5-year Phase II COBRE grant will result in more funding to support research conducted at USC see more
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the University of South Carolina a five-year grant totaling more than $11.2 million to support the COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics based at the College of Pharmacy. This is Phase II of the COBRE grant, and follows the five-year Phase I portion of the research grant, which concluded this year.
The COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics (CTT) is directed by SmartState endowed chair and drug discovery and biomedical sciences professor Dr. Igor Roninson, an internationally-recognized researcher in cancer therapeutics.
“Dr. Roninson is an exceedingly accomplished scientist and has been successful in navigating the transition of this Center from the Phase I stage to the Phase II, which is not an easy task. Less than one-half of the Phase I COBREs are successfully converted into a Phase II program,” said Dr. Stephen J. Cutler, Dean of the College of Pharmacy. “Under the Phase I Center, Dr. Roninson has directed the advancement of young faculty members into independently funded scientists, supported the growth of a critical mass of investigators focused on the design and discovery of new therapeutic agents, and enhanced the development of new research cores at the University of South Carolina. Under the Phase II Center grant from NIH, Dr. Roninson should be able to strengthen the Center for Targeted Therapeutics at the UofSC.”
Dr. Roninson was awarded the five-year Phase II COBRE grant of $2,235,000 annually from the National Institutes of Health to support the CTT. This Center was created to attract and foster the professional development of talented junior scientists dedicated to research in the treatment of debilitating diseases and to develop the infrastructure for targeted therapeutic studies.
“Dr. Roninson’s Phase I COBRE-CTT established a cadre of highly talented and successful junior faculty in the College of Pharmacy, College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine, whose research efforts focused on the discovery of new drug targets,” said Dr. Kim Creek, Associate Dean of Research at the College of Pharmacy. “The impact of the COBRE-CTT on research productivity at UofSC is substantial and far reaching. The Phase II award will provide funding for the COBRE-CTT for an additional five years and will support the hiring of additional junior faculty in the area of targeted therapeutics and allow for overall growth of this thriving Center.”
The Center for Targeted Therapeutics includes three resource cores, including the Functional Genomics Core, the Drug Design and Synthesis Core and the Microscopy and Flow Cytometry Core. A core director is assigned to each of the research cores. These experts provide scientific advice in project development, along with technological support.
For more information on the College of Pharmacy’s COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics, visit: https://tinyurl.com/yyy72s6c
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.
Pastides to Chair SC Institute of Medicine & Public Health Board see more
The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is pleased to announce new executive officers and members of the Board of Directors. Dr. Harris Pastides has been named Chair and Mr. Joel A. Smith III Vice-Chair. Dr. Pastides is President of the University of South Carolina. Mr. Joel Smith is Dean Emeritus, University of South Carolina Moore School of Business and President (retired) of Bank of America East and will be serving a second term in this role. Ms. Pamela Lackey, President (retired), AT&T South Carolina, is the immediate past Chair.
Dr. Pastides shared, “I am honored to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health. South Carolina continues to face persistent and emerging health challenges while the health care and public health systems are adapting to new technologies and payment models. IMPH is uniquely situated to share nonpartisan, evidence-based policy solutions, and I look forward to advancing these matters of importance for all South Carolinians.”
Joining the board for the first time for the 2019-2021 term is Ms. Lou Kennedy, President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Ms. Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2007. She is currently the new chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. She is also involved in a variety of other business and civic boards, including but not limited to, the National Bank of South Carolina Board, USC Athletic Department Board, Columbia College Board of Trustees and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.
Dr. David Cole, President, Medical University of South Carolina; Mr. Joel A. Smith III, Dean Emeritus, University of South Carolina Moore School of Business and President (retired) of Bank of America East; and Mr. Richard Wilkerson, Chairman and President (retired), Michelin North America were all elected for renewed terms to serve 2019-2021.
“I have the privilege of working with an incredible board dedicated to improving health and health care in South Carolina, said Executive Director Kester Freeman. “Ms. Lackey’s vision and leadership has steadily guided the IMPH Board of Directors for the past two years, and I am thankful she will continue her term of service on our board through 2020. Mr. Smith’s re-election as Vice-Chair provides additional continuity of leadership on the executive committee as Dr. Pastides becomes Chair. I am thrilled Dr. Pastides has agreed to provide his leadership and vision as we continue to grow the Institute.”
During the past year, IMPH has undergone an intensive strategic planning process and assessment of operational roles and functions. As a result, new organizational roles have been established to better meet the needs of the Institute. Co-directors Ms. Maya Pack and Dr. Megan Weis will start their new roles effective January 1, 2019.
Ms. Maya Pack will serve as Associate Executive Director. She will continue to lead business and financial management of the Institute, and will now manage all programs and contracts including SCale Down, Behavioral Health and Long-Term Care, the Health Policy Fellows Program and other legislative services.
Dr. Megan Weis will serve as Senior Director of Strategic Engagement to build and expand the Institute’s communications, impact evaluation and development work, as well as continuing to foster relationships in-state and nationally.
With the support of the Board of Directors and the continued executive leadership of Mr. Freeman, these updates will support IMPH’s vision to be the leading and trusted nonpartisan resource for research-based information on South Carolina’s most critical public health issues.
IMPH Board of Directors
- Dr. Harris Pastides, (chair), President, University of South Carolina
- Mr. Joel A. Smith III, (vice-chair), Dean Emeritus, USC Moore School of Business; President (retired), Bank of America East
- The Honorable Terry Alexander, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives
- Mr. William Barnet, CEO, Barnet Development
- Dr. David J. Cole, President, Medical University of South Carolina
- The Honorable Ronnie Cromer, Member, South Carolina Senate
- The Honorable Jim Hodges, President and CEO, McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC; Former Governor, State of South Carolina
- Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Professor, Medical University of South Carolina
- Ms. Lou Kennedy, President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
- Ms. Pamela Lackey, President (retired), AT&T South Carolina
- Mr. Ed Sellers, Chairman, Board of Directors, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
- The Honorable Inez M. Tenenbaum, Of Counsel, Wyche P.A.; Former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product
- Safety Commission; Former Superintendent of Education, State of South Carolina
- Dr. Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Associate Vice President for Health Research, Clemson University; Chief Science Officer, Greenville Health System
- Mr. Richard Wilkerson, Chairman and President (retired), Michelin North America
- Dr. Gerald Wilson, Surgeon (retired), Midlands Surgical Associates
Chad Hardaway discusses The Office of Economic Engagement at the University of South Carolina and its newest programsChad Hardaway of USC discusses new programs in this interview. see more
The Office of Economic Engagement (OEE) was formed in 2013 at the University of South Carolina to better connect businesses with the resources of a top-tier research institution.
The OEE offers businesses one point of contact at the university. Four critical functions are now all housed under one roof: 1) technology commercialization, 2) the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, 3) the Innovista Research campus, and 4) the Corporate Solutions Group.
Under this organizational structure, the Office of Economic Engagement builds academic and industry partnerships, facilitates the commercialization of research, connects new and existing businesses with university talent and resources, and fosters entrepreneurship and small business development.
This year, the University of South Carolina is starting a new graduate program, the MS in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurial Engineering. It is the only graduate program in the State of South Carolina that places a high premium on students with an engineering and science background, blending their technical and business skills in an entrepreneurial way.
Industry subject matter experts to cover what businesses need to know about state industry see more
GREENVILLE, SC – February 14, 2018 – SCBIO will host a half-day program March 14, 2018 -- South Carolina Life Sciences Boot Camp: Essentials of a Growing Industry – to inform and update businesses and professionals from across the state on opportunities, trends and issues facing South Carolina’s fastest-growing industry segment.
To be held at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia, the program will run from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and will feature a light breakfast followed by presentations from over half a dozen noted life sciences industry leaders. Confirmed presenters and their topics are:
- Burnie Maybank, Author of the SC Life Sciences Act; Partner, Nexsen Pruet, “Life Sciences industry Economic Development Incentives”
- Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, “M&A 101 in the Life Sciences Space”
- Kathryn Cole Becker, Principal, Translational Science Solutions, “FDA 101 for Medical Devices”
- Jeff Stover, Partner, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, “IP Essentials for Life Sciences”
- John Osborne, Partner, Good Growth Capital, “Introduction to Life Science Innovation & Entrepreneurship”
- Public Policy Hot Topics – Speaker to be announced
Attendance is free to SCBIO members and employees of SCBIO member companies, and available for only $75 to Non-Members. Advance registration is required, and space is limited. To register, visit www.SCBIO.org/Events.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.
SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations. SCBIO’s diverse membership is leading research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.
For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.