Skip to Main Content

Dr. James Chappell

  • sam patrick posted an article
    LaBerge is third inductee into SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame see more

    Martine LaBerge of Clemson University is the newest recipient of the South Carolina Life Sciences Hall of Fame Award, the latest in a string of high honors recognizing her contributions to the bioengineering community in the state and beyond.

    LaBerge, who joined Clemson in 1990, has served as chair of the Department of Bioengineering for 20 years. She is the Hall of Fame’s third member, joining former South Carolina Secretary of State Bobby Hitt and Harris Pastides, who was University of South Carolina president from 2008-2019 and recently returned as interim president.

    A crowd of family, friends and supporters joined LaBerge in Charleston on Wednesday to help her celebrate at SCBIO 2022–The Life Sciences Conference of South Carolina.

    “It is an honor to be mentioned alongside Secretary Hitt and President Pastides,” LaBerge said. “While the award bears my name, it represents a group achievement. The life sciences industry has grown in this state and is continuing to expand. It takes a team to make that happen.”

    The life sciences industry has grown 1.7% annually since 2005 and has an annual impact exceeding $25.7 billion, according to SCBIO. The state has more than 1,030 life sciences firms, and the industry accounts for more than 87,000 jobs, SCBIO reported. It has grown more than 42% in South Carolina since 2017.

    James Chappell, executive director of SCBIO, said LaBerge’s Hall of Fame Award is well earned.

    “For more than 30 years, Dr. LaBerge has been building communities of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who have been crucial in advancing the life sciences industry in South Carolina,” Chappell said. “Under her stewardship, Clemson’s bioengineering program is producing globally competitive graduates who are renowned for their professional and technical skills. The state is fortunate that she chose to establish her career here.”

    The Hall of Fame Award was initiated in 2018 to recognize individuals “for extraordinary and notable achievements over an extended period in developing, advancing, and even transforming South Carolina’s life sciences industry,” according to SCBIO.

    “Hall of Fame honorees must demonstrate business excellence and acumen, courageous thinking and action, vision and innovation, inspiring leadership, and community mindedness, while serving as an aspirational role model for those who follow.”

    LaBerge received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the University of Montreal in Quebec and did postdoctoral work at the University of Waterloo in Ontario before joining Clemson as an assistant professor in 1990.

    She rose through the ranks, became interim department chair in 2002 and had the interim scrubbed from her title two years later.

    LaBerge’s colleagues credit her with advancing bioengineering technology and creating interdisciplinary partnerships of scholars, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to foster innovation. She has helped Clemson establish and strengthen strategic partnerships with the likes of Arthrex, Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina.

    As chair, LaBerge played a central role in establishing new bioengineering facilities, including the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInC) in Greenville. She also oversaw completion of a 29,000-square-foot annex that expanded the Rhodes Engineering Research Center on Clemson’s main campus.

    Her support was instrumental in establishing two separate Centers of Biomedical Excellence at Clemson, both funded with multi-million-dollar grants from the National Institutes of Health.

    LaBerge has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations, including president of the Society of Biomaterials, member of the Biomedical Engineering Society Board of Directors and chair of the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering in the U.S. and Canada.

    In the past four years, LaBerge’s peers have honored her with multiple honors recognizing accomplishments throughout her career, including:

    • InnoVision’s Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Clemson University Commission on Women’s Gender Equity Champion Award
    • The Biomedical Engineering Society’s Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award
    • Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) Spotlight Award
    • Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society

      Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said LaBerge is an exemplary leader and highly deserving of her recognition.

      “Dr. LaBerge leads by example with dedication, passion and enthusiasm,” he said. “She works hard and inspires others to do the same, and her leadership has been key in making the Department of Bioengineering a distinguished hub of education and research that creates the innovators and leaders of the future. I offer her my wholehearted congratulations on all her success.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Experts from Clemson, Rymedi, Diversified Medical and SCBIO address SC Manufacturing Conference see more

    Compliments of GSA Business Report

    Before leaving his post at Louisiana Economic Development, South Carolina native James Chappell was a skeptic.

    “Every state thinks they are going to succeed in life sciences,” Chappell said, unsure whether the Palmetto State has what it takes. “I started kind of doing my research, and I was blown away with all the things that have happened in South Carolina since I left, specifically in the life sciences industry. I was even more blown away by the last few days here and meeting a lot of people on this stage and the companies that have had unbelievable success, some in just a couple of years. I knew I made the right decision.”

    The new SCBIO chief gestured to other life science leaders from around the state on the stage with him Thursday at the S.C. Manufacturing Conference and Expo: Rymedi’s David Stefanich, Clemson University’s Cynthia Young and Diversified Medical Healthcare’s Austin Shirley.

    “Do you remember when BMW came to South Carolina? Do you remember before Boeing?” Chappell asked. “That’s what’s happening now, but it’s in the life sciences. Let’s look at that trend. If we keep doing the job that we should be doing, we can look back in 10 or 20 years, and the way people think about those manufacturers, they’ll think about the life sciences.”

    Read the full story here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Goal to “take South Carolina life sciences to an entirely new level” see more

    Following a nationwide search that targeted 200 candidates in 39 states and resulted in 116 total applications from across the country, the Board of Directors of SCBIO has named James Chappell, an executive with Louisiana Economic Development, as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.

    Dr. Chappell, whose career also includes time with Chartic Management Consulting in Boston, joined Louisiana Economic Development (LED) in 2013 and held positions of increasing responsibility at the organization including Executive Director of State Economic Competitiveness before being named Executive Director of Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship for the organization in 2021.

    During his tenure at LED, Dr. Chappell’s numerous successes included designing and implementing the state’s $100 million venture capital and small business funds, developing strategies to recruit globally recognized companies to the state , and joining the Louisiana MediFund board to develop strategies to increase the biosciences and healthcare industries in Louisiana. He also collaborated with bioscience and technology advocates to improve incentives to promote growth in the bioscience and technology industries.

    Dr Chappell earned his B.S. and M.S. in Plant Environmental Sciences from Clemson University, his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Stem Cell Biology focusing on cancer and diabetes from Harvard Medical School. A three-year varsity football letterman while at Clemson, he is married with two children. He will begin his new role with SCBIO starting November 8, 2021.

    “SCBIO and South Carolina life sciences are excited to welcome James to lead this dynamic and forward-looking industry organization, and to help our hundreds of life sciences companies and thousands of employees and innovators take it to an entirely new level,” said Lou Kennedy, Board Chair of SCBIO and founder and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, and a member of the search committee. “Competition for the position was extremely strong but we unanimously felt that his credentials in both life sciences and economic development were the precise mix we sought as we continue to build, advance and grow the industry in South Carolina.”

    Life sciences has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 700 firms involved and over 43,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products. It also represents a significant economic development focus for the state, led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and other regional economic development teams.

    South Carolina life sciences has seen a near-doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, state research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

    “As a South Carolina native, I am thrilled to join SCBIO and return home.  South Carolina has become an emerging leader in life sciences, and I am excited to continue SCBIO’s great work in helping to grow the life sciences industry,” noted Dr. Chappell. 

    Ms. Kennedy went on to thank SCBIO Interim CEO Erin Ford for her critical contributions in leading the organization during the search process, which began in May with the resignation of prior CEO Sam Konduros.

    “Erin continued to do a strong and stellar job in leading the organization, charting the path, and maintaining the momentum without missing a beat during this national search, and our board and membership are grateful to her. The entire board and SCBIO membership are excited that she will remain a key part of the organization in her prior role of Executive Vice President and COO to add a steady and experienced hand to crafting an exciting new future.”

    Ms. Ford has served as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives. She has managed the majority of the organization’s day-to-day requirements since joining SCBIO in 2017.

    Since 2017, SCBIO has more than tripled membership and quadrupled revenues, implemented a strong economic development focus, and launched a new innovation platform. It serves as the voice of the life sciences industry, implemented a surging workforce development initiative and created ongoing programs to encourage participation by women in life sciences, to support diversity-equity-inclusion initiatives and to encourage student participation in the industry. The organization also successfully led industry and organizational pivots during the COVID pandemic.  In a recent executive order, Governor Henry McMaster authorized SCBIO and the state’s Commerce Department to work together to accelerate the onshoring and repatriation of the pharmaceutical industry and vital PPE products and technologies to South Carolina.

    For additional information on SCBIO, please visit www.SCBIO.org.