Our research changes lives worldwide
School of Medicine scientists conduct research that changes lives in South Carolina, across the nation, and around the world. Researchers work collaboratively with colleagues throughout the university from a variety of academic disciplines, as well as with peers around the United States.
Research areas include:
State-funded Research Centers of Economic Excellence are devoted to cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, brain imaging, biomedical ethics, health services, primary health care, and -- most recently -- research to improve the independence and mobility of senior citizens through a program called SeniorSMART®. All research centers are fully funded when the university and its partners raise matching dollars. The school is also a key component of the university's Innovista research and innovation district. Biomedical and health sciences are among the university's core research areas, and one of Innovista's first developments, Discovery Plaza, is planned as a home for both university and private scientists specializing in biomedical research.
Major research funding for the school includes significant grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Duke Endowment.
A $6 million NIH grant will study the effect of plant materials from red grapes, ginseng and hemp on autoimmune diseases. Principal investigator is Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, associate dean for basic science at the School of Medicine; his wife, Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti, chair of the department of pathology and microbiology, is also on the research team.
A recently announced $10.7 million, five-year NIH grant to the University's Center for Colon Cancer Research will fund a collaborative team that includes five researchers from the School of Medicine and colleagues from biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, statistics, pharmacy, public health, the Dorn VA Medical Center, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Representing the School of Medicine are Troy Baudino, assistant professor, Cell and Developmental Biology and Anatomy; Phillip J. Buckhaults, Ph.D., assistant professor, Pathology and Microbiology; Kim E. Creek, Ph.D., professor, Pathology and Microbiology; Robert L. Price, Ph.D., professor, Cell and Developmental Biology and Anatomy; and Patricia A. Wood, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Internal Medicine, and associate professor, Pathology.
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Buckhaults has conducted extensive cancer research. Working with scientists at 11 cancer centers nationwide, he and his colleagues published a study in the journal Science in October 2007 in which they examined the DNA sequence of 18,000 genes and identified 280 that are usually mutated in breast and colon cancers. Buckhaults previously helped uncover 176 genes, many of which had never before been linked to cancer, in a study also published in Science, in September 2006.
Drs. Tom Borg and Bob Price of the School of Medicine and a researcher at the University of California at San Diego are working together in a bioengineering study of heart disease under a $1 million NSF grant. The three-year study is developing computer models showing how many factors, including drug interactions, affect the heart.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences -- part of the NIH -- has awarded faculty from the School of Medicine and the Arnold School of Public Health more than $1.35 million to identify suspect organic and inorganic chemicals during critical periods of intrauterine exposure that are associated with child developmental disabilities and mental retardation. Dr. Suzanne McDermott of the Department of Family and and Preventive Medicine is the principal investigator.
South Carolina is among seven state universities to share a $17.3 million NIH grant to support biomedical research and increase educational opportunities for undergraduates. The award is among the largest grants ever awarded in South Carolina. The School of Medicine and College of Engineering and Computing are engaged in bioengineering research on tissue engineering for repair and rejuvenation of the cardiovascular system. The school has also received $1.1 million from the Duke Endowment to integrate health information technology and primary care education and training, help establish the S.C. Institute for Childhood Obesity and Related Disorders, and create the communication technology required to integrate medical education around the state.
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations has awarded the school a $200,000 grant to help medical schools throughout the United States enhance geriatric education for medical students. The grant will go toward the study of senior mentor programs and could lead to recommendations on how medical schools can incorporate the best practices of these programs into their own curricula.
AREAS OF RESEARCH