About the UTHSC Office of Research

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is a community-based academic health center and a tertiary referral center that has a rich tradition of supporting excellence in basic, clinical and translational research. UTHSC faculty and staff receive an average of about $100 million in external funding annually for research and sponsored programs. The UTHSC College of Medicine ranked 79th out of 139 Colleges of Medicine in NIH funding in FY13 with several departments ranked as top NIH-funded departments [Anatomy (50), Neurology (49), Ophthalmology (38), Pathology (57), Pharmacology (52), Physiology  (15), Preventive Medicine/Public Health (20)]. A record of significant accomplishments exists in the fields of diabetes, lipoproteins, hypertension, neurosciences, cardiovascular physiology, childhood oncology, immunology, infectious disease and vaccine development, pharmacological sciences, preventive medicine, health disparities, and outcomes research. Endowed professorships and continuing relationships with Memphis-area health care facilities like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare ensure that both basic science and applied clinical research stay focused on contemporary health topics. Non-clinical health care policy studies and related public health issues also are important to campus researchers

The UTHSC Memphis campus incorporates a College of Graduate Health Sciences, Colleges of Dentistry, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy, and has formal affiliations with eight major teaching hospitals in Memphis and with the Nashville Baptist Hospital and the Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. The affiliated teaching hospitals in Memphis include the Methodist University Hospital, Methodist Hospitals of Memphis, Regional Medical Center, Baptist Memorial Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Virtually all extramurally funded research is conducted in facilities that have either been constructed or extensively renovated within the past 15 years.  Some of the highlights include (1) complete renovation of 90,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space for Microbiology and Biochemistry in the Molecular Sciences Building; (2) completion of 80,000 sq. ft. of new and renovated space for the Department of Physiology in the Nash Building and new Nash Annex; (3) completion of over 87,000 sq. ft. in the new Link Building and Wittenborg Building for the Department of Anatomy and the Neuroscience Center of Excellence; (4) a new Cancer Research Building (CRB) that opened in 2007 with 101,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art laboratories, faculty offices, auditorium, meeting rooms, and a vivarium; (5) a Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL),funded from a $17.7 million NIH construction grant, completed in 2009 with 38,000 gross sq. ft. (GSF) of specialized research laboratory facilities and serves as a regional resource to enhance research on infectious diseases and support emergency preparedness efforts; (6) a new Pharmacy Building that opened in 2011 with 184,000 GSF and houses faculty offices, laboratories, meeting rooms, and state-of-the-art classrooms, with a 5th floor of the building being built out for expanded research capabilities and is expected to be completed by early 2015; and (7) a Translational Science Research Building (TSRB) with a total of 140,000 GSF, expected to be ready for occupancy in 2015, that will house faculty offices, laboratories, meeting rooms, the Molecular Resource Center and a vivarium, and will be physically attached to the CRB by an elevated walkway.

Specialized core resources are numerous. The Center of Excellence in Neurosciences, the Molecular Resource Center of Excellence, and the Center of Excellence in Pediatric Pharmacokinetics have enjoyed state of Tennessee support since fiscal year 1985-86, with current total funding of $1,515,459. Special laboratories include the Stout Neurosciences Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, an NIH-supported confocal laser microscopy facility, an automated hybridoma analysis and production facility, and an interactive laser cytometry laboratory. The UT Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) has raised considerable private funds in order to totally renovate five complete floors of the 930 Madison Plaza Building. Over 10,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space for HEI, funded by a grant from the National Eye Institute, was completed in April 2004.

The research environment in Memphis and surrounding areas presents ample opportunity for innovative contributions in basic, clinical and translational research. The population of Shelby County, where the UTHSC Memphis campus is located, is over one million; however, the UTHSC- affiliated teaching hospitals, which include more than 7,000 beds and 2,000 physicians, serve a population of more than three million people from counties in the five states contiguous to West Tennessee. In Shelby County, about 45% of residents are Caucasian, 40% are African-American (over 50% within the city), and about 10% are other minorities. The demographic composition of our environment and the vast clinical resources augur well for the development and growth of innovative patient-centered research with clinical and translational focus.