University of South Carolina

Pharmacy ranked No. 3 in percent of faculty funded

The S.C. College of Pharmacy faculty is one of the most productive in the country, judging by the success of its research faculty in getting National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Recently released rankings by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy show the college to be No. 3 nationally in percent of research faculty with NIH funding. NIH funding is a common yardstick for measuring excellence in academic quality. The S.C. College of Pharmacy (SCCP) ranked No. 17 overall in the country among more than 120 colleges of pharmacy.

Joe DiPiro
Joe DiPiro

“The creation of the S.C. College of Pharmacy was intended to increase productivity, leverage resources and ultimately enhance quality to be on par with the best pharmacy colleges in the country,” said SCCP's executive dean Joseph T. DiPiro. “Successful researchers are at the forefront of knowledge, and they bring that knowledge to the classroom, giving our students a better education. Our productivity matches the best in the United States, and colleges we compare favorably with now reflect how high the bar has been raised … and we’ll keep raising it.”

Since 2005, when the college was created by the integration of the pharmacy colleges at the University of South Carolina (USC) and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the SCCP has climbed steadily in NIH funding. At No. 17, the SCCP is now ranked ahead of many nationally-recognized pharmacy programs, including Ohio State, Florida, Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Purdue.

The success of the college's research faculty is a significant contributor; the only programs in the country with a higher percent of Ph.D. faculty with NIH funding than the SCCP are the University of California-San Diego and the University of California-San Francisco, which is tops overall. More than 50 percent of SCCP’s research faculty is funded.

“We have recruited and retained a highly motivated, highly successful, and collegial group of research faculty,” said Rick Schnellmann, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences. “Their work plows new ground, much of which has a chance to be rich in discovery that leads to new science. I think the NIH recognizes that and is supportive because the return on the investment could be significant.”

Key researchers at the college include:

Schnellmann, whose research foci are directed towards understanding the signaling pathways of cell injury, death (apoptosis and necrosis) in epithelial and cancer cells, and regeneration of epithelial cells following injury.

Kim Creek, vice chair of the PBS department, whose work on health disparities includes being co-PI on a grant to fund a Center of Excellence in the Social Promotion of Health Equity Research, Education and Community Engagement.

Patrick Woster, a new South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) endowed chair in drug discovery, whose primary research program involves the synthesis and evaluation of polyamine-containing analogues as potential therapeutic agents.

John Lemasters, CoEE endowed chair for cell injury, death and regeneration, whose research interests concern the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying hypoxic and toxic injury to liver and heart cells and organs stored for transplantation surgery.

Charles Smith, Charles and Carol Cooper Chair in Pharmacy, whose main interests relate to cancer pharmacology, with focus on studying the molecular mechanisms of action of established and experimental anticancer drugs and on designing and developing new drugs against novel molecular targets. 

Posted: 02/24/11 @ 2:00 PM | Updated: 02/24/11 @ 2:16 PM | Permalink