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NSF announces $20M research award to S.C.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded South Carolina $20 million to establish a statewide alliance in the field of tissue biofabrication, which could lead to the production of human organs.
“We are trying to build tissue and organs from the inside out, which is a different approach than anyone has taken,” said lead scientist for the project, Roger Markwald, Ph.D., MUSC. “First, we want to create a three-dimensional vascular tree and then the organ. This will allow us to develop the applications to build many different types of organs.”  

The alliance includes the state’s three doctoral granting research universities, Clemson University, MUSC and the University of South Carolina. Three historically black colleges and universities, Claflin University, South Carolina State University and Voorhees College, are included. Furman University and the University of South Carolina-Beaufort are also members of the alliance.  Two-year technical colleges participating in the research are Denmark Technical College and Greenville Technical College. Principal investigator for the award is Jerry Odom, Ph.D., executive director of the University of South Carolina Foundations. South Carolina Research Authority will serve as fiscal agent of the award.
“Dr. Markwald is to be congratulated on his leadership of this broadly based team effort,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., MUSC president. “South Carolina has brought together strengths from many institutions and the collective effort has placed us among the leaders nationally in this important research area.”
The award provides for:

  1. Expansion of a current MUSC bioprinting program into a statewide Advanced Tissue Biofabrication center
  2. Recruitment of 22 new faculty with expertise not currently available in South Carolina
  3. Creation of a global e-community to facilitate the development of sophisticated databases in vascular technology.
  4. Establishment of national and international academic industrial collaborations and the integration of statewide initiatives for workforce development, education and communication to the general public  q  Integration of the alliance’s research with K-12 education to build South Carolina’s future high-tech workforce.  Educational innovations include development of e-textbooks and new curricula. New graduate degree programs and postdoctoral and graduate research training are planned across the state. Training opportunities for South Carolina’s reporters and journalism students will enable in-depth reporting of scientific achievements and will enhance science literacy statewide.

This NSF award will connect regional, national and international cyber-networks and support collaborative e-communities for education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Other activities will bridge South Carolina’s minority serving programs and integrate with the science, education, communication and sustainability plans of the project.
“This is an opportunity to do groundbreaking research to help people here and around the world,” said John Raymond, M.D., chair of the State EPSCoR/IDeA Committee (South Carolina Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and Institutional Awards) and vice president for academic affairs and provost at MUSC.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.