Science Market Update

New Cardiovascular Research Center to Grow UAB Funding, Faculty, & Labs

Posted by Jaimee Saliba on Tue, Feb 14, 2012


At a time when competition for shrinking NIH funding is fierce, consolidating biomedical research units into larger centers that bring together basic, clinical, and translational research is a very smart move.  The University of Alabama Birmingham is doing precisely that in forming its new Cardiovascular Research Center, which follows the model and success of its Cancer Research Center (read our blog on the subject), as well as centers for neuroscience and diabetes. As federal funding is increasingly going toward big projects run by multiple investigators in different fields, UAB's formation of a new cardiovascular research center brings together the strengths of its medical school and hospital while also growing its overall cardiovascular program, to include the hire of 9 new clinical faculty and 6 new research faculty. These new cardiovascular hires are part of a larger UAB strategic plan to recruit some 30-50 additional NIH-funded biomedical investigators over five years—with an additional 50 to come afterward. 

According  to Ray Watts, M.D., dean of the UAB School of Medicine:

“One person can only do so much. To compete for large, multimillion-dollar research grants, we need a team of the best and brightest to build a critical mass.”

The new Cardiovascular Center will be made up of these 8 disease research areas:

  1. Heart failure, heart transplants and mechanical devices such as artificial hearts
  2. Cardiac repair, recovery and regeneration, including stem cell research
  3. Heart arrhythmias
  4. Diabetes, metabolism and the artery blockage called myocardial ischemia
  5. New surgical techniques and devices
  6. High blood pressure, atherosclerosis and vascular biology, which can include stroke
  7. Molecular cardiology and signaling
  8. Cardiac imaging and bioengineering, including nanotechnology


In addition to consolidating departments and hiring new faculty, the Cardiovascular Center will create new tissue and blood banks for researchers to draw on -- something unusual in cardiovascular research -- and will maintain the kind of high-level lab needed to run early-stage drug studies.

Other notable news from UAB Med's strategic plan include:

  • Cell Biology will combine with Physiology and Biophysics to create a new Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology (critical mass, again)
  • A new $100M research building is in development


Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be on the UAB campus November 1, 2012 to hold its 13th annual Birmingham BioResearch Product Faire event.  This well-attended trade expo brings together research investigators, lab managers, and purchasing agents with top life science equipment providers to network and discuss lab research needs and new technologies. For information on exhibiting, click the button below.

alabama research

Be sure to check out our complete 2012 Show Schedule too.

Tags: Biomedical expansion, cardiovascular research, Alabama, University of Alabama Birmingham, Southern Region

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