Today is Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2018


Historical Breakthroughs

The UC College of Medicine has a rich history of discovery and innovation. Among many things, faculty here are credited with:

  • Development of the first live, attenuated polio vaccine (Albert Sabin, MD, 1960s)
  • Creation of the first heart-lung machine (Samuel Kaplan, MD, 1951)
  • First use of the YAG laser for vaporizing previously inoperable brain tumors (John Tew, MD, 1984)
  • Identification of the protein vital for lungs to properly function but lacking in babies born early and the later development of a treatment for these immature lungs (Jeffrey Whitsett, MD). 

UC scientists working at the College of Medicine are among the nation’s pioneers in stroke treatment studies and contributed to the development of NovoSeven, a recombinant clotting factor for the treatment of brain hemorrhage caused by stroke.

And College of Medicine scientists are national leaders for their study on the health effects of lead in children. 

In 1938, UC cancer researcher and pharmacologist E.W. Wallace was among the country's first 10 awardees from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which has since become a major supplier of university research funding.

Significant Contributions to Medicine

   First Live, Attenuated Polio Vaccine    First Heart-Lung Machine   
  The UC Academic Health Center is probably best known for the development of the first live, attenuated polio vaccine. Albert B. Sabin, MD, worked on the project both at UC and the affiliated Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Approved for use in the United States in the late 1960s, the vaccine has saved untold millions around the world from paralytic polio and death.   Leland Clark, PhDIn 1951, cardiologist Samuel Kaplan, MD, chemist Leland Clark, PhD, and surgery professor James Helmsworth, MD, developed the world’s first functional heart-lung machine, located at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.   
  UC Stroke Team Pioneers Treatment 
   Health Effects of Lead in Children  
  Brain scans.The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team at UC is among the nation’s pioneers in tPA studies and established a protocol for quick diagnosis and treatment. UC scientists also contributed to the development of NovoSeven, a recombinant clotting factor for the treatment of brain hemorrhage caused by stroke.   Public playground with crumbling lead-based paint.UC was the first university-based environmental research facility to become nationally known for its studies of the health effects of lead in children, and our department of environmental health was one of the first to test a chelation drug that effectively removed high lead levels from the bloodstream.  
  Study of Birth Defects Pioneered    Heart Failure Gene Identified  
  Book, “Congenital Malformations,' by Josef Warkany, MD.The late pediatrics professor Josef Warkany, MD, is regarded as the “father of teratology” (the biological study of birth defects), and his book “Congenital Malformations” (1981) is considered a medical classic, as it was the first to associate causes, not mere chance, with birth defects   Dimensional image of a heart.A UC team received international attention in 2002 when it identified two genes that convey a risk of heart failure 10 times greater than that faced by people who do not carry the gene, and that by far the greater risk was in African-Americans.  
  Development of Benadryl 
  Saving Preemies   
  George Rieveschl, PhD, discovered Benadryl. The popular antihistamine marketed as Benadryl was developed at UC by the late professor George Rieveschl, PhD.   Baby in NICU.UC pediatrics professor Jeffrey Whitsett, MD, identified a protein that was both vital for lungs to operate and lacking in babies born early, which led to a routine treatment for immature lungs and respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.  
  Sniffing Out Disease 
  First Residency Programs
  Robert Frank, PhDUC researchers Robert Frank, PhD, and Robert Gesteland, PhD, invented a test to measure how well a person can detect an odor, which in turn can flag brain damage early in the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.   UC physician and emergency medicine resident.UC had the first emergency medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation residency programs in the United States. UC also was one of the first in the United States to introduce a family practice residency program, thus pioneering the return of the “family doctor” to U.S. health-care delivery.  
  Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure    First Medical Laser Lab  
  Imaging of the heart.In 1994 and 1995, Michael Bottorf, PharmD, of UC’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, helped develop national and state guidelines for the treatment of heart failure.   UC's college gate on medical campus.The late dermatology professor Leon Goldman, MD, considered the “father of laser medicine,” opened the country’s first medical laser laboratory at UC in 1961.  
  First YAG Laser Used   Organ Transplant Discovery   
  John Tew, MDIn 1984, neurosurgery professor John Tew, MD. became the country’s first surgeon to receive FDA approval to use the YAG laser to vaporize previously inoperable brain tumors.   Organ TransplantIn 1989, UC researchers discovered that the drug ketoconazole made cyclosporin work more effectively, lowering the amount needed to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ.  
  Pioneering Gene Therapy   Cancer Gene Discoveries  
  Ronald Warnick, MDIn 1990, under the direction of neurosurgeon Ronald Warnick, MD, UC became one of the first four centers in the country to use gene therapy for the treatment of recurring brain tumors.   Cancer cellsIn 1995, UC researchers isolated a gene that leads to an increased risk of colon cancer, which may lead to understanding how people inherit a predisposition to the disease.  



Annual Research Data

Total dollars awarded (FY2013)
(Direct and indirect)
UC College of Medicine: $89,410,018
Cincinnati Children’s: $171,197,733 *

Number of Grants Awarded (FY2013)
UC College of Medicine: 463
Cincinnati Children’s: 831*

*Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is included here because awards to faculty in UC’s pediatrics department run through the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.