Emory University Department of Pediatrics Maintains Top Five Ranking for Research Grants from the NIH

More than $53 million in federal funds enable advances to target childhood diseases

ATLANTA (Feb. 15, 2022) – Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, the primary academic partner of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, ranked No. 4 in federal research dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2021 for pediatrics departments, according to rankings from the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The new figures show the pediatrics department has continued to remain in the top five rankings for research dollars since 2016, up from No. 49 in 2004. 

The funding allows researchers to work on cures and treatments for childhood diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, cancer and blood disorders, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, autism and more. Learn more about research projects and milestones from the past year in the Children’s and Emory 2021 Research Report: Unprecedented Discoveries, Global Impact.

“Our ranking in the top five among NIH-funded pediatric departments since 2016 demonstrates that the partnership between Children’s and Emory is making a lasting impact across the nation and the world,” said Lucky Jain, MD, MBA, Chief Academic Officer of Children’s and Chair of the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. “The past two years challenged our doctors, scientists and researchers to quickly bring discoveries made at the bench to the bedside, and I’m proud of the way our teams have continued to advance our goals, leading the way not only in COVID-19 science and discovery but also in our standard research program. This ranking is a result of the dedication between our two institutions and passion for new treatments in pediatric care.”

The Children’s and Emory relationship facilitates leading-edge pediatric research, training and innovation so that Children’s can deliver the best outcomes possible for patients and families. Rankings are based on NIH funding received between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. In addition to $53.9 million in NIH grant funding that led to the No. 4 ranking, more than 1,800 publications in more than 800 journals in the same time period helped support groundbreaking efforts to develop new treatments or cures in 28 specialty areas for diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, cancer and blood disorders, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, autism and more.

Some recent NIH-funded projects include:

  • Pediatric HIV Cure Research: Despite major advances in prevention and treatment, millions of children and adolescents continue to live with HIV each day. Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, Infectious Disease Specialist at Children’s and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Emory, was awarded $27.6 million from the NIH to accelerate the search for a cure for HIV in children and adolescents, as co-principal investigator with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The grant is part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research program called the Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE) Collaboratory, which uses a multidisciplinary, multicultural and iterative approach to study pediatric HIV.
  • COVID-19 and MIS-C Biomarker Discovery: After receiving NIH funding for research into plasma osteopontin as a biomarker for traumatic brain injury, the Children’s and Emory pediatric neurotrauma lab, led by Andrew Reisner, MD, Medical Director of Neurotrauma and Pediatric Neurosurgeon for Children’s, unexpectedly discovered plasma osteopontin was also a molecular indicator for COVID-19 and MIS-C severity. While larger follow-up trials are needed to determine the specificity and predictability of this marker for widespread clinical use, it has the potential to scale up and inform the prognosis of anyone with COVID-19.
  • Abatacept for the Prevention of Severe GVHD: Providing new hope to patients, the drug abatacept was FDA approved after being shown to significantly reduce the risk of acute GVHD among children and adults during a seven-year, multisite trial conducted by hematologists and oncologists at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. With support from NIH, Benjamin K. Watkins, MD, and Muna Qayed, MD, led the trial at Children’s and published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, granting more than 80 percent of its budget to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research is a trusted nonprofit that utilizes data annually on all research and development contracts awarded by the NIH. Visit or to learn more.

For more information:

Allyson Wright

Public Relations, Manager


About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

As the only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the trusted leader in caring for kids. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow through more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs, top healthcare professionals, and leading research and technology. Children’s is one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, managing more than one million patient visits annually at three hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, urgent care centers and neighborhood locations. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has impacted the lives of kids in Georgia, across the United States and around the world for more than 100 years thanks to generous support from the community.

About Emory University School of Medicine

About Emory University School of Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine is a leading institution with the highest standards in education, biomedical research and patient care, with a commitment to recruiting and developing a diverse group of students and innovative leaders. Emory School of Medicine has more than 3,400 full- and part-time faculty, 592 medical students, 497 allied health students in five programs, 1,388 residents and fellows in 115 accredited programs, and 92 MD/PhD students. Medical school faculty received $588.4 million in external research funding in fiscal year 2022. The school is best known for its research and treatment in infectious disease, brain health, heart disease, cancer, transplantation, orthopaedics, pediatrics, renal disease, ophthalmology and geriatrics.


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