From Oregon Investment Guide 2024

How Oregon Health & Science University is TRANSFORMING PATIENT CARE

Health and wellness get a boost in Oregon.

OHSU received nearly $600 million in research funding in 2023.
Photo courtesy of OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks


ighlighted by CBRE as one of the top 25 U.S. metros for life sciences employment, Portland’s biotech industry has experienced consistent growth in recent years. From 2016 to 2021, the sector saw a notable 15.2% surge in employment, bringing the metro’s total number of researchers to 5,381.

“The life sciences sector has been slowly expanding in the Portland metro for several years now,” said CBRE Portland’s Senior Vice President Kristin Hammond in a statement. “With major local institutions like Oregon Health & Science University investing in research, I expect more success stories to emerge in the years to come.”


The life sciences sector has been slowly expanding in the Portland Metro for several years now.
— Kristin Hammond, Senior Vice President, CBRE Portland


From creating the first successful artificial heart value to developing a vaccine candidate for HIV, Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) groundbreaking discoveries are revolutionizing the way diseases are treated across a range of specialties. Cancer, immunology, infectious diseases, neurological diseases, child health and development, and ophthalmology are just a few of the many fields in which OHSU researchers are pioneering innovative treatments.

In fiscal year 2023, the university received record research funding of nearly $600 million to support various projects related to human health. Approximately 58% of that funding, totaling $343.5 million, was sourced from the National Institutes of Health. Contributions from industry partners, such as pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers sponsoring clinical trials, amounted to $129.3 million, with the remaining portion of the funding coming from federal agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations and the state of Oregon.

Revolutionary Research
Appointed a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center in 1997, OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute is renowned for its research, personalized patient care and education programs. Each year, it treats around 6,000 cancer patients and conducts about 1,400 research projects, including more than 400 clinical trials.

In 2023, the Knight Cancer Institute received more than $126 million in research funding, the largest share of any OHSU institute.

During the past year, the Institute has embarked on several significant projects aimed at advancing cancer detection, treatment and clinical trials. One of the prominent research areas was biofabrication. Supported by a $1 million grant, researchers at the newly formed Knight Cancer Precision Biofabrication Hub are using lab-grown organoids and 3D-printed tissue models to study cancer development and behavior. This innovative approach allows scientists to replicate the complexity of human organs, providing a more accurate model for studying how cancers grow and turn life-threatening. This new methodology is particularly important due to the limitations of using animal models.

Among other projects, scientists at the Precision Biofabrication Hub have also developed a bone replacement material that can stimulate bone regeneration. This discovery has the potential to treat bone injuries without invasive surgeries or having to harvest bone from another anatomic site.

Another focus area for the Knight Cancer Institute is improving inclusivity in cancer clinical trials. Spearheaded by Dr. Eneida Nemecek, the institute received a $625,000 grant from Genentech’s Health Equity & Diversity in STEM Innovation Fund to increase access to clinical trials for Hispanic and Latino communities.

OHSU’s commitment to diversifying the medical field reaches into its training programs as well.

Supported by the Knight Cancer Institute and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Ted R. Lilley Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Program offers Portland-area high school students who come from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain insight and hands-on experience in bioscience. Paired with a mentor, participants spend the paid eight-week internship learning research techniques, attending workshops and seminars, and networking. Ultimately, this program aims to increase the number of individuals from diverse backgrounds pursuing careers in cancer research and other scientific disciplines.

Building for Better Health
Alongside OHSU’s mission to improve care, the university is equally dedicated to improving access as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the nation were faced with bed shortages. To increase capacity, OHSU’s hospital, which is already the largest hospital in Oregon, is currently undergoing a major expansion.  

Backed by a $650 million investment, OHSU is constructing a new 14-story, 538,000-sq.-ft. building on its Marquam Hill campus. Located on the former School of Dentistry site, this expansion is expected to add 128 patient beds, bringing the hospital’s total number of beds to over 750. OHSU also plans to move its cancer and complex surgery services to the new building, creating more space in Kohler Pavilion for brain and heart care.

In May, OHSU received approval from the Portland Design Commission to add an additional 183,000 sq. ft. to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Portland Business Journal reports that the project is estimated to cost $330 million.

Lindsay Lopp
Associate Editor of Site Selection magazine

Lindsay Lopp joined Conway Data in 2023. She is the assistant editor of the company's Custom Content division and regularly contributes to Site Selection magazine. In 2021, she graduated from Pratt Institute with her BFA in Creative Writing and is currently completing her MFA in Popular Fiction and Publishing at Emerson College.

Site Selection online is a worldwide service of Conway Data, Inc. ©1983-2024, all rights reserved. Data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current. To unsubscribe from our print magazine, contact Julie Clarke. For general inquiries, visit our contact page. For technical inquiries contact the Webmaster.