UCSF School of Pharmacy leads in NIH funding for the 41st straight year

Total represents 60 percent increase over 2019

For the 41st year in a row, the UCSF School of Pharmacy received more research funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than any other pharmacy school in the country.

The School’s grants from the agency in 2020, summing to $40,905,190, were more than the total grants earned by the next two highest-earning schools—the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill—combined. The total is a $15 million increase from 2019.

The funds, spread across the School’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, and Department of Clinical Pharmacy, fueled discovery science, fought disease, and improved the delivery of health care. The UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI), an Organized Research Unit in the School, also brought in millions in additional NIH funds.

“In a year where public health, injustice, and COVID were top of mind, it’s gratifying to know UCSF once again received the most NIH funding of any pharmacy school,” said B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. “This continued success will enable our faculty to unlock secrets of science and improve lives.”

UCSF as a whole took in $685,608,202 in NIH grants in 2020.

Top School recipients of NIH funds

Esteban Burchard, PhD, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, $4,323,665

Esteban Burchard, PhD, studies the genetic determinants of asthma, with a current focus on viral and environmental risk factors for asthma in minority children, as well as drug responses in children with asthma.

Nadav Ahituv, PhD, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, $2,390,772

Nadav Ahituv, PhD, is probing non-coding DNA—the DNA in our chromosomes that doesn’t make up our genes—to learn more about its functions, with a recent emphasis on psychiatric illness.

Bo Huang, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, $1,709,923

Bo Huang, PhD, is using modern microscopy techniques to track the movement of proteins inside of cells, shedding light on how these processes influence cell biology.

Zev Gartner, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, $1,510,954

Zev Gartner, PhD, is investigating the organization of cells within tissues to better understand processes like cancer and tissue repair.

Adam Renslo, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, $1,249,567

Adam Renslo, PhD, is using novel chemical methods to improve drug delivery, discover drug candidates for the treatment of malaria, and develop tools for studying the behavior of individual proteins.

QBI Director spearheads collaborations near and far to tackle COVID-19

Nevan Krogan, PhD, founded the UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) five years ago with the goal of breaking down silos between the scientific disciplines to speed vital research. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in late February, the collaborations forged by Krogan and QBI to work on diseases like Zika and dengue were well-poised to investigate and combat the virus behind the pandemic.

Throughout the year, these collaborations, spanning UCSF and institutions around the world, successfully identified a number of promising drug candidates for the treatment of COVID-19, all based on insights into the molecular nature of the viral infection. These findings are a testament to the impact of team-based discovery and set the stage for nimbly addressing future health crises.

In 2020, Krogan and QBI brought in a total of $13,162,178 in NIH funds to support this work as well as additional, ongoing, collaborative projects addressing HIV, psychiatric illness, and cancer.


School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.