Almost 400,000 square feet of space in various buildings is dedicated to research. Recent additions include the Medical Research Building, an 11-story laboratory building housing several centers, institutes, and departments, a dedicated structural biology building housing state-of-the-art NMR equipment.
Research faculty, students, and postdoctoral trainees at UTMB have ready access to cutting-edge equipment and technologies. UTMB's 20 basic biomedical and clinical academic departments all have faculty conducting funded research.
The Office of the Associate Vice President for Research liaisons with funding agencies, identifies funding sources for faculty and students, and assists researchers in preparing and submitting grant applications. This office also maintains a catalog of research expertise listing all UTMB faculty and their areas of expertise as well as a compendium of all research core facilities on campus available to help researchers. Examples of core facilities include those providing transgenic animals, analysis and synthesis of proteins or nucleic acids, image analysis, nude mice, DNA sequencing, NMR analysis, cell sorting, X-ray crystallography, in situ hybridization, morphometric analysis, gene cloning, and many others.
Research by the faculty at all four schools at UTMB attracted external funding (grants and contracts) of almost $60 million in 1997. Total research expenditures by the institution totaled about $80 million. Intramural funding provided for research by the institution include departmental funds, but the Small Grants Program and the John Sealy Memorial Endowment Fund constitute the major source of internal grant support for faculty.
The latter fund, established in the late 1980's by the Sealy & Smith Foundation with matching funds from UTMB, now approaches a corpus of $70 million. Interest earned from the fund's principal provides research grants totaling over $1 million/year to UTMB researchers. The endowment fund also has been used to establish 6 Sealy centers of excellence at UTMB in the areas of Molecular Science, Molecular Cardiology, Oncology & Hematology, Structural Biology, Aging and Vaccine Development. Establishment of these centers has attracted some of the most outstanding research scientists in the country to UTMB.
Numerous other sources of support for research exist at UTMB. Centennial centers for Tropical Medicine and Environmental Toxicology were established in 1991 on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Medical Branch. Two long-standing institutes, the Institute for Medical Humanities, with scholars studying biomedical issues related to ethics, history, and literature, and the Marine Biomedical Institute, with neuroscientists studying marine-related topics and models, are state supported entities which are research intensive.
Special support provided by the state for almost 20 years supports research on interferons. The McLaughlin Fund represents an endowment that supports approximately 10 predoctoral and 10 postdoctoral fellows per year in the area of infection and immunity; stipends for the predoctoral students is generous.
GSBS faculty and students participate in several externally-funded training grants (Toxicology, Tropical Medicine, Neurobiology, and Drug Abuse) that provide stipend support for predoctoral fellows conducting research at UTMB as part of their degree requirements or for postdoctoral fellows obtaining additional training prior to obtaining a professional position.
Applications for a training grants in other areas, e.g. structural biology are under development.
Each year UTMB hosts the National Student Research Forum; this is the only major national scientific meeting conducted by students. Each year a group of directors consisting of 2 medical students and 2 graduate students plan and host the meeting.
The 3 day meeting hosts medical students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from institutions across the US who come to UTMB to present their research findings.
Keynote speakers address the attendees, and social events and excursions to local attractions complement the scientific program.
Each department and center at UTMB hosts a seminar series which bring outstanding visiting scientists to UTMB throughout the year to give lectures and research seminars to faculty and students. This important academic activity provides insight into cutting-edge investigations in progress at other research institutions, corporations, or federal agencies in the US and throughout the world.