Annual Report 2020

Pioneering Solutions

"In the face of widespread uncertainty, researchers across Boston University have made stunning progress in a highly collaborative effort to understand, explain, and solve the problems we face and introduce new ways of thinking about our future," says Gloria Waters, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research.

Read more

Innovative Research

Ibram X. Kendi, leading scholar of racism, launches BU Center for Antiracist Research

Leading scholar and historian of racism Ibram X. Kendi launched the BU Center for Antiracist Research when he joined the University on July 1. The center’s mission is “to solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice.”

In deadly COVID-19 lung inflammation, BU researchers discover a culprit in NFkB pathway

Scientists at BU's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) and the Center for Regenerative Medicine discovered a pathway that sets the lungs ablaze with inflammation, launching a search for new therapeutics that could block this process.

Comparing how media around the world frames news about the pandemic

BU researchers specializing in communication and computer science joined forces to use machine learning to analyze evolving news trends in countries hard-hit by coronavirus to shed light on how widely circulated media outlets are framing the crisis.

Ticks and mosquitoes, infectious disease carriers, are expanding their range

As global temperatures continue to rise and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases spike in more places, BU scientists say that vector-borne diseases from ticks and mosquitoes will become more prevalent as a result of climate change and other factors.

Could the distribution of galaxies reveal the universe’s invisible web of dark matter?

BU astronomers have found that large blue galaxies are surrounded by a lopsided array of smaller satellite galaxies orbiting them. The findings could have important implications for our understanding of dark matter.

Why phototherapy will be the next frontier in combating antibiotic resistance

Using photolysis, a process by which molecules are broken down by light, a team of BU engineers have developed a new, light-based weapon in the fight against antibiotic-resistant pathogens like MRSA.

Experiencing racism may damage memory, cognition

Data from the ongoing Black Women’s Health Study, launched in 1995 out of BU's Slone Epidemiology Center to follow 59,000 African American women, reveals a link between exposure to racism and lower cognitive function later in life.

BU researchers probe pandemic’s impact on vulnerable urban populations

Five studies funded by the University’s Initiative on Cities investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in major cities, including its effects on low-level policing and racial inequities in rates of police-initiated interactions.

Embracing the kaleidoscopic identities of marginalized voices

A College of Fine Arts professor researched how a person’s identity and position in society impact our voices: how voices develop, how voices are received by listeners, and what we can do to listen more equitably.

Why Black women face more health risks before, during, and after pregnancy

Researchers at BU are working to eliminate racial disparities in maternal health by unpacking the effects of institutionalized racism and advocating for a lifetime of care.

Weining Lu, kidney researcher, named BU Innovator of the Year

A BU professor of medicine is honored for his research and collaboration with Pfizer, which led to the development of a potential new drug for chronic kidney disease.

Are we “brain washed” during sleep?

New BU study reveals the first-ever images of cerebrospinal fluid washing in and out of the brain during sleep, a breakthrough with the potential for insights about a variety of neurological and psychological disorders.

Fast Facts


Total Research Awards in FY2020


Publications by BU Faculty in 2019


1 of 65 Members of the

Award Activity in Millions

Note: The figure for FY2004 includes a substantial award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the construction of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL). The figure for FY2010 includes funding received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).


John Thornton and Linda Heywood elected to AAAS

Six BU researchers received NSF CAREER awards

Xin Zhang elected to National Academy of Inventors

Mo Khalil named 2020 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow by DOD

Ksenia Bravaya awarded Sloan Research Fellowship

Roscoe Giles elected to AAAS

BU COVID Testing Lab

Meet the Team behind BU’s COVID-19 Testing Lab

Knowing BU’s research labs and residential learning communities were at stake, a group of BU College of Engineering faculty, staff, and students raced against the clock to assemble a one-of-a-kind,?6,000-test-per-day COVID-19 testing facility from scratch.

Watch the video

Selected Grants

Boston University is

Pioneering Solutions

See how