UC Davis Health neuroscientists are among some of the best funded in the nation, according to data from the National Institutes of Health.

Charles DeCarli, director of UC Davis Alzheimer's Center
Charles DeCarli, director of UC Davis Alzheimer's Center

All told, UC Davis ranks 18thnationally in the neurosciences funding category with $79.6 million in grants in fiscal year 2017, including nearly $16.5 million for Department of Neurology research.

The total awards for UC Davis represent a 220% growth in NIH funding since 2007.

In the Alzheimer’s disease category, in which more than 2,400 grants were awarded nationally in fiscal year 2017, Charles DeCarli, director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Center, received the second largest grant, $14.7 million, to study Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular injury in Hispanics. Overall, UC Davis Health received nearly $23 million for Alzheimer’s disease research, including $15.5 million for DeCarli’s work.

“There are about 5.7 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease today, and that number is projected to grow rapidly as the older American population grows,” DeCarli said. “Research into the causes of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is essential to better understand and ultimately prevent and treat these devastating and often deadly diseases. We are gratified that UC Davis Health is a leader in Alzheimer’s disease research so we can address it.”

In the autism category, UC Davis Health ranked first in the U.S. for research funding, with more than $18 million. The UC Davis MIND Institute, with faculty from 16 UC Davis departments and schools, is an international leader in research into autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Leonard AbbedutoLeonard Abbeduto

The three largest autism research projects at the MIND Institute include the $12 million Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) grant, one of five in the nation, to create a “Center for the Development of Phenotype-based Treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The project is led by David Amaral, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The other top autism grants, both nearly $2.5 million, were awarded for “Pre-adolescent and late-adolescent follow-up of the CHARGE study children,” led by Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, and “Intervention effects of intensity and delivery style for toddlers with ASD,” led by Sally Rogers, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, each at nearly $2.5 million.

“The increasing prevalence of autism, now estimated at 1 in 59 children, has increased the sense of urgency among our investigators,” Abbeduto said. “The grants led by MIND Institute investigators range from basic neuroscience projects aimed at understanding the causes of autism and its various manifestations to more applied projects developing new treatments designed to reduce the disability associated with autism. This type of multi-pronged, multidisciplinary approach is essential to bring help and improve quality of life for individuals with autism and their families.”