The Department of Neurology ranks No. 1 among its peers at universities nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, with $23.4 million in research grants for 2002, according to newly released figures.
The funding represents a nearly two-fold jump from $12.3 million the previous year, when the department ranked No. 8.
John Mazziotta, professor and chair of neurology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, credited the increase to the widely recognized high caliber and success of the department’s science.
“The NIH grant review is the toughest test of peer-reviewed scientific funding. It’s the most rigorous filter of scientific quality,” Mazziotta said. “Our funding level shows that UCLA neurology research has reached new heights in quality and quantity, and now sets the standard for neurology research nationwide.”
The Department of Neurology accounted for 10% of all NIH funding in the medical school. The figures do not include NIH funding obtained by neurology faculty but administered by the Neuropsychiatric and Brain Research institutes.
The largest current awards within the department include $7.3 million for the Early Randomized Surgical Epilepsy Trial led by Jerome Engel, professor and director of the UCLA Seizure Disorder Center, and $2.5 million for the computational anatomy and multidimensional modeling project led by Arthur Toga, professor and director of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.
Recent scientific breakthroughs by neurology faculty include:
- The demonstration of sites in the brain that atrophy as Alzheimer’s disease progresses;
- The development of a fly model of Alzheimer’s disease to understand the disease process and provide a way to test experimental drugs;
- Improved methods to determine the best possible treatment for each patient by imaging the brain when a stroke occurs;
- The development of a highly detailed atlas of the human brain to enable brain researchers around the world to better navigate the brain’s complex structure and communicate their findings accurately.