GHSU wants to increase research, federal funding

The impact of research at Georgia Health Sciences University doesn’t stop at the nation’s borders, said the man who is spearheading it.


“We’re really on not only the national map but really the international stage in terms of the quality of the research that we are producing,” said Dr. Mark Hamrick, senior vice president for research, who recently had the “interim” tag removed from his title. Dr. Kalu U.E. Ogbureke and Dr. Daron Ferris, for instance, have projects to study human papillomavirus infection and cancer in Nigeria and Peru, but also will collaborate through a GHSU College of Dental Medicine clinic in Peru, Hamrick said.

Hamrick updated his colleagues Wednesday on where the university stood in addressing faculty concerns and on the ambitious plans to double the amount of federal funding coming in from the National Institutes of Health. The school wants to move from around 70th into the top 50 among medical schools, which would mean getting about $40 million more a year in funding from the NIH, or about double what the school brings in now, Hamrick said. That means essentially doubling the number of researchers working at the university, he said.

“In order to really to take it to the next level, we simply need more faculty,” Hamrick said.

A top 50 medical school in NIH funding employs an average of 167 basic science faculty versus the 70 at GHSU, he said. The idea would be to find researchers who are already funded who could bring that money with them to boost the total, Hamrick said.

That increase has an impact in the community, he said. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that research funding through medical schools accounts for 300,000 jobs nationwide, including 6,000 in Georgia, Hamrick said.

“We have a significant economic impact,” he said. “We not only feel tremendous pride about the research that we are performing, we also have a positive effect on our community,”