Research | School of Medicine

Meet some of our scientists

"The first thing you notice about research here is a sense of collaboration and team spirit."

- Daniel Marks, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, OHSU School of Medicine

Who we are and what we do

We are a vibrant community pursuing some of the biggest questions in health and  biomedical science. How can the brain better heal itself? How can we detect cancer earlier? How can vulnerable populations better access health care?

More than 3,500 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, research staff, residents/fellows and graduate and M.D. students conduct research in the school. We answer fundamental questions about how our body works. We unravel the mysteries of disease. We develop new treatments and therapies. We analyze how health systems and our everyday environment impact health.

We investigate today for a better tomorrow.

Our scientists attract $305 million in research funding, and our studies appear in top journals. We comprise the largest portion of OHSU’s research portfolio.

But the measure of our success is the difference we make in people's lives, from our fellow Oregonians to people around the world. To do that, the school works with colleagues across the university and around the world to create an intellectually rich and collegial environment where researchers can do their best work.

We invite you to discover research in the School of Medicine.

Why we're different

“The first thing you notice about research here is a sense of collaboration and team spirit,” said Daniel Marks, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, OHSU School of Medicine, and a faculty member since 2001. “There is a strong belief that every conversation holds the promise for a new joint project.” 

One such exchange led to a notable asthma study. By working at the nexus of several disciplines and by developing a new imaging technique using OHSU’s state-of-the-art confocal microscopes, the team of physician-scientists and basic scientists – led by Matthew Drake, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, OHSU School of Medicine – linked airway nerve density with asthma symptoms of greater severity. Now researchers are investigating whether these changes are preventable or reversible, offering fresh hope to the 235 million people worldwide living with asthma. 

“This work couldn’t have been done without outstanding collaboration within our team and without OHSU’s support for research, particularly for early-stage investigators,” said Dr. Drake. 

Our work with

  • Oregon State University
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Portland State University
  • University of Oregon
  • VA Portland Health Care System

and others fuel biomedical discovery in the Northwest. View strategic alliances.

For example, OHSU partnered with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to become one of three national centers established by the National Institutes of Health in cryo-electron microscopy. Researchers in the Pacific Northwest Center for Cryo-EM on the OHSU campus will study cells at the atomic level using four new powerful microscopes and train scientists nationwide.

Dean Sharon Anderson has prioritized support to sustain the work of physician scientists at OHSU and attract more.

The program is a comprehensive approach that provides support across the professional continuum, helping departments and units create robust start-up packages and support the work of junior scientists to reach the level of independent funding.

One recipient of the program Phoebe Lin, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology, OHSU School of Medicine, studies age-related macular degeneration. She used preliminary data partially generated by the school’s support for physician-scientists to earn a highly competitive Edward N. & Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation Award.

The School of Medicine’s more than 360 graduate students are an integral part of the research enterprise. View graduate programs.

They train in the latest methods and contribute in significant ways to research projects as they pursue their Ph.D. and master’s degrees. Top Ph.D. students receive highly competitive ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation financial awards.

Among many examples, Ph.D. student Daelyn Richards researches improved treatments for PKU, or phenylketonuria, a rare metabolic disorder, and has raised more than $180,000 toward PKU research. Her mentor, Cary Harding, M.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics, OHSU School of Medicine, led the development of a life-changing treatment for people with PKU, which received FDA approval in 2018.

Research at OHSU

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