UofSC partnership strengthens state’s biomedical footprint

The University of South Carolina is helping faculty and students at colleges and universities across the state engage in biomedical research projects. The program is part of a five-year, $18 million federal South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) grant designed to strengthen the biomedical research capacity in the Palmetto State and boost the number of graduates working in the field.

Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) program provides resources to 23 states, plus Puerto Rico, to strengthen their biomedical research capacity. UofSC administers the state's program in partnership with Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and 10 non-research oriented universities. 

SC INBRE provides faculty grants, training, resources and networking opportunities to faculty members and students interested in biomedical research projects. In all, 72 faculty and nearly 200 students will be served by the INBRE program each year, for the next five years. USC has been the recipient of previous INBRE grants totaling $39 million. The first grant was awarded to SC in 2001 and renewed in 2005, under the direction of Dr. John Baynes at UofSC's School of Medicine. Dr. Lucia Pirisi-Creek of the School of Medicine took over the role of SC INBRE as lead researcher and program director when Baynes retired in 2006, and directed the program through two additional competitive renewals in 2010 and 2015.

The SC INBRE program will serve faculty and students at the following Institutions: Claflin University, Coastal Carolina University, The College of Charleston, Furman University, Converse College, Francis Marion University, Presbyterian College, South Carolina State University, Winthrop University and USC Aiken. Also participating as  are Anderson University, Benedict College, Lander University and USC Beaufort.

Pirisi-Creek said the program is a huge benefit to all member institutions, and in particular to the four-year institutions that lack the resources to conduct intensive biomedical research.

“At research-intensive Universities such as UofSC, MUSC and Clemson, students have many opportunities to conduct an array of science-based research. But at many other schools in the state, that hasn’t always been possible,” Pirisi-Creek said. “This program allows undergraduate students to experience biomedical science hands-on, and develop the problem-solving skills necessary to conduct research. The experience is invaluable not only to students who plan to enter careers in science and/or medicine, but to all students, no matter what area they choose to pursue after graduation.” 

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