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Arnold School reaches new level of research support

Record funding allows faculty to conduct critical work

The Arnold School of Public Health set a school record for research funding last fiscal year (2020-21), enabling faculty to conduct impactful research and continue to gain national recognition for their work.

Why it matters:

  • Grant funding enables Arnold School faculty to conduct innovative research in such areas as oceans and human health, stroke recovery, COVID-19, diabetes, nutrition, exercise science, HIV and other important public health areas.
  • The total of $43.5 million eclipses the previous record of $38.3 million from 2018-19. The Arnold School’s research funding has risen dramatically over the past decade.


  • The Arnold School has six departments. Faculty across all departments and numerous disciplines contributed to the milestone.
  • Arnold School researchers also totaled a record 650 articles in research publications in 2020, many in top-tier journals. Such peer-reviewed publications contribute to the national attention that its faculty is receiving.

Reaching this funding milestone mirrors the enthusiasm and pursuit of excellence that Arnold School faculty demonstrate every day.

Alan Decho, associate dean for research

Real-world results:

Among the many noteworthy projects that exemplify the wide-ranging expertise of the school’s researchers:

  • Funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS), an Oceans and Human Health Center project led by Geoff Scott studies natural disease-causing bacteria, called Vibrios, known to occur in southern coastal areas but now extending north. They frequently inhabit the seafood we eat. The research is geared toward understanding how climate change affects Vibrio bugs and their harmful potential to certain seafood and humans who consume the seafood.
  • Funded by the National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH/NIDCD), the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery (C-STAR) led by Julius Fridriksson is conducting a large, multidisciplinary study addressing the effects of stroke on the human brain. The focus is to understand how stroke impairs the speech process and what steps can be taken to facilitate potential recovery of speech.
  • University of South Carolina researchers quickly organized to help guide the university, state and nation in how to rapidly detect and predict emerging COVID-19 hotspots. Arnold School researcher Melissa Nolan’s work set up population immunity projections to inform public health officials’ and policymakers’ decisions. Sean Norman’s work examined the presence of COVID-19 within key areas of the university wastewater system, helping to reduce the spread of the virus on campus and keep infection rates low.

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