LA BioMed is affiliated with both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. It draws on a catchment area of about 3 million residents, 550,000 whom are below the poverty level. LA BioMed is actively involved in teaching about one-half of UCLA medical students. The institute has an annual budget of over $73 million ($65 million from research grants and contracts) and supports more than 140 investigators conducting over 1,000 research studies in areas such as emerging infections, cancer, women's health, male reproductive health, vaccine research, neonatology, autoimmune diseases, cardiology, neurosurgery, and genetics. Since 1952, physician-scientists at Harbor-LA BioMed have made major contributions to the advancement of medicine, including the modern cholesterol test, the newborn thyroid deficiency screening test (now used for every U.S. newborn), a screening procedure for Tay-Sachs disease that has dramatically diminished the incidence rates nationwide and worldwide, and a genetically engineered enzyme replacement for Mucopolysaccharidosis.
The General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) at LA BioMed has been continuously funded since 1968 and supports the multidisciplinary research of a large cadre of well-funded and productive investigators. Their publication rate is one of the highest among GCRCs nationwide. In 2002, the outpatient clinical research unit opened an additional 5,500 square feet for research, with an adjoining 2,000-square-foot conference room for research education-related activities. Several Harbor-UCLA research centers have their administrative home at LA BioMed, creating an expanded support base for promoting clinical and translational research. Current centers include the Emerging Infection Center, Perinatal Research Center, Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Center, Liu Center for Pulmonary Hypertension Research, Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center, CT Reading Center, HIV Medicine Research Center, UCLA Center for Vaccine Research, and Male Reproductive Center, which is a World Health Organization-collaborating Center for Research in Reproduction and a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded Contraceptive Clinical Trial Network Center (male area).
The total clinical research space available at LA BioMed is 25,000 square feet. The institute recently acquired major equipment (e.g., real-time PCR, laser capture microdissector, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry [LS-MSMS], matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-off light [MALDI-TOF] mass spectrometer) for scientific and technical support of LA BioMed investigators. Since 1998, LA BioMed, in partnership with California State University Dominguez Hills, has trained underrepresented students in biomedical research. These National Institute of General Medical Sciences-funded programs pair underrepresented undergraduate and master's-level students in biology with well-funded mentors at Harbor-LA BioMed. Many of these students have since applied and been admitted to PhD programs throughout the country.