The University of Florida faculty surpassed $1 billion in research spending for the first time in 2022, developing treatments for diseases, new agricultural products, engineering solutions and countless other advancements across the UF research enterprise. With $1.076 billion in research expenditures, UF joins an exclusive group of about 15 public universities around the country to surpass $1 billion, including the University of Michigan, UCLA and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Almost half of the research occurred in the six colleges of UF Health, led by the College of Medicine in Gainesville and Jacksonville with $347 million; the College of Public Health & Health Professions with $34.5 million; the College of Veterinary Medicine with $32.1 million; the College of Pharmacy with $31.4 million; the College of Dentistry with $17.2 million; and the College of Nursing with $5 million. We’re celebrating this achievement, and the part our college plays in it, by highlighting some of the top recent achievements of the UFCD research program.
Since 2000, UFCD has ranked in the top ten for National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) funding to all U.S. Schools of Dentistry. The 2021 Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research rankings reported UFCD as 5th in total NIH funding to U.S. dental schools with $14.8 million in contracts and grants.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic on research programs, UFCD researchers responded promptly to the need for further research on COVID-19, proposing multiple research ideas, including one that involved saliva as a valid substrate to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2. Several researchers submitted proposals early on, focusing on understanding the disease, developing new methods for detection, and assisting with developing a vaccine and antiviral therapies.
Five UFCD researchers received funding for their COVID-19 research efforts:
- Robert A. Burne, Ph.D., received a CTSI-funded Pilot Project to study bacteria present in the oral/nasal cavities to see if they interfered with the COVID-19 virus infecting the host.
- Josephine Esquivel-Upshaw, D.M.D., M.S.; Samira Camargo, D.D.S.; and Edward Chan, Ph.D., collaborated with UF chemical and electrical engineering faculty, and a UF COM faculty member, and received NIH/NIDCR funding for development of a device capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva within 30 seconds.
- Joseph Katz, D.M.D, collaborated with investigators at Clemson University on an NIH/NIAAA U01 to study the development of an automated diagnostic platform for SARS-C0V-2. He is also collaborating with faculty from the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine, analyzing data relating to COVID-19 using an NIH-funded i2b2 self-service tool allowing access to data from more than 980,000 patients.
- Zsolt Toth, Ph.D., a UF Cancer Center preeminence hire for the College of Dentistry, focused on examining the COVID-19 RNA virus in hopes of discovering targets for new antiviral therapies.
- Over the last seven years, visiting scholars from 14 countries have traveled to UFCD to study and work with our faculty.
- For a list, download this pdf.
Similar to an ingrained culture of scholarship and cutting-edge research, UFCD has kept its commitment to diversity and inclusion for faculty, residents, students, and staff through a variety of research funding programs, aimed at fostering and improving the cultural climate.
- UFCD faculty member, Patricia Xirau-Probert, Ph.D., leads the CTSI Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, which serves to enhance the diversity of faculty, staff, trainees and research participants engaged in clinical and translational science. Additionally, she develops and supports diversity efforts, including as the PI for a Robert Wood Johnson grant, the Summer Health Professions Education Program, a six-week, residential pipeline experience for pre-health students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- 2020-2022 Advancing Racial Justice Through Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access at the University of Florida: Keys to Success in the Health Sciences, an Interdisciplinary Black Student Cohort Program Across the UF Academic Health Center. This initiative was funded to develop and implement an academic and social cohort-based enrichment program for first-year Black pre-health students at UF, to identify supports and challenges for first-year, pre-health Black students and describe the participant’s experiences with mentoring, engagement, well-being, and sense of belonging within the AHC.
UFCD has two important training grants that are playing a role in creating the future for oral health research and discovery.
T90/R90: Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology
The T90 Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology training grant is one of 15 awarded by NIDCR to U.S. academic institutions. The UFCD program builds on over 25 years of successful training of basic and clinician scientists in oral health research. A comprehensive series of pre- and post-doctoral training opportunities in research areas are provided using the university’s extensive educational, scientific and clinical resources directly related to oral health and diseases.
These programs produce highly skilled and interactive scientists prepared to generate new knowledge and translate their discoveries to advances in the detection, prevention, treatment, and cure of diseases and abnormalities of the oral and craniofacial complex. Supporting about 11 fellowships per year, the Comprehensive Training Program in Oral Biology is the largest NIH research training award at UF. Since 2005, over 50 people have earned Ph.D. degrees, and department faculty have trained over 60 post-doctoral fellows. In 2018, the training program received an American Dental Education Association Gies Award, that honors organizations that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership.
T32: Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART)
The T32 IMPART Program provides research training for postdoctoral fellows interested in pain and aging research. IMPART is an NIA (National Institute on Aging) funded postdoctoral training program and represents a partnership between the UF Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE) and the UF Institute on Aging (IOA). The training program includes required and elective coursework, mentored research experiences, training in manuscript and grant writing, and additional career development opportunities. Since 2015, the T32 has supported 14 postdoctoral fellows. Currently, the program supports six postdoctoral fellows per year in pain and aging research.
We have a highly accomplished cadre of mentors with a broad range of interests, including:
- Age-Related Influence on Pain Modulation.
- Interactions between Pain and Cognitive Function in Aging.
- Reciprocal Relationships between Pain and Mobility in Aging Osteoarthritis and other Musculoskeletal Pain Conditions.
- Brain Imaging Approaches to the Study of Pain and Aging.
- Clinical Interventions for Age-related Pain Conditions.
- Resilience and positive psychology treatment and outcomes.