Give scientists a challenge and they will pursue it with ferocious tenacity.
In 2020, the challenge of fighting COVID-19 unleashed the dedication of many UT Southwestern physician-scientists. More than 200 research projects have been launched related to coronavirus research, including more than a dozen clinical trials on promising treatments. The year also led to a record in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, an impressive all-time-high in the number of faculty members elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and a commitment to expand biotechnology commercialization through a new partner project.
A record year for scientific achievement
UTSW was honored to have four faculty members inducted into the National Academy of Sciences – a record number for the University in a single year. The inductions pushed UTSW’s total NAS membership to 23, more than any other Texas institution. UTSW also had one faculty member elected into the National Academy of Medicine, bringing its roster of NAM members to 17.
Partnering to boost biotech innovation
UT Southwestern is joining with Lyda Hill Philanthropies and J. Small Investments to create the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park, set to open in 2021 across Interstate 35 from UTSW’s campus. The project will include nonprofits, life science startups, and the first Texas site for BioLabs, which manages shared laboratory space around the country, advancing Dallas as a leading hub for biotech business growth.
Laser focus on COVID-19 research
UT Southwestern investigators from across the spectrum of clinical, data, and the basic sciences have taken on the challenge of fighting COVID-19, launching more than 200 research projects to date. Some research efforts have already led to clinical trials, such as one now testing atovaquone, a drug with a long history of treating infectious diseases of the lungs.
Pioneering COVID-19 research
Dr. John Schoggins has received a coveted NIH Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Schoggins will receive $3.5 million over the next five years to examine whether animals that carry viruses such as Ebola and SARS-CoV-2 possess antiviral genes that allow them to survive. The hope is that this information could help researchers develop treatments for humans who contract diseases like COVID-19.
A record year for NIH funding
UT Southwestern researchers secured record funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the last fiscal year, which will support research into areas including advanced interventions for substance use disorders, the causes of Ewing sarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, and the role of circuits in the brain that contribute to the beneficial metabolic effects of exercise.