UCSF among top 10 nationally in NIH research funding for psychiatry

Kheirbek in lab with graduate students

Mazen Kheirbek, PhD (left), seen here working in his lab on the Mission Bay campus, was one of four UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty members to be included in the top ten percent of NIH research fund recipients for FY2021.  [Photo: Noah Berger/UCSF]

The UC San Francisco Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences was ranked third among departments at public institutions and 10th among all recipients in psychiatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2021, according to annual figures released by the independent Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR).

Last year, NIH awarded more than $30 million for projects led by 45 researchers within the department, representing an 18 percent increase over the $25.5 million received in FY2020. Four UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty members—Kristine Yaffe, MD; Elissa Epel, PhD; Mazen Kheirbek, PhD; and John L.R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD—placed in the top ten percent and a total of ten in the top quarter of all psychiatric researchers nationally. Over the most recent five-year period (FY2017-FY2021), UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences researchers have been awarded more than $135 million in NIH grants and contracts.

NIH funding is one of the key mechanisms for providing financial support for basic, clinical, and translational research within the department. BRIMR’s figures, however, do not include research awards from other government agencies and non-government institutions, or NIH-awarded projects where department members are contributing to research efforts and receiving funds, but are not designated as a primary principal investigator. BRIMR's rankings also do not factor in the $4.1 million in funds awarded last year by NIH for research conducted by department faculty members through the Northern California Institute for Research and Education (NCIRE).

UCSF schools lead their fields again in research funding

Overall, the university received over $709 million in contracts and grants awarded to researchers in its four schools—Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy—and UCSF’s Graduate Division. UCSF’s Schools of Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy were top among their peers nationwide in NIH funding for biomedical research and graduate-level training, while the School of Medicine ranked second with $629.6 million in funding. In addition, the university as a whole received the most NIH funds of any public university for the 15th year in a row, and fourth most among all institutions.

“This NIH funding has helped UCSF researchers gain new fundamental insights in biology, develop new therapies for intractable diseases, and address health inequities,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “We are proud of our researchers’ work and the promise it offers for vulnerable individuals in California and throughout the world.”

Further coverage

About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.

The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neurology, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

About UCSF

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.