Life sciences expands again in South Carolina see more
MycoWorks, a biotechnology company that specializes in mycelium-grown materials for use as sustainable, luxury-quality leather alternatives, today announced plans to establish operations in Union County. The company’s $107 million investment will create 400 new jobs.
Established in 2013, MycoWorks’ patented Fine Mycelium™ process produces materials including Reishi – a globally recognized breakthrough in materials science – that mimics the performance of animal leathers and lowers environmental impacts. The material offers creative solutions and new design possibilities for fashion and luxury brands while offering relief to supply chain constraints.
Located at 260 Midway Drive in Union, MycoWorks’ new facility will increase the company’s capacity to meet the fashion and luxury industries’ growing demand for its materials, including its flagship product Reishi.
Operations are expected to be online in early 2023. Individuals interested in joining the MycoWorks team should email email@example.com.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
"Deciding where to lay down roots was a big decision, but the partnership offered by state and local officials in combination with access to talent and amenities in the area made it easy. We look forward to growing a world class team and operation in Union County, South Carolina.” -MycoWorks Chief Operating Officer Doug Hardesty
“More and more innovative and sustainable companies are finding that South Carolina is an ideal location to establish operations, and we welcome MycoWorks to that growing roster of businesses. The $107 million investment and creation of 400 new jobs will make a significant impact in Union County and beyond.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
“We are at a time of great transformation among various industries, and companies like MycoWorks are paving the way in their arena. We welcome this groundbreaking business to South Carolina and look forward to watching them succeed for years to come.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“We are very excited to welcome MycoWorks to Union County. This project will greatly benefit the citizens of Union County through the jobs which will be created and the diversification of our industrial base within our community.” -Union County Supervisor Frank Hart
“We say the Upstate is where manufacturing and technology intersect, and MycoWorks is showing it by choosing to scale up in Union County. Their sustainable biotechnology products add high-tech opportunities to the region’s vibrant engineered materials ecosystem.” -Upstate SC Alliance President and CEO John Lummus
FIVE FAST FACTS
- MycoWorks is establishing operations in Union County.
- The $107 million investment will create 400 new jobs.
- MycoWorks is a biotechnology company that specializes in developing mycelium materials for use as sustainable, luxury-quality leather alternatives.
- Located at 260 Midway Drive in Union, S.C.
- Individuals interested in joining the MycoWorks team should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
VisionGreenwood’s broadband pilot program could serve as model for other communities across the South CarolinaBroadband pilot program for rural Greenwood could serve as model see more
VisionGreenwood, an established community partner dedicated to making Greenwood the best place in which to live, work and raise a family, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state agency housing the Office of Broadband Coordinator (SC Broadband Office) to establish a pilot program that will pave the way for bringing high-speed internet to underserved areas of Greenwood County. VisionGreenwood is responsible for providing marketing and coordination for the crowdsourcing system campaign in Greenwood and for facilitating the pilot program.
The pilot program, which launched on December 15, 2021, will establish the viability of developing an analysis to aid in determining the best technology to provide affordable internet service in certain areas of Greenwood County that do not have access to broadband internet services exceeding 25 Mbps upload and 3 Mbps download speeds. The program will utilize crowdsource mapping methodology and analysis provided by GEO Partners, LLC, a consulting group which maps areas by telephonic, cable and broadband companies.
“The past two years have only highlighted the need for fast and affordable broadband to rural communities. The purpose of this new pilot program is to combine the technologies and best practices of the SC Broadband Office and information provided by VisionGreenwood to create a broadband platform that results in enhanced analytics and analytical processes to support potential future grant applications. The program will also allow us to keep an eye on the future,” said Kay Self, Executive Director for VisionGreenwood.
“Technologies like Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), robotics, and artificial intelligence have grown exponentially over the past two years. As our society moves into Web 3.0 and these technologies merge to form the Metaverse, it is critical that Greenwood has access to the fastest speeds if we are going to thrive as a community in the economy of the very near future. Through our partnership with the South Carolina Broadband Office, what we are doing here in Greenwood is going to serve as a model for other rural communities across the state. Knowing that Greenwood will be the blueprint for the betterment of others makes this initiative extra exciting,” said Self.
The SC Broadband Office, which serves as the central broadband planning body for the state to encourage the continued development of access to broadband, will hold monthly status meetings with the project delivery team to discuss work performed, issues encountered, and work planned for the coming year.
“We are excited to work with VisionGreenwood and GEO Partners to encourage rapid broadband deployment in Greenwood County. Internet service is as essential as any other utility service such as water and power; quality internet service is a necessity for education, health care, and for those who work from home,” said Nanette S. Edwards, Executive Director, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff. “Under the leadership of Senator Garrett – and with the support of Kay Self and VisionGreenwood – Greenwood County is well positioned for universal broadband service.”
Early in 2021, VisionGreenwood established a dedicated Broadband Task Force to identify and seek solutions to Greenwood County’s 10 targeted areas of need. Real-time internet speed data is already being gathered from Greenwood residents through a speed test tool accessible from the VisionGreenwood website. The goal is to gather data in all areas of Greenwood County to pinpoint areas of the Greenwood community that are most in need of reliable, affordable access to broadband service.
“The Greenwood County legislative delegation would like to thank Greenwood County Council Chairman Chuck Moates for continuing to support the Greenwood broadband initiative headed by Kay Self and VisionGreenwood in our united quest for countywide broadband internet coverage,” said South Carolina Senator Billy Garrett, who serves as Chairman of the Greenwood Broadband Task Force as well as the Greenwood County legislative delegation. “As promised, VisionGreenwood will be providing Greenwood County Council with six alternative methods to provide high-quality broadband coverage for the entirety of Greenwood County.”
Senator Garrett elaborated, saying “Through the cooperative efforts of VisionGreenwood, GEO Partners, Nanette Edwards of South Carolina ORS, and Greenwood County Council, we will be well on our way to find and implement – with federal, state, local, and private dollars – a high-quality broadband system, both fixed and wireless, throughout Greenwood County. I hope our children will never again be without high-quality broadband coverage for use in school. This will be the future of Greenwood County.”
“This local pilot program has so much potential to positively impact not only the Greenwood area, but also other parts of South Carolina,” said Paul Deming, CEO of Minnesota-based GEO Partners, LLC, which focuses on enabling cost-effective planning and deployment of broadband. “We are steadily making a difference in other regions too. GEO Partners is currently working with Minnesota, Washington, Maine, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Florida and Wisconsin, as well as the nationally designated Delta Regional Authority that covers parts of eight states along the Mississippi River.”
About Vision Greenwood
VisionGreenwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with deep roots in the Greenwood community. Throughout the past 20 years, VisionGreenwood (formerly known as the Foundation for a Greater Greenwood County, Inc.) has invested over $2.9 million into the community by supporting collaborative community development initiatives that provide economic prosperity and enhance the growth and success of Greenwood. The Foundation was originally created to support the former Greenwood Partnership Alliance’s charitable operations with a focus on community and workforce development. The Foundation became a stand-alone organization in 2020 and was rebranded as VisionGreenwood in 2021. By intent and design, VisionGreenwood continues to be a community partner that is focused on Greenwood’s future, its economic growth and development, and its quality of life. Learn more at www.visiongreenwood.org.
Life sciences firm seeking to add hundreds of new employees see more
Premier Medical Laboratory Services, has recently reported a rapid increase in medical testing demands coming to their laboratory – the amount of COVID-19 tests alone being processed at their Greenville, SC facility has jumped 250% in the last two weeks. Much of this is due to the Omicron variant, which first made landfall in the US at the beginning of December and is now the dominant strain of the virus in the nation. With this influx of tests poses an immediate need for hundreds of Upstate employees to be hired at the medical laboratory.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve been proactive in fulfilling our staffing needs,” said Kevin Murdock, CEO and Founder of Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “To ensure that we continue to properly meet testing demands amid this new surge, we are looking to vastly expand our team and to provide jobs in the community.”
PMLS is a CLIA and COLA certified laboratory. They are the choice processing lab for Health and Human Services testing sites, and the trusted COVID-19 management partner for professional sports teams, schools, colleges, large corporations, and health departments across the nation. With an expanding team, they are inviting members of the Upstate community to join them in providing vital services and information, helping to battle COVID-19 and its new variants and to improve the future of healthcare with advanced medical diagnostics. Currently, the lab is looking to fill the following positions:
Lab Data Entry Clerk
- NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED
- Job duties include entering patient information into a computer system, scanning barcodes, and helping with any other lab assistant needs
- Protective gear and all training are provided by the lab
Job Type: Part-Time; Pay: $15 per hour
Medical Laboratory Technician
Responsible for performing medical tests in the Molecular Lab. Does not need to be certified if a degree in Chemistry or Biology have been attained.
- Collect and organize blood, tissue, and other bodily fluid samples from patients
- Prepare samples for routine testing and analysis
- Properly record results for further analysis and easy reference
- Monitor inventory samples and supplies
- Maintain a clean work environment
- You must have experience as a Medical Technologist (ASCP Certificate that is CURRENT is a plus!)
- BS in Biology or Chemistry is also helpful
- Familiarity with common medical terminology
- Experience in a laboratory setting
- Strong organizational skills
Job Type: Full-time; Pay: $18-$22 per hour
- ***MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH MANUAL EXTRACTION PROCESSES***
- Has earned a bachelor's degree in a chemical, physical or biological science or medical technology from an accredited institution
- Has at least 2 years of current laboratory experience, in moderate complexity testing (Chemistry, Hematology, Urinalysis)
- Has 2 years of laboratory training or experience in high complexity testing (Allergy and/or Molecular)
Job Type: Full-time; Pay: $24-$28/hr
All positions located in Greenville, SC. Please email: HR@DIVMEDINC.COM to apply. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com or call 1.866.800.5470.
ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including CLIA and COLA. With the most advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) easy to read one-page test result reports are generated with higher accuracy and a customizable report for each client. PMLS prides itself on having some of the most rapid turnaround times for testing results in the industry. Their expansive testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women's Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DIABETESPredict. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com.
Premier Medical Laboratory Services, in Partnership with the Clemson University, Reports Omicron Variant Now Present in Upstate, SCPremier Medical, Clemson detect latest variant in Upstate region see more
December 20, 2021 – Today, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), headquartered in Greenville, SC, reports their findings that the Omicron variant is now confirmed to be present in the Upstate. The laboratory has been surveilling for Omicron and other novel variants through Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in partnership with the Clemson University Bioengineering Department. Clemson University REDDI Lab has collected samples for COVID-19 testing from throughout the upstate community and was funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to then have the COVID-19 positive specimens undergo NGS at PMLS. NGS is the process of decoding the genetic make-up of the virus to track how it is mutating and spreading throughout the population.
“As a proactive and solutions-driven company, we implemented Next Generation Sequencing to meet the needs of our population with preparedness for novel variants like Omicron,” said Kevin Murdock, CEO and Founder of Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “Through partnerships like ours with Clemson University, we are happy to increase the amount of data for South Carolina and the entire nation which is vital for vaccine efficacy and our understanding of the virus.”
Knowing the importance of accumulating data in the continued fight against the pandemic, PMLS implemented one of the largest sequencing initiatives among any lab in the nation – with the capability to sequence up to 42,000 samples per week. Many labs that are conducting COVID-19 testing have not developed the capabilities to conduct sequencing, and new variants cannot be fully identified via COVID-19 diagnostic testing methods alone. PMLS will continue working to uncover any further novel variants and mutations that COVID-19 presents and notify health officials.
Other ways PMLS has helped to meet demands during the pandemic:
- Processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and several state health departments
- Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in several states
- Reached one of the highest testing capacities in the nation with the capability to process over 300,000 tests per day
- Developed medical data management software that communicates directly from laboratory equipment for faster HIPAA compliant delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients
- Shifted production to add in-house manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits
- Donated thousands of COVID-19 tests to children's diabetes summer camps throughout the nation
- Donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic
For more information, please visit www.premedinc.com or call 1.866.800.5470.
ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including CLIA and COLA. With the most advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) easy to read one-page test result reports are generated with higher accuracy and a customizable report for each client. PMLS prides itself on having some of the most rapid turnaround times for testing results in the industry. Their expansive testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women's Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and highly advanced diabetes test, MDDiabeticPro. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com
Pall expects to hire even more associates in 2022 see more
Pall Corporation announced Nov. 8 it will hire 300 people to staff its new 220,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 816 Berry Shoals Road in Duncan.
The facility manufactures products such as its Allegro platform, which may be used in the creation, purification and packaging processes for biotechnology and pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, antibodies and vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.
“We’re excited to join the Duncan community and welcome new associates to our growing team,” said Joseph Repp, president, Pall Life Sciences. “Pall has a proud, 75-year history of supporting development of life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. The important products we make here in South Carolina are used by customers around the world and critical to Pall’s global expansion plans as we increase production globally.”
The company also expects to hire for additional positions in 2022.
To apply for open positions, visit jobs.danaher.com/global/en and search for ‘South Carolina’ as the role location.
Poly-Med welcomes Governor to Upstate see more
Governor Henry McMaster visited with state leaders and the executive leadership team of Poly-Med, Inc.’s at its newest facility located just outside of Greenville, SC last week. Governor McMaster’s visit was aimed at taking stock of the ever-growing biomedical industry and Poly-Med’s growing presence in the medical device industry right here in the Upstate.
In 2019, Poly-Med, Inc., the leader in bioresorbable materials and medical device development, opened a state of the art development and production facility doubling their footprint in the Upstate. The new facility greatly expands PMI’s capabilities to offer medical device development for medical-grade electrospinning, extrusion, additive manufacturing, and technical textile processes in a certified ISO Class 8 environment.
Governor McMaster was encouraged by the growth of the company and the technological advancements that Poly-Med has achieved in recent years of utilizing resorbable materials to expand medical device and implant functionality. The Governor and many others at the state level are encouraging manufacturing investment in the life sciences and biomedical industries within the State. During his visit, the Governor toured Poly-Med’s facility and evaluated its innovative technologies used to produce implants that act as a natural scaffold in the body to replace damaged or diseased tissues.
Poly-Med’s President, David Shalaby, stated “Poly-Med is a solutions’ driven organization that is working on the next class of medical devices. The expansion of our facilities demonstrates Poly-Med’s dedication to build an infrastructure for custom medical device development within South Carolina. Our focus within the specialty resorbable material field continues our long history of designing and delivering first in class products. We look forward to growing our presence in South Carolina to support our clients in their medical device design and resorbable implant needs that improve the quality of life for patients.”
The expansion of Poly-Med’s facilities is an investment in the ever-growing life sciences community in the Southeast, particularly in South Carolina. South Carolina is home to a $12+ Billion industry with over 700 dedicated life science firms. To learn more about Poly-Med or the opening of the new facility, please contact Poly-Med.
About Poly-Med, Inc.
For the past 28 years, Poly-Med has developed first in class innovative medical implants that improve the quality of life for patients. Poly-Med’s mission is to drive innovation in the biomedical industries that positively impact human health.
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.
New leader for entrepreneurial organization to start in September see more
Entrepreneur Eric Weissmann has been named the new Executive Director of NEXT, an entrepreneur support organization in Greenville, SC that has impacted more than 120 companies, who in turn have raised $28 million in capital. NEXT provides connections to mentoring, capital, facilities, and access to a peer community of aspiring founders across the region.
Weissmann was part of the founding team at Cintrifuse, a similar ecosystem catalyst, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as Vice President of External Relations. Weissmann launched “StartupCincy,” an initiative that started as a simple social media hashtag and bloomed into a full-fledged, connected community. He previously worked in the marketing and creative services industries. Weissmann has helped establish the Disney Cruise Line brand leading up to the maiden voyage of the Disney Magic.
“I’m excited by the opportunity and encouraged by the amount of collaboration I already see in the Greenville community,” said Weissmann. “We’re at a unique moment in time where cities across the country are fostering entrepreneurship by leveraging their unique strengths to attract talent and dollars with the goal of increasing economic development. Greenville’s got the raw materials to make a huge impact on the region and I’m ready to get to work!”
Find Great People led a nationwide, comprehensive search. The interview committee selected Weissmann because of his extensive experience developing innovation ecosystems, supporting entrepreneurs in securing venture capital, leading diversity and inclusion programs, and supporting ventures from concept to exit.
“Eric embodies the qualities we desired in the leader of NEXT: a proven leader with experience building world-class ecosystems for start-ups and developing innovative, collaborative teams and communities where entrepreneurs can thrive,” said Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber President/CEO.
NEXT was founded in 2006 and has three locations including NEXT Innovation, NEXT on Main and NEXT Manufacturing.
“As we look to the future, NEXT has a goal of tripling investment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we serve,” said Scott Millwood, Chair of NEXT. “Under Weissmann’s leadership, we are confident NEXT will have the strategic and visionary leadership needed to accomplish these goals.”
The City of Greenville is an investor in NEXT, as part of its Economic Development strategy to attract small and medium sized companies that provide high wage, knowledge-based jobs. The Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) is also an active supporter.
“NEXT is the vehicle the city utilizes to support early-stage scalable businesses,” said Greenville City Manager John McDonough. “We ‘get’ entrepreneurs and the dreams that drive them. Hiring a founder who has successfully started companies, grown companies and marketed companies, to lead the NEXT organization showcases our commitment to becoming “the place” for brilliant minds to start and grow their business.”
Weissmann is expected to begin in September.
NEXT, launched as a production of the Greenville Chamber in 2006, is an entrepreneurial support organization that attracts and helps high-impact, knowledge-based companies grow by developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs to it. NEXT currently supports over 120 knowledge-based companies in Upstate South Carolina. For more information, visit www.nextsc.org
Life sciences booming in Spartanburg, Upstate see more
Spartanburg County – and the entire Upstate – are welcoming a growing interest and investments from life sciences companies. The Upstate has a long-established history and infrastructure that have supported life sciences companies with raw materials, production and packaging operations, and distribution.
Now, new research and innovation businesses are further supporting industry growth and fueling an ecosystem ripe for start-ups.
More than 670 life sciences firms of all sizes call the Upstate home, with 13 companies announcing new locations in the area in the last few years.
The newest of those companies in Spartanburg is Epica International, the leader in advanced, ultra-high-resolution mobile medical imaging and robotic applications for human and animal health, and industrial enterprises.
The company announced its headquarters and operations in Spartanburg, covering its subsidiary companies Epica Human Health, Epica Animal Health and Roboticom. Epica established corporate, imaging and robotic system demos at its facility, currently located inside the Spark Center SC on the Tyger River Campus of Spartanburg Community College.
“Epica’s investment in Spartanburg goes hand-in-hand with a diversified economic development strategy we’ve put in place countywide, targeting specifically investments from bioscience and life sciences industries,” said OneSpartanburg, Inc. Chief Economic Development Officer Katherine O’Neill. “These types of advanced, heavy-technology industries coming to our county gives us a considerable strategic advantage for future development and job growth.”
Another life sciences company – Pall Corporation – announced its intent to invest in Spartanburg County earlier in 2021. Pall announced its Spartanburg County operations would create 425 new jobs and $30.2 million in investment.
Pall serves the needs of customers across the broad spectrum of life sciences and industry and works with clients around the world to advance health, safety and environmentally responsible technologies. The company’s Spartanburg facility supports the rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics, including COVID-19 vaccines.
"Spartanburg County provides Pall with the diverse workforce we need to manufacture life-saving therapeutics and vaccines. We look forward to building our presence in this county,” said Pall Life Sciences President Joseph Repp at the time of the company’s announcement.
Statewide, South Carolina has a significant presence in the medical device sector. And the manufacturing supply chain is robust when it comes to life sciences, mirroring the strength of the area’s overall manufacturing prowess.
From 2015-2019, medical devices and equipment companies added 35% more jobs and accounted for 11.5% of the new companies coming to the Upstate. And on top of that, more than 700 clinical trials are being undertaken across the Upstate at any given time in the fields of oncology, companion diagnostics, genetics and more.
The Upstate in particular has a network of acclaimed hospitals, technical training schools and more than 26 colleges and universities actively working with industry leaders and educators on all levels to ensure access a highly-skilled workforce for decades to come.
“Spartanburg’s historic advantages when it comes to infrastructure, distribution capabilities and even the county’s location, make it a favorable home for continued investments from biosciences and life science industries,” said O’Neill. “That positions us well for the future as these industries continue to bring higher-wage, knowledge-based jobs to Spartanburg.”
USC Upstate invited to be a member of the SC IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence see more
SPARTANBURG — The University of South Carolina Upstate has been invited to be a member of the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) as a Primarily Undergraduate Institution. As part of the application process, they detailed plans for an eight-week summer research program to support five to six faculty researchers and up to 12 student researchers yearly. If South Carolina is renewed as an IDeA state in 2020, Upstate will receive $500,000 to fund the summer program that they call ER(Up)T (Engaged Research and Training at Upstate) from 2020-2025.
“Investment in the ER(Up)T program will allow USC Upstate to mentor and engage the next generation of biomedical scientists and create a pipeline to increase the number of skilled biomedical professionals in South Carolina,” said Dr. Jeannie Chapman, interim dean of the College of Science and Technology at USC Upstate. “While there is biomedical research being conducted at USC Upstate, the ER(Up)T program will increase our ability to attract and retain more undergraduate students in our laboratories and further enhance the research culture at our institution, particularly amongst underrepresented minorities.”
“This new funding will create a summer research program that offers transformative, high-impact learning experiences for students who wish to pursue a career in biomedical research,” said Dr. Joshua Ruppel, associate professor of chemistry, co-author of the SC INBRE proposal, and ER(Up)T program director. “Over the course of eight weeks, students will conduct research in the laboratory with a faculty mentor and attend a number of research-related activities, including lab meetings about ongoing research, scientific ethics seminars, and graduate school information sessions. The students will be immersed in the culture of basic science research, and they will be provided opportunities that enhance their ability to achieve their career goals.”
According to Chapman, “USC Upstate is uniquely suited to enhance the pipeline of students attending graduate and professional schools in South Carolina. Our student body is primarily composed of S.C. residents (94% of all enrolled students), many of whom choose to stay in South Carolina upon completing their degrees. The research and programming that students will experience through ER(Up)T will increase students’ knowledge of careers in the biomedical sciences, groom them for graduate and professional school, and will ultimately enhance South Carolina’s biomedical industries by way of a better-educated and more scientifically-minded workforce.”
Both Chapman and Ruppel have a clear vision of how creating a summer research program will enhance the biomedical research currently underway at USC Upstate.
“USC Upstate has a vibrant biomedical research program, spearheaded by five faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering,” Chapman said. “During the past five years, their combined research efforts have resulted in 20 peer-reviewed publications that have included multiple undergraduate co-authors, 46 scholarly presentations, and $652,000 of internal and external funding. While their individual efforts and achievements are impressive, this funding support from SC INBRE allows us to create a cohesive undergraduate research program.”
Current biomedical research at USC Upstate includes:
• Dr. Joshua Ruppel, associate professor of chemistry, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program (R15) in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Snyder of Davidson College to support meritorious research, expose students to research, and strengthen the research environment of the institution. His research is used to create and study the interaction of a class of new compounds with a protein associated with certain types of cancer.
• Dr. Bradley Baumgarner, assistant professor of biology, investigates the effect of various xenobiotics on skeletal and cardiac muscle metabolism, growth, and differentiation. In the past five years, his work has been focused on defining the mechanisms by which caffeine promotes macroautophagy and its role in regulating caffeine-dependent protein turnover (protein synthesis/protein degradation) in mammalian skeletal muscle cells.
• Dr. Ginny Webb, assistant professor of microbiology, investigates virulence factors of Cryptococcus neoformans, a facultative intracellular pathogen responsible for the most common cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. She also investigates the transmission of hospital acquired infections, which are a growing public health concern, accounting for 1.7 million infections each year in inpatient or outpatient medical facilities. The research aims to study the mechanisms of transmission of hospital-acquired infections with specific examination of pediatrician outpatient facilities to determine what touch surfaces may harbor pathogenic organisms and therefore potentially serve as a reservoir for harmful microbes.
• Dr. Anselm Omoike, assistant professor of chemistry, investigates the unique magnetic, large surface area, and nontoxic properties of iron oxide nanoparticles (magnetite) in synthesizing materials for drug delivery and biochemical separations. One aim is to coat magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with lysine, producing free surface active amino groups for the delivery of curcumin, a drug with well-established wide ranging chemotherapeutic activities. His other project involves removing allergenic proteins from food products to develop fast and recyclable multilayer magnetic nanoparticles for the removal of major allergens from peanuts and peanut products. This work may contribute to knowledge of the conditions for efficient removal of allergenic proteins from a food system and help produce hypoallergenic peanut products.
• Dr. Kimberly Shorter, assistant professor of biology, investigates the potential negative consequences of excess folic acid consumption and its potential correlation with increases in autism rates. Her lab currently uses a human neuronal cell line as a model for testing the effects of excess folic acid (at a 2x dose) on epigenetic changes (DNA methylation/hydroxymethylation and histone modifications), gene expression changes, and neuromorphological changes (dendritic spines and vesicle trafficking).
SC INBRE is a five-year, $18.2 million renewable grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Grant funds are administered through the University of South Carolina and go to financially supporting biomedical research throughout the State of South Carolina at SC INBRE’s network institutions and outreach institutions.
“We are very pleased to introduce some new faces in the renewal and are excited to see USC Upstate as one of those new faces,” said Cyndy Buckhaults, communications manager with the SC INBRE Program. “USC Upstate has a very active science research component and will be a great fit with the network.”
The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program broadens the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research. The program fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions located in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical, and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.
For more information, contact Dr. Jeannie Chapman at 864-503-5768.
About USC Upstate
The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at #2 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit www.uscupstate.edu.