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Ken Halvorsen of the RNA Institute, who received an NIH grant for his project on detection technologies and analysis of RNA.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 30, 2019) – UAlbany researchers received $12.8 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants during 2018 – an increase of $5.4 million over the year prior and the largest NIH grant spike seen in the Capital Region, according to new data analyzed by the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).

Earlier this month, CEG announced that NIH awards in the Capital Region’s biotech sector increased by 13.5 percent in fiscal year 2018. Using data from the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools, CEG found that 20 firms and institutions received 154 awards totaling $62 million.

In its announcement, CEG wrote “The Capital Region awardee with the biggest annual increase of NIH funds (by value) was the University at Albany, which received $12.8 million. That was up $5.4 million from the previous year and the university’s largest NIH award total since fiscal 2004…”

UAlbany awardees include:

  • Thomas Begley, Distinguished Professor Marlene Belfort, Paolo Forni, Marissa Eileen Louis, Cara Pager, Prashanth Rangan, Morgan Sammons, Annalisa Scimemi, Alex Valm, Melinda Larsen, Kara DeSantis and Patrick Blatt of the Department of Biological Sciences
  • Daniele Fabris, Li Niu, Jayanti Pande, Maksim Royzen, Alexander Shekhtman, Jun Wang and Mehmet Veysel Yigit of the Department of Chemistry
  • Ewan McNay and Christine Wagner of the Department of Psychology
  • Julia Jennings of the Department of Anthropology
  • Ken Halvorsen of the RNA Institute
  • Erin Bell and Shao Lin of The School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Melissa Tracy and Elizabeth Vasquez of The School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Empire Innovation Professor JoEllen Welsh of the School of Public Health’s Cancer Research Center
  • President Havidán Rodríguez and Distinguished Professor Lawrence Schell of the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

“UAlbany researchers are competing and winning grants from the NIH where the success rates are among the most challenging,” said James Dias, vice president for research. “While UAlbany has taken steps to strengthen the competitiveness of our research community, the credit for our NIH success squarely belongs with our exemplary and highly dedicated faculty. Thanks to this truly talented core of early-, mid- and senior-career investigators, the University is winning unprecedented NIH funding and advancing high-impact, transformational research that is making a difference in the lives of people throughout the nation and beyond.”

Speaking to the Times Union for a Jan. 17 article on the increase in NIH funding, Tracy, a professor in the School of Public Health whose interdisciplinary project studies violence within social networks, pointed out that these NIH research projects also provide impactful experiential learning opportunities for students.

“[The funding] opens opportunities for students who want to have research opportunities but need to have some funding," Tracy told reporter Diego Mendoza-Moyers.

Mendoza-Moyers wrote “…Tracy pointed out that, although NIH funding has become increasingly competitive to get in recent years, the uptick UAlbany saw last year is a good sign of the work being done… ‘It just shows the quality of research that's going on at this school,’ she said.”

According to CEG, other awardees with big year-over-year funding gains include GE Global Research in Niskayuna, the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center, which has a 33-year partnership with the School of Public Health.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, businesseducation, public health,health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare and sociology, taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.