Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health awards Clemson grants for research on cancer treatment, genetics, patient care16 projects funded with generosity of Prisma Health team see more
The Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health has awarded Clemson University researchers 16 grants that range from projects on cancer treatments to the use of exoskeletons for health care providers.
The seed funding supports the mission of the center, a collaborative effort between Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, Furman University and Prisma Health to foster cooperative research.
Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, associate vice president of health research at Clemson University and chief science officer at Prisma Health, hopes that these projects will inform best practices within health care research and influence positive change within the health care system.
“This year’s submissions were phenomenal, and we look forward to seeing the results from these 16 funded projects. Having clinicians and academic researchers involved in these projects ensures that the research has the best chance of creating transformation in health care and health outcomes,” Sherrill said. “Since this program began seven years ago, several projects have received large federal funding and results have been implemented at Prisma Health, helping improve the care of their patients.”
Click here to read complete details about the one-year grant projects, including the names of Clemson and Prisma Health researchers.
XtremedX, LLC launches Temperature and Pressure Sensing Insole to detect diabetic foot problems earlyGreenville, SC organization prepares to move into new 50,000sf facility in Upstate see more
XtremedX, LLC, a medical device technology and product innovation company based in Greenville, SC has introduced the Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole, the newest addition to its product line.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole provides early detection of diabetic foot ulcerations (DFU) by incorporating flexible sensors in the shoe insoles of a diabetic patient experiencing peripheral neuropathy.
Real-time alerts are then sent to the patient, caregiver and physician, providing an earlier warning of issues and potentially preventing an infection that could result in amputation or an extended hospital stay.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole recently received top honors in the Innovation Challenge at WearRAcon 22, the annual international conference of the Wearable Robotics Association, which was held in Scottsdale, AZ.
In addition, the TAP Insole has been chosen as a Top 20 New Device for diabetes treatment by the Diabetes Centre Berne of Berne, Switzerland. Only two entries from the U.S. were selected for consideration in the competition, with top honors to be bestowed in mid-May.
XtremedX was selected as a 2021 Top BIOMECHANIC Solution Provider by Med Tech Outlook magazine. The company, which has two laboratory technology centers in Greenville where it develops products and prototypes, has research relationships with Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Duke University. The organization is preparing to expand into a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility in Greenville to provide room to accelerate manufacture of the insoles and other products.
Hundreds of nation’s industry leaders to gather for strategic partnership development, insights see more
With the biggest story of 2021 – the global COVID-19 pandemic – serving as a backdrop, the largest life sciences conference in Palmetto State history will convene both in-person and virtually February 22-24 to address how South Carolina and America are accepting the challenge of achieving health and prosperity for all, South Carolina life sciences industry officials have announced.
Themed “Challenge Accepted,” the 2-day SCBIO 2022 event will feature national speaker sessions on Transformational Technologies, Next Generation Patient Care, Ensuring Opportunity for All, and Embracing Collaboration & Innovation – fundamental forces driving the state’s fastest growing industry: life sciences.
Currently listed as a $12 billion industry, national economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen of University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business will report findings of a just-completed economic impact study of the state’s life sciences cluster, last analyzed in 2017.
FDA Associate Director of the CDER Drug Shortage Staff Valerie Jensen is the first announced featured major speaker for the 2-day conference, addressing the gathering in a Program “Challenge Accepted: Delivering Next Generation Care to Patients Now.” A trained clinical pharmacist, Captain Jensen was one of the initial developers of FDA’s Drug Shortage Program and was named Associate Director in 2012. She continues to manage the Drug Shortage Staff at FDA. Joined by MUSC Health CEO Dr. Pat Cawley, Velocity Clinical Research executive Steve Clemons, and USC Provost Dr. Stephen Cutler, the panel will focus on the industry’s success in to expediting development of medicine, devices, technologies and vaccines in record time and with startling efficacy – and what it means for care around the world going forward.
Captain Jensen will be joined by more than 25 additional presenters and honorees at SCBIO 2022, which brings together leaders and executives from life science organizations across the nation to South Carolina. In deference to the pandemic, FDA protocols on safety are being rigorously adhered to and events are also being presented and distributed virtually, organizers revealed.
The conference will feature a significantly expanded exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry businesses, institutions of higher learning and essential support industry partners from across America, as well as presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2021 Organization of the Year and Individual of the Year. Also to be honored with Pinnacle Awards will be an inductee into the SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame, and an award for an industry Rising Star under 40 years of age.
New SCBIO CEO James Chappell will deliver a highly anticipated “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, while hundreds of in-person and virtual attendees will take advantage of meetings and connection sessions through the conference’s Partnering Portal. Additional speakers will be announced shortly, as well as posted online.
Registration to attend the 2-day conference is now open online. For more details, visit the 2022 Annual Conference section at www.scbio.org. Registration and exhibiting are free to many SCBIO investors. Early bird general admission pricing provides significant discounts to interested companies, industry supporters, students interested in life sciences, faculty and teachers. Limited Exhibit space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at email@example.com.
The 2-day conference annually draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion. Already committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio-ag and more.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has more than 700 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products. In early 2021, Governor Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order making it a state priority to continue to grow and expand the life sciences industry in the Palmetto State.
“Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and this conference’s growth is testament to the industry’s surging impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO James Chappell. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to showcase top companies, research universities and leaders from across our state and country at SCBIO 2022.”
Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceuticals, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami and more. All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and economic development entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.
As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.
For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.
The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event in Columbia in May see more
The University of South Carolina announced Wednesday that it will host a series of innovation-oriented events this year, which will highlight research, product development, and concept advancements at the University and across the state of South Carolina.
The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event on the Columbia campus in May 2022. Future InnovationX events are also planned for Charleston and Greenville. The four-part series will foster connections and partnerships across academia, government, and industry, both within South Carolina and nationally.
The educational series will feature engaging keynote speakers, live demonstrations, interactive panels and more. Each one-day event will focus on innovation across a different topic area, from future factories to industry convergence, modern healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Event topics will cover a broad range of topics, including:
- Innovation in Flux: Changing Context of Innovation
- Cutting-edge Industry Convergence: Blurring the boundaries between Academia, Industry, and next-level Innovation
- Rapid Innovation in Modernized Healthcare
- Entrepreneurial Effectiveness: Turning Ideas into Vision
“The University has established itself as the state’s catalyst between academia, industry, and government” said Bill Kirkland, Executive Director at UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement. “This innovative series will serve as the single convergence point, designed to showcase USC as the driving force for education, workforce development and innovation here in the state of South Carolina.”
Participants will include UofSC industry partners like Siemens, IBM, Samsung, Yaskawa, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, ROVE, Seagate and Fortinet.
Event dates and more information about InnovationX will be announced in early 2022.
Former provost returns to South Carolina after leading University of Illinois Chicago see more
Michael Amiridis has been named the 30th president of the University of South Carolina. Amiridis was selected during a meeting on Friday (Jan. 14) by the university’s Board of Trustees to lead the state’s flagship university system.
Amiridis currently serves as Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), which he has successfully led since 2015. Prior to his leadership at UIC, Amiridis spent more than two decades on the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus, serving as a professor, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, and the university’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost before leaving for Chicago in 2015.
“I’m excited and honored to return to the University of South Carolina as its next president,” Amiridis said. “Through academics, research and its vibrant culture, the university system is critically important to the people of South Carolina and to the state’s future. I feel privileged to be able to lead this great institution.”
UIC is part of the University of Illinois college system and is home to one of the nation’s largest medical schools. During his tenure at UIC, Amiridis focused efforts on enhancing the student experience, engaging with diverse communities, raising UIC’s national and international reputation, and creating a culture of entrepreneurship.
Under his leadership, UIC saw six years of enrollment growth, surpassing 34,000 students in fall 2021, while winning national accolades for attracting an increasingly diverse student population. UIC achieved record sponsored research awards, exceeding $440 million in FY21. Amiridis also is successfully completing a capital campaign this spring to raise more $750 million in donations for UIC.
Amiridis will start at South Carolina this summer. He replaces Interim President Harris Pastides, who came back to the university in May 2021 after previously serving as president for more than a decade. Amiridis was South Carolina’s provost from 2009 to 2015, working alongside Pastides to elevate academics and scholarship at the university.
“The qualifications to be the next president of the university include higher education experience at a senior level, having ‘walked the walk’ in academic life, a commitment to issues of diversity and inclusion, expertise in budgeting and fundraising, taking joy in celebrating Gamecock Athletics and a deep understanding and love of South Carolina. In selecting Michael Amiridis, the Board has found that person,” Pastides said.
Following Friday’s vote, Board of Trustees Chair C. Dorn Smith III said Amiridis is the right leader to elevate the entire university system.
“Today, we have chosen a scholar and administrator of the first order to lead our institution. Dr. Amiridis understands the university community and has a demonstrated track record of leading a large organization to new levels of success,” Smith said. “I wish to thank everyone in the university community who provided the Board with valuable feedback during this important presidential search.”
Amiridis, 59, is a native of Greece and a U.S. citizen. He earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece in 1985 and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. He and his wife, Ero Aggelopoulou-Amiridis (MS, ’97, PhD, ’11), have two children, Aspasia (BS, ’19) and Dimitri (class of 2022).
South Carolina life sciences is surging across the state, experts say see more
When describing today’s South Carolina’s life sciences industry, words like "surging" and “booming” are often mentioned.
Life sciences is diverse, with seven sectors: drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; digital health solutions; research, medical and testing laboratories; bioscience distribution; bio-agriculture and ecosystem support.
Surprisingly, life sciences are South Carolina’s fastest-growing industry -- not more expected industries like automotive, tires, or aerospace, notes Erin Ford, Interim CEO of SCBIO -- a nonprofit dedicated to building, advancing and growing life sciences here.
“A 2017 study by USC's Moore School of Business showed 402 life science companies in South Carolina – that’s grown to over 700 today. It employed over 43,000 South Carolinians and generated $12 billion in impact,” said Ms. Ford.
USC earns $400,000 grant see more
The U.S. Economic Development Administration today announced the 50 organizations that will share in grants totaling $36.5 million to support programs that fuel innovation and tech-based economic development as part of the Build to Scale program. The 2021 awardees will leverage an additional $40 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources. SSTI has been a proponent of the Build to Scale program, which had not received any federal appropriations prior to the creation of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council.
The 50 organizations hail from 26 states and include venture development organizations, state agencies, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations. The FY 2021 Build to Scale program was comprised of two competitions –– the Venture Challenge, which leverages regional strengths to accelerate innovation and job creation through high-growth technology entrepreneurship, and the Capital Challenge, which increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs.
The full list of recipients is available here, and SSTI is happy to recognize a number of members among the winners, including:
2021 Venture Challenge Grant Recipients:
- Arizona Commerce Authority, Phoenix, Arizona, $750,000
- Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $657,622
- Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri, $1.5 million
- FuzeHub, Albany, New York, $753,546
- Launch New York, Buffalo, New York, $750,000
- Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana, $1.5 million
- Rev1 Ventures, Columbus, Ohio, $1.4 million
2021 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients:
- TechTown Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, $400,000
- University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, $400,000
Looking to expand in Upstate South Carolina see more
UofSC’s Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Engagement (OIPEE) is seeking to expand its footprint in the Upstate.
OIPEE Deputy Director Chad Hardaway said his office is focused on connecting innovators and entrepreneurs with university resources to help navigate the process from developing an idea to bringing it to the marketplace. To help accomplish that goal, Hardaway recently added consultant Sam English to the team.
With a background in biochemistry, English said he will be working with Prisma Health innovators to connect with OIPEE resources. In the two months since coming on board, he said he has been reaching out to people within the Prisma system to understand what the needs are and how to connect them with the innovation ecosystem at UofSC.
“It’s fertile ground to be working in,” English said. “While I’ve only been here two months, I feel like I’ve been drinking from the fire hose.”
He added that he’s discussed everything from back-of-the-envelope ideas to fully functional prototypes of medical devices developed by Prisma staff.
Hardaway said that while English is focused on strengthening relationships with the Prisma system, the longer-term goal is to expand OIPEE’s Upstate presence to include a satellite office dedicated to broader innovation initiatives in fields like cybersecurity, aerospace and high-tech manufacturing, often referred to now as Manufacturing 4.0.
English and Hardaway said a core motto of OIPEE is to “connect, collaborate and commercialize.” English added that with the Upstate’s pool of engineering talent, thanks to the influence of companies like BMW and Lockheed-Martin, many of the pieces are already in place to build on and expand an innovation environment.
He said his job is, in part, to pave the way for OIPEE to become more involved in helping build the series of connections that link creativity to a marketable product.
“With that integrated approach, there are a lot of opportunities to develop successes,” English said.
For more information about USC’s Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Engagement, visit sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/economic_engagement.
Nephron went looking for a way to automate syringe-filling for small batch manufacturing, found more see more
t’s no secret that working long hours in a cleanroom environment can be grueling. The bunny suits can get sweltering and the hours doing monotonous tasks can drag. On top of that, staffing cleanroom techs for an around-the-clock operation can be a major challenge for pharma companies.
With the hope of overcoming these issues, South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals recently went looking for a way to automate syringe-filling for small batch manufacturing and turned to the brainpower nearby.
Within the University of South Carolina, the Office of Innovation, Partnerships, and Economic Engagement (OIPEE) provides a way for companies to engage with students and faculty to solve vexing industry problems.
“The university can bring a client in, and we’ll create a solution for that client with advanced manufacturing,” Bill Kirkland, executive director of OIPEE, explains.
For Nephron, that solution was robotics. After striking up a partnership, students and researchers from UofSC eventually innovated a new automated syringe-filling system that utilizes flexible, high-speed robots provided by Yaskawa Motoman and processing power developed by Siemens. According to Kirkland, the system’s robotic arm that works under a single hood is part of what makes it unique. It was also designed specifically for small-batch operations, and importantly for Nephron, the new technology will help eliminate manufacturing downtime.
“We have a workforce issue in that we have lots of trained sterile pharma techs, but expecting them to show up every shift 24/7 is challenging,” Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron, says. “So, for example, if someone calls in sick, this allows us to do many steps using robotics, and it keeps us from having to shut down.”
Although there are other robotic syringe-filling solutions on the market, Kennedy says she has never seen a system as small and nimble as the one built by UofSC.
“It operates underneath a flow hood in a cleanroom and that’s important because we are working with injectables,” Kennedy says. “And it’s compact and can move from one cleanroom to another.”
After the technology was developed, the system was installed in a Nephron facility earlier this year, where Kennedy says the company is perfecting the tech and it is being commercially validated. Once they find the manufacturing “sweet spot” and it wins regulatory approval, the companies plan to license and commercialize the technology. Ultimately, the plan is to target biopharma facilities and hospitals in need of small-batch manufacturing solutions.
“By virtue of its previous relationships with Yaskawa and Siemens, UofSC faculty and OIPEE pitched this solution to Nephron, who agreed to bear some of the initial cost of setting up the research facility in the McNAIR [Aerospace] Center,” Kirkland said in a statement this spring. “All three companies, as well as the university, will benefit greatly from the introduction of this system into the commercial space.”
In addition to being a boon for the Nephron, the collaboration also showcased how industry partnerships can be a stepping stone for engineering and manufacturing students — including those who were not considering a career in pharma before. According to Kirkland, one of the students involved in the collaboration went on to score a job at Siemens, and another did the same at Nephron.
“Partnerships like this one are a win for patients, employees and students, not to mention for companies like ours, that continue to grow and expand our capacity to help others,” Kennedy said in a statement this spring.
University of South Carolina initiative saving lives see more
A gentle hum can be heard from a lab in the depths of the University of South Carolina's life sciences building. Take a peek inside, and you'll find something unusual.
Thousands of tubes of the spit belonging to the university's students, faculty, staff and Columbia residents.
Almost a year ago, the school's colon cancer lab changed course from its usual area of study and started analyzing how it could help as COVID-19 ravaged the world, killing hundreds of thousands across the country and shutting down campuses.
USC professors had a breakthrough when they started studying saliva there, said biomedical sciences professor Phillip Buckhaults.
They ended up creating what looks like a blue cocktail — and it exposes the COVID-19 genome in our saliva.
"We figured out a way to photocopy bits of the COVID genome," Buckhaults said. "It's like a liquid photocopier."
It's proven to be more efficient than nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing. There's no uncomfortable nasal swab involved. Materials for nasal-swab testing are often limited. And these saliva results come quicker. Those who get tested on USC's campus typically receive results within 24 hours.
When the saliva testing first began on campus, scientists were pipetting saliva samples with the "photocopier" liquid to see the COVID-19 genome appeared in the DNA when the saliva was "photocopied" several times.
Because it was done solely by hand, they were able to test only several dozen samples a day.
"The demand was more than we could keep up with," Buckhaults said.
So he sent an email pleading with USC president Harris Pastides for a liquid-handling robot that's able to do the pipetting automatically, saving a lot of time.
Pastides then got South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals owner Lou Kennedy to write Buckhault a $14,000 check to buy one of the robots.
"Within two weeks, we went from a junkie, underutilized, decrepit lab space to really state-of-the-art," said laboratory director and professor Carolyn Banister.
Buckhaults also credited former USC president Bob Caslen for removing roadblocks to get more machines and a bigger lab — speeding up the process to speed up the process, so to speak.
Caslen worked with the state government and university officials to get thousands of dollars for lab equipment and borrowed testing machines from nearby labs, Buckhaults said.
"He saved a lot of lives in the Midlands by pouring resources into (Banister) and that lab and getting this test running," Buckhaults said.
Now, the lab is testing about 2,000 samples a day and returning samples within 24 hours, and its reach is beyond the Midlands. Quick-turnaround testing allows people to identify themselves as COVID-19-positive earlier and isolate themselves, reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives.
The testing technology has expanded across the state. USC satellite campuses, including Upstate and Union, as well as Clemson, Winthrop, the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College are able to use the saliva tests created at the USC lab.
The testing is able to recognize different variants of COVID-19 as well.
Two life sciences companies make list for SCRA support see more
Advent Innovations, LLC and DPX Technologies, LLC have been accepted as South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) Member Companies and awarded grant funding. Parimer Scientific, LLC and Prewrite, Inc. have been accepted as Member Companies. As Member Companies, they will receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for an investment from SCRA’s affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
Advent Innovations Limited Company has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company and awarded a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant. The University of South Carolina-affiliated startup provides services in modeling, analysis, design, and product development using cutting-edge research with novel sensors, big data analytics, and other smart technology such as robotics. Their customers include private corporations and government entities in aerospace, automotive, civil infrastructure, and energy.
DPX Technologies, LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company and awarded a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant. The University of South Carolina-affiliated company manufactures sample lab preparation products and develops custom methods for a diverse client base. Their proprietary and patented INTip™ technologies provide efficient, automated solutions for laboratories that are easy to customize and implement with any workflow or method.
Parimer Scientific, LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Easley-based company provides turn-key laboratory services at competitive rates to biotech and pharmaceutical companies with no upfront capital or long-term commitment needed. In 2020 alone, more than 10,000 units of pharmaceutical products were made at Parimer and shipped directly to the end-users at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes.
Prewrite, Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Greenville-based startup offers a story development platform for writers, producers, and content creators of all types. Their powerful tool ensures the writer is using good story fundamentals. Stories of any complexity are easily built, piece-by-piece. Originally designed for screenplays, Prewrite is used around the world by professionals and amateurs alike.
SCRA welcomes these new Member Companies!
Grant funding is made possible, in part, by Industry Partnership Fund (IPF) contributions that fuel the state’s innovation economy. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, making it an easy and effective way to help one of the fastest growing segments of the South Carolina economy. Grant funding for Member Companies creates a direct, positive economic effect and job creation.
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
USC earns award of excellence see more
In recognition of their dedication and innovations in overcoming the challenges of delivering the experiential curriculum during the past year, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Experiential Education Section has bestowed the Award for Excellence in Experiential Education upon the faculty and staff of experiential offices at the colleges and schools of pharmacy, including the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
The Experiential Education team of Jennifer Baker, director of experiential programs; Whitney Maxwell, associate director of experiential programs; Kathryn Kenard, student service program coordinator; and Nancy Blaisdell, administrative assistant, received certificates of recognition from the AACP during a presentation by Julie Sease, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy.
The AACP Experiential Education Section Award of Excellence in Experiential Education is normally presented each year to an individual, but this year, the organization chose to recognize programs across the country.
When the University closed in March 2020, the Office of Experiential Education for the College of Pharmacy mobilized to a virtual unit overnight as there could be no pause in operations to keep students progressing through the Pharm.D. curriculum. With the status of hundreds of rotations changing on what seemed like an hourly basis during the spring and summer of 2020, Baker and Maxwell navigated rotation rescheduling while Kenard and Blaisdell tirelessly worked through site onboarding requirements to efficiently move students on and off rotation without missing a beat.
“Through the hard work and commitment of our preceptors and practice sites, we were able to successfully graduate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on time,” says Baker. “Our team was dedicated to our students even while serving on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. While our experiences were not unique, as everyone’s worlds were turned upside down during the pandemic, I can confidently say that our students and College are blessed with the best preceptors and faculty.
“We are so grateful for the unwavering support from College administration and for this recognition by the AACP Experiential Education Section. It was incredible to see the collaboration that occurred within our profession at the local, state and national level to support all pharmacy students.”
Issues over $3 million in funds to colleges, universities see more
SCRA has announced the funding of over $3.3 million to selected colleges and universities for translational research projects to address key challenges facing the state’s industrial base. SCRA’s funding is being matched by the academic institutions and industry partners, bringing the total amount of the projects to over $6.7 million.
The projects are being funded through the SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team (SACT) program. The goal of the SACT is to connect industry with multi-institutional academic teams and build bridges among the institutions to foster engagement and advance technologies, many of which will enter the marketplace and lead to the creation of South Carolina-based jobs.
- $1.8 million was awarded to Clemson University to modernize South Carolina’s manufacturing assets to enable Industry 4.0 (the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology). Clemson is partnering with the University of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Greenville Technical College, and Trident Technical College.
- $1.2 million was awarded to the University of South Carolina to enable factory-to-factory networking for the future of manufacturing operations. The University is partnering with Clemson University, Greenville Technical College, and Midlands Technical College.
- $305,000 was awarded to Francis Marion University to improve workforce readiness and capabilities in South Carolina. The University is partnering with The Citadel.
“I’m energized by the opportunities and positive outcomes from this intersection of academic research, entrepreneurship, and industry in the state. These collaborations provide the greatest potential for innovation, economic growth, and overall advancement of the region,” said Kella Player, SCRA Program Manager.
SCRA’s program directors and industry advisors will review the progress on these SACT research projects on an ongoing basis. Funds will be provided in stages as milestones are met.
“We are fortunate to have high-quality research and development being conducted at our state’s colleges and universities. Many of the technologies on which they are working today will produce the new companies of tomorrow. It’s a honor for SCRA to support these collaborations,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director.
Since 2018, SACT grants have funded 17 collaborations among South Carolina-based academic institutions and 41 industry partners. These projects have produced an 8:1 multiple in additional funding from other sources such as industry and the federal government.
SCRA grants are funded in part by the Industry Partnership Fund (IPF). IPF contributors are South Carolina businesses and individuals who receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for investing in the state’s innovation economy.
Succeeds Dr. Stephen Cutler, who was named USC Interim Provost see more
Julie Sease has been selected as the interim dean of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, effective July 1. She succeeds Stephen Cutler, who was announced as South Carolina’s interim provost.
In her new role, Sease hopes to provide support and stability to the college’s faculty, staff, students and alumni through authentic, selfless leadership. Her priorities include ensuring the faculty’s research and teaching excellence is recognized, continuing the college’s unmatched learning opportunities for students — like those that the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center provides. She also plans to continue the college's commitment to service, like its robust saliva-based COVID-19 testing.
“We have great things happening in the College of Pharmacy, we have excitement for the future, and we have good people to grow with,” Sease says. “My job is to support the great work that’s already being done and to do what I can to provide support and to let our people do what they are here to do.”
Sease received her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of South Carolina in 2003. After completing her residency, she returned to UofSC as a clinical assistant professor for five years. She then went to Presbyterian College, where she became the associate dean for academic affairs, before coming back to the university as a clinical professor and senior associate dean in 2019.
“We have awesome, and I cannot stress this enough, awesome people here at the college in terms of teaching, scholarship, research and service,” Sease says. “Our people care about our students, and they teach our students well. Our people care about their profession, and they serve their profession well. Our people care about one another and that makes for good collegial relationships and a good family feel that our students and faculty want to be involved in. And it’s my job to help make sure that our people continue to feel supported and have opportunities to continue doing great things.”
Cutler says he knows Sease will provide the college the stability it needs as he transitions to his new role.
“Dr. Sease has been an integral member of our college’s family for many years,” he says. “She has proven herself to be an impactful leader who truly cares about the well being of the college and everyone associated with it, including the students, staff, faculty and alumni. The College of Pharmacy is in great hands, and I know that the growth it has experienced in recent years will only continue with her at the helm.”
USC College of Pharmacy hosts special event for minorities see more
The University of South Carolina’s College of Pharmacy held a COVID-19 vaccine education event at the Juneteenth Freedom Fest. Instructors and students from the college offered science-based information to passersby who had not been vaccinated yet.
DHEC data suggests that minorities make up approximately 43% of South Carolinians who have received at least one COVID-19 shot. Data from DHEC also shows that Black South Carolinians make up just 19.5% of people with at least one dose.
“We feel like we can do better,” said clinical associate instructor and infectious diseases pharmacy specialist Dr. Julie Ann Justo. “We want to protect individuals and their loved ones from contracting COVID-19.”
The college hosts similar community education events regarding various public health issues such as penicillin allergies and flu shots at events like Soda City Market. The program chose to host the COVID-19 vaccination information booth at the Juneteenth event to target specific groups that may be hesitant to get their shot.
“Juneteenth is the place to be this weekend; there’s a lot of joy here, a lot of celebration and remembrance and respect for history,” said Justo. “We’re really excited to be here with the community and listen to their concerns as they relate to COVID-19 vaccination, and hopefully give a little bit of helpful information as well.”
Dr. Justo says the pharmacy students that talked to community members are vaccine experts. She says they have been studying all vaccines for at least four years and they also have extensive knowledge about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr. Jordan Cooler, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy and psychiatric pharmacist, says she hopes the event helped the community understand both the vaccine and the role of pharmacists better. She says pharmacists are among the most accessible medical professionals as they typically don’t require appointments for consultations.
“This is an opportunity for our students to get out into the community and hone those skills, as far as educating individuals and interacting,” said Cooler. “We’re coming and we’re meeting them where they’re at.”
Cooler says the event served to boost vaccine confidence in the community and if people felt more confident getting their shot after speaking to the students, they were able to go get their shot at a vaccine tent that was also at the festival.
The college plans to continue educating the public in the coming weeks about the COVID-19 vaccine to help increase vaccination rates across the state.