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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Campus collaborator guides research success

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
When it comes to legacies, it’s hard to beat Peggy Schachte's record.
After 39 years of service, Schachte will retire in June having founded the Office of Research Development (ORD) and helped MUSC get to a record-breaking level of research funding of more than $217 million.
Peggy Schachte, who retired June 17, looks forward to gardening.

Schachte, as ORD director, mastered various duties during her career as advisor, facilitator, strategist, advocate and leader to faculty, staff and the campus’ research community. But no role is probably more meaningful to her than that as university mentor and friend.
Since 1993, Schachte has led her development team to work closely with campus researchers as they conceptualize, strategize, discuss and develop grant proposals for competitive funding. Her team has also played a strong advisory role in guiding university leadership on the best opportunities for the institution.
During her career, she’s outlasted six College of Medicine deans and four university presidents. She has witnessed unprecedented growth around the institution’s 76-acre campus with the expansion of clinical services, education and research facilities. In 2005, she received MUSC's Distinguished Faculty Service Award recognizing her exceptional contributions to the university.
To celebrate her accomplishments, Schachte was honored with a resolution of appreciation on Feb. 12 by the MUSC Board of Trustees highlighting her storied career, leadership and contributions in providing research support and administrative expertise to advance the institution’s research mission.
Her arrival on MUSC’s campus in 1969 could not have been more timely. A Charleston native, Schachte received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Duke University. Her first job was in the Department of Psychiatry, helping edit a new book on Rorschach Theory and Symbolism. Later, she worked on a psychiatric and mental health curriculum for medical students. In 1981, she left Charleston to attend Emory University and earned her MBA and later returned to the Lowcountry.
In 1981, she was named executive vice president of the Drug Science Foundation, an organization that helped South Carolina investigators advance their research and discoveries with patenting, licensing and  partnerships with private industry. It was here that Schachte honed her skills working with research faculty and university leadership at MUSC, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University.
It wasn’t until around the mid-1980s that the MUSC campus was ready to define and embrace a larger research mission. Discussions took place among Rosalie Crouch, Ph.D., former College of Graduate Studies dean and vice provost for research, College of Medicine dean emeritus Layton McCurdy, M.D., and Schachte to explore ways to provide basic scientists and clinical researchers with administrative support and guidance in developing grant applications. In January 1994, the Office of Research Development opened to assist principal investigators, program leaders, new investigators and research trainees in this capacity.
“Peggy’s expertise was needed at this time because there was no infrastructure in place, no training, resources or administrative support to help coordinate large grants and provide other needed services,” Crouch said. “The Office of Research Development helped take MUSC to its next level of research goals.”
Schachte was instrumental in guiding MUSC to success in obtaining three National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grants supporting major research programs in cardiovascular biology, oral health and lipidomics. Since 2001, this series of grants has brought MUSC almost $60 million in research support.
Associate provost for research Stephen M. Lanier, Ph.D., praised Schachte for her vision and strategic thinking in pursuing COBRE’s and other opportunities to provide core resources and seed funding as a foundation for future growth. She also earned national recognition as the administrative center director for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Proteomics Initiative, a national network of 10 research centers.
Schachte and her team were successful in pursuing infrastructure funding such as shared instrumentation grants and the $20 million Clinical Translational Science Award grant that was awarded in 2009. She also was responsible for establishing the key processes and services for preparing research training and career development grants. Training grants, according to Lanier, are a signature mark of a quality academic research institution. ORD regularly sponsors research project grant retreats for new and experienced investigators to review proposals and gain constructive feedback.
“Peggy’s helped position MUSC to be competitive in all these grants,” Lanier said. “She’s provided a great infrastructure for success throughout these years that will be her legacy.”

$50,000 Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award established
In honor of MUSC Office of Research Development director Peggy Schachte’s commitment and contributions to MUSC, the College of Medicine and MUSC Foundation have established the Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award in the amount of $50,000.
The award recognizes individuals who assist faculty in obtaining research support from both private and public organizations and government agencies.
A qualifying honoree can be a faculty mentor or colleague who is widely recognized in faculty mentoring. The mentorship must have led directly to a significant research award by an associate professor or lower rank faculty individual.
Recipients shall be chosen by a committee of faculty-appointed by the provost who survey the faculties of all colleges to find the individual who, during the past year, has been an outstanding research mentor. The award will be presented at the MUSC Faculty Convocation event and will carry a $1,000 stipend.
To make a donation, visit Click Make a Gift, then College of Medicine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

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.