Barbara 18,383,345
UC campuses located in Merced, Santa Cruz, Riverside and Santa Barbara also successfully
Santa Cruz 18,751,147 compete for NIH-funded research grants. Collectively, these UC campuses competed to at-
tract over $54 million in NIH research funding.
Promising Developments on the Horizon
Linking scientiﬁc advances to real-world healthcare
UC Davis and UC San Francisco successfully competed for NIH funding to establish Clinical and Translational Science Centers – these cen-
ters house innovative and collaborative medical research to accelerate the pace at which discoveries in basic science can serve the health
of patients and the community at large. rough the Centers, UC Davis and UC San Francisco are ﬁnding better ways to move medical
discoveries from the bench to the bedside and, most importantly, into the community.
Slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
With the help of NIH funding, several UC campuses conduct innovative research to beat back the debilitating impacts of Alzheimer’s disease:
• At UCLA, researchers discovered that a molecule binding abnormal proteins in the brain shows promise for enabling early and reliable
detection of Alzheimer’s disease. is important discovery may also allow scientists to develop therapies to slow or halt progression of
• A recently awarded grant from NIH supports the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study – led by UC San Diego, this 70-site research
consortium conducts clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease. e trials are zeroing in on which drugs are eﬀective in treating Alzheimer’s
symptoms or in slowing the disease’s progression.
• At UC Santa Barbara, scientists initiated a new approach to studying Alzheimer’s disease, which applies specialized chemical research
methods to biology, to promote understanding of molecular level changes that lead to development of the disease.
Improving treatment of diabetes and high cholesterol
Researchers at UC San Diego assembled a “virtual human metabolic network” which provides a new way to hunt for treatments of metabolic
disorders including diabetes and high cholesterol. is ﬁrst-of-its-kind metabolic network builds on the sequencing of the human genome and
contains more than 3,300 known human biochemical transformations that have been documented during 50 years of research worldwide.
Limiting the spread of avian ﬂu
NIH-funded researchers at UC Irvine have made breakthroughs in our understanding of the migration patterns of the avian ﬂu virus. In
a ﬁrst-of-its-kind study, investigators have tracked genetic and geographic virus data spanning the last decade, identifying its origins and
regional and international migration patterns. is research will assist public health oﬃcials develop eﬀective approaches to limiting the
spread of the virus.
An NIH grant funded UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create the Nanomedicine Development Center which
undertakes research to treat the major cause of blindness – loss of photoreceptors, the light detectors in the retina. UC scientists aim to
equip the cells of the retina with photoswitches—essentially helping blind nerve cells see—and restore light sensitivity for individuals with
degenerative eye diseases.
Developing therapies for diabetes, allergies, asthma, and multiple sclerosis
e Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) is a groundbreaking multinational clinical research initiative at UCSF, aimed at advancing the clinical
application of immune tolerance therapies. NIH awarded $134 million to UCSF in 1999 to create ITN, and recently renewed the award for
over $200 million. e ITN has made a remarkable contribution to developing immune tolerance therapies, bringing together experts from
a variety of disciplines and institutions to focus on developing eﬀective treatments for autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, allergies,
asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
Improving dental health
Researchers at UCLA created a new smart anti-microbial treatment that can be chemically programmed in the laboratory to seek out and
kill a speciﬁc cavity-causing species of bacteria, leaving the good bacteria untouched.
Understanding how viruses spread
UC Riverside scientists are now studying the mechanisms of virus assembly. Understanding how viruses are assembled is important be-
cause viruses such as sexually transmitted HIV and mosquito-transmitted West Nile virus are spread only in assembled form.
Promoting women’s health
NIH-funded UC Davis researchers are conducting a ﬁrst-of-its kind-study to determine the importance of ancestry on the development
of diseases in women. Researchers will analyze samples taken from 160,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the Women’s
Health Initiative, which focused on some of the most frequent causes of death among postmenopausal women – heart disease, breast and
colorectal cancer and osteoporosis fractures.
Sustaining NIH funding is critical to advancing knowledge and improving the nation’s health
Congress and the President doubled the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003, laying a strong foundation for advances in health research and
healthcare into the 21st century. However, NIH funding has not kept pace with the cost of inﬂation since 2003. Stable NIH funding must be
a nationwide priority in order to sustain progress, improve global health and meet the new medical challenges that the future will bring.