ATLANTA (February 11, 2020) – The Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, the primary academic partner of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is the third-largest recipient of federal pediatric research dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to rankings from the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The new figures show the pediatrics department has continued to rise in national rankings of research dollars, up from No. 49 in 2004. Last year, the department ranked No. 4.
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 spectrum disorder and more.
“Our ranking among the top three NIH-funded pediatric departments is further proof that we are a leading academic children’s hospital,” said Lucky Jain, MD, MBA, Executive Director of the Emory + Children’s Pediatric Institute. “Funding is a clear indicator of an institution’s strength in pediatric health research. This ranking demonstrates what is possible thanks to the unique partnership between Children’s and Emory and our shared passion for pediatric innovation and advancements.”
Dr. Jain also serves as Chief Academic Officer for Children’s and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. The Children’s and Emory University relationship facilitates leading-edge pediatric research, training and innovation so that Children’s can deliver the best outcomes possible for patients and families. In 2019, there were more than 1,500 active studies and more than 750 publications submitted by Children’s and Emory University researchers. In 2019, total extramural funding for the department was $72.8 million.
Rankings are based on funding received between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019. During that time, Children's and Emory University researchers received $45.79 million in total grants to help continue their revolutionary 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. In the latest 2019 rankings, the Department of Pediatrics has 16 investigators listed as each receiving $1 million or more in NIH funding.
Some recent NIH-funded projects include:
- Redefining clinical viscosity in sickle cell disease: Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at Children's and Associate Professor at Emory University, will lead research with a multidisciplinary experimental and computational approach that aims to construct a comprehensive understanding of effective blood viscosity in the context of sickle cell disease vaso-occlusion. Successful completion of this project could ultimately lead to patient-specific transfusion regimens catered toward each patient’s individual hematologic profile. The approach and methods may be the basis to developing new therapeutic strategies for sickle cell disease.
- Measuring gene-environment transactions to identify sensitive periods for infant social behavior and brain growth: Warren Jones, PhD, Director of Research at Marcus Autism Center, will measure genetic and environmental influence on social visual engagement and brain growth from birth through toddlerhood, quantifying effects of gene-environment transactions over time. The study will measure how infants look at the social world, as well as changing brain connectivity under conditions of controlled genetic variation by following both identical and fraternal twins from the first week after birth. This project will provide insights into modifiable behavioral pathways that offer the greatest therapeutic potential to prevent or preempt the emergence of deleterious consequences of atypical development as found in autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.
- Determining optimal pediatric emergency care: The purpose of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) program is to establish and maintain a multi-institutional research network that conducts high-quality, rigorous studies using pooled samples of pediatric patients to determine optimal pediatric emergency care. Led by Claudia Morris, MD, FAAP, this program will demonstrate an effective network infrastructure at Emory University and Children's that enables pediatric emergency care researchers to address gaps in clinical evidence by collaboratively designing, conducting, and disseminating research that improves the treatment and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth in hospital emergency departments and pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services settings.
The NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, granting more than 80% 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 award by the NIH. Visit choa.org/research or med.emory.edu/departments/pediatrics/ to learn more.