The Keck School of Medicine of USC recently received the school’s highest ranking in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding since the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research began its annual ranking of medical schools in 2006. The rankings represent total NIH funding granted from Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016, with the Keck School receiving more than $140.8 million in NIH grants during this time.

The departments of ophthalmology and preventive medicine both ranked No. 2 nationally among the nation’s ophthalmology and preventive medicine departments receiving NIH funds.

Overall, seven Keck School of Medicine departments ranked within the top-20 NIH-funded in their respective departments:

Ophthalmology                    No. 2

Preventive Medicine           No. 2

Otolaryngology                    No. 11

Microbiology                        No. 17

Neurology                             No. 18

Urology                                  No. 18

Physiology                             No. 20

“Keck School of Medicine’s current positioning represents the most impressive ranking of NIH funding the school has received to date,” said Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, dean of the Keck School and director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute. “Our strong performance and rise in rankings reflect the groundbreaking work of our world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff and committed researchers, including the addition of 19 new principal investigators in the last year.”

The Keck School also ranked No. 1 in NIH funds received per principal investigator. A total of 158 principal investigators received an average of more than $891,000, securing the school’s top ranking.

“The Keck School of Medicine No. 1 ranking in NIH funds received per principal investigator demonstrates the strength of researchers that we attract at the Keck School,” said Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, vice dean for research at the Keck School. “These competitive grants allow us to further innovate and support our mission to improve the quality of life for individuals and society by promoting health, preventing and curing disease, advancing biomedical research and educating tomorrow’s physicians and scientists.”

The full 2016 Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research NIH rankings can be found at

— Cynthia Smith