Author:McGregor, Nick
Position:Major Milestone

In the early days, it was vocal music songbooks and patents for folding cots that fulfilled the University of Utah's original charter to advance knowledge through the pursuit of "all useful fine arts and sciences."

1946 Then came researcher Maxwell Wintrobe, who in 1946 furthered the study of muscular dystrophy after receiving the nation's first National Institute of Health grant.

1966 By the second half of the 20th century, U of U's research enterprise was making even bigger national headlines. In 1966, chemist Henry Eyring's transition state theory earned him the National Medal of Science.

1969 Three years later, the university's computer science department claimed the fourth node on ARPANET, the precursor to the World Wide Web.

1982 In 1982, surgeon William DeVries made history by implanting the first permanent artificial heart in a patient.

1994 Twelve years later, researchers Lisa Cannon-Albright and Mark Skolnick cloned the breast cancer gene BRCA1.

2007 And in 2007, molecular geneticist Mario Capecchi made an international splash for Utah after winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of a way to deactivate genes in mice.

That illustrious research success continues today:

Last year, the University of Utah reached a new milestone by surpassing $500 million in total research awards for the first time ever. "This has been an incredible year, and we couldn't have done it without the history that's come before us," says Andrew Weyrich, PhD, Vice President of Research. "Since our inception in 1850, we've been outstanding across all avenues of research, and that diverse history has served as a platform for today's success." University of Utah's research total of $515 million in fiscal year 2018 represents more than 40 percent growth in five years, with significant increases in federal, industrial, and foundational awards. That aligns with the university's investment in faculty growth, as well: the number of major faculty awards and prizes rose nearly four-fold, from 246 in 2012 to 880 in 2017.

"By all indicators, we're on an upward trajectory that will continue to grow," Weyrich says. "That's because we're all striving for research excellence--faculty, staff, investigators, and their students." Weyrich chalks the accomplishments up to multiple factors: the university's desire to innovate and discover, collaborations among different colleges and departments, and the arrival in 2018 of President Ruth V. Watkins, the...

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