The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry has been ranked first in Texas, No. 7 in the country, for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among 48 public and private dental schools, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Biomedical Research, an independent nonprofit organization.
Blue Ridge rankings are generated annually to report health science research funding from the NIH, the largest public source of health sciences funding to biomedical research institutions in the world.
The school received $11,258,229 in federal funding from the NIH in 2022, which contributed to its nearly $35 million in total research grants awarded during that fiscal year.
Climbing nine spots from 16th in 2021, the School of Dentistry now holds the top spot among all Texas dental schools.
“I am extremely proud of our faculty,” said Brij B. Singh, PhD, associate dean for research. “Every day our faculty work hard to improve the research and scholarly activity at our school. Increasing in the NIH ranking is a testament of their success and how far we have come as a group.”
The leap in ranking can be attributed in part to a major five-year $9.8 million grant investigating how the jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles influence and create pain. The study, led by Armen Akopian, PhD, professor of endodontics, could help lead to safer drug alternatives to opioid painkillers, helping to curb addiction.
Notably, the school was awarded 21 NIH grants in total, 9 of them were “R01” grants and, for the first time in its history, the school received a highly competitive K99 NIH Pathway to Independence Award to support the postdoctoral research of Audrey Rakian, DDS, PhD.
“The achievement of the School of Dentistry in obtaining funding, from the NIH and many other funding entities, is an acknowledgement of the impactful research our faculty, students and staff are conducting that is improving oral health and making lives better,” said Dean Peter M. Loomer, DDS, PhD. “I congratulate our exceptional researchers for this success.”