Texas A&M Health Science Center solidifies growth trajectory with unprecedented research expenditures milestone
With an unprecedented 34 percent increase in 2014, Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) has crossed the $100 million threshold in total annual research expenditures, which includes a nearly 68 percent increase in funding from federal sources. This latest milestone offers further evidence of the institution’s trajectory as one of the nation’s most rapidly emerging, research-intensive, innovation- driven health science centers.
In announcing the milestone, Brett P. Giroir, M.D., chief executive officer of Texas A&M Health Science Center, lauded the impressive work of the institution’s faculty, students and staff in forging leading-edge research and development efforts across diverse health science disciplines.
“Our level of growth is a remarkable accomplishment in an era when research funding, particularly from the federal government, is either flat or decreasing,” Giroir said. “Achieving this milestone is objective evidence that the focus on excellence within Texas A&M Health Science Center and the hard work of our faculty are being widely recognized and rewarded throughout the medical sciences research communities. We are quite literally bringing life-saving treatments from the lab to the people who need them most, and the entities that support such work – from the National Institute of Health to the Gates Foundation – are taking notice.”
Since assuming leadership of the institution in late 2013, Giroir immediately identified a concrete list of aspirations for the state’s youngest health-related institution to attain. Enacting this vision has included a number of initiatives intent on providing professional growth opportunities to faculty and students, including creation of an office of technology translation, designation of seed funding for targeted research projects, cultivation of numerous multidisciplinary research projects aimed at advancing discoveries from bench to bedside.
Additionally, Texas A&M Health Science Center assumed the leadership role for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing, a $285.6 million public-private partnership established in June 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
“There isn’t another academic institution in this nation with a vaccine development and manufacturing center of this scope and scale; however, that isn’t the only element that truly sets us apart. With programs across more health professions disciplines than any other health science center in Texas and the unparalleled opportunity of leveraging the complementary scientific and academic expertise of a top tier research university, Texas A&M Health Science Center is uniquely positioned to advance interdisciplinary discoveries across a full range of basic, translational and clinical investigations,” said Gerald Parker, Ph.D., vice president for public health preparedness and response at Texas A&M Health Science Center. “This is just the beginning of a transformation that is forging new frontiers in science, medicine, public health and beyond.”
Currently, Texas A&M Health Science Center researchers are tackling some of the world’s most challenging health issues and have achieved numerous scientific breakthroughs. A few examples of recent research highlights include:
- Development of a new immune system therapy to protect humans against a wide range of life-threatening infectious diseases.
- Clinical trials of a new test for tuberculosis (TB) that could dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis for one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
- Exploring a new way to treat bacterial infection that has the potential to kill drug resistant organisms, including the deadly MRSA “super bug.”
- Determining the impact of stress on the healing process and identifying better means of managing post-procedure pain.
In addition, Texas A&M Health Science Center in the last year engaged in new strategic relationships with Houston Methodist, the technology giant Dell, and the Texas Medical Center in Houston; recruited a number of nationally acclaimed faculty members; launched several research centers, including a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence focused on improving human health through integrated environmental health research; announced new degree programs within the Texas A&M College of Nursing and Texas A&M School of Public Health; expanded the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy to College Station; and had members of its faculty and administration serving in many state and national leadership positions, including directing the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response formed by Governor Rick Perry to lead the response to Ebola in Texas.
“Some might say that 2014 was an unusually busy year for this institution, but in reality we are setting a new pace that will inform the monumental efforts yet to come. From extending our burgeoning partnership with Houston Methodist in the area of discovery translations to the expanding infrastructure in Houston, Dallas and the biocorridor in Bryan-College Station, the foundation that we are laying today truly is transforming health,” Giroir said. “That’s an exceptionally exciting prospect, not just for our faculty and staff, but most importantly for our students who are training with some of the best researchers in the field today so that as graduates they are poised to serve as leaders in 21st Century health care.”