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Clyburn Center Opens New Era

MUSC dedicates new bioengineering and drug discovery hubs

Federal, state and local dignitaries helped usher in a new chapter in South Carolina's growing biomedical research effort with the Oct. 21 dedication of a laboratory complex designed to speed up cures and treatments for major diseases.

The James E. Clyburn Research Center houses 78 labs and other facilities in 211,481 square feet of space. The two buildings — one for bioengineering and one for drug discovery — are interconnected, as are the labs within them. By combining experts from different disciplines and from across statewide research institutions, MUSC hopes to take the science as quickly as possible from the lab to the patient's bedside with improved treatments, medications and medical devices.

MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., said the discoveries coming out of these buildings will enable MUSC to diagnose problems earlier and treat them more effectively, and also will help address health disparities that exist in the state. Cancer, Alzheimer's disease and heart disorders are just some of the medical problems scientists will study in the new complex.

Open stairwells on the econd floor of the Bioengineering Building reflect the center's vision of collaboration. For information on the Clyburn center, visit

"Our hope is that this research center will result in a stronger and more vibrant biomedical community in Charleston and South Carolina," he said.

Within the center, investigators from numerous MUSC departments share space with scientists, faculty and students from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina. Large auditoria and teleconferencing technologies allow face-to-face interaction with investigators around the world. The first international symposium will be held there within a month, bringing together leading heart researchers from across the world.

The center also will promote more partnerships with private industry to help speed up technology transfer and intellectual property commercialization. It will house at least eight of the state-supported SmartState Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Chairs who were recruited to help drive the knowledge-based economy of the state.

The state also played a critical role in funding the construction of the almost $120 million project, with half of the cost paid through the Research University Infrastructure Act passed by the S. C. General Assembly in 2004.
Greenberg said the result is a place where some of the state's best minds in medicine, chemistry, physics, engineering, and genetics can accelerate the rate at which they can collect, interpret and apply new information.

This aerial shot shows the Bioengineering Building left and Drug Discovery on the right with its tall watch tower.

"If you want to know what our strategic plan for addressing the health needs of this state looks like, just take a look at what will be happening in these two buildings."

Breeding Discovery, Growth
In addition to leveraging the state's investment in research and education, the center also puts the state in a stronger position to recruit more world-class researchers through the SmartState Centers of Economic Excellence Endowed Chairs program and other initiatives. Key in pushing health discoveries forward are the current endowed chairs and statewide collaboration across all three research institutions.

Clemson University President James F. Barker said that the university has worked in biomaterials since the 1960s. However, faculty quickly determined that although there was a good understanding of biomaterials, they lacked such an understanding of medicine or surgery. Those strengths were found at MUSC and with other partners. When combined, there exists a real opportunity to make a difference in the quality of life of the people of our state, Barker said.

"This partnership has been building for some time, and I'm delighted to see the program have a home at the James E. Clyburn Research Center at MUSC," he said. "This facility will become home to some amazing advances in technology."

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, Ph.D., echoed Barker's comments: "Congressman Jim Clyburn's advocacy for the health and well-being of the citizens of this state is well known. The research and clinical care that will take place here, through the collaboration of scientists and health care professionals from our state's three research universities, will make a lasting impact on this state and be a fitting legacy for a leader who has devoted his career to improving the lives of South Carolinians."

Eliminating Health Disparities
The center was named after U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) for his long-standing efforts to correct health disparities in South Carolina and for his support of biomedical research.

Congressman James E. Clyburn represents a congressional district home to some of the nation's highest rates of stroke, diabetes and prostate cancer deaths. His district also has fewer than half the number of physicians per 1,000 people than the rest of the state. Technologies that come out of these buildings will fundamentally change how care is delivered, work to remove geography and diminish economics as barriers to health care.

Clyburn said he is deeply honored to have his name associated with MUSC and the great work that will take place in these research facilities.

Rep. James E. Clyburn smiles back at a bottle cap portrait of himself.

"My commitment to addressing inequities in our health care system has been a lifelong passion, and it is an important mission here at MUSC. This state-of-the-art research center is evidence of this university's commitment to improving and advancing the delivery of health care, and I am proud to be a part of it," he said.

James E. Clyburn Research Center

Drug Discovery Building

  • Cell Death, Injury & Regeneration
  • Cell & Molecular Imaging Core
  • College of Pharmacy-CVS Pharmacy Practice Laboratory
  • Drug Discovery Research Laboratories
  • Drug Design and Synthesis Laboratories
  • Drug Metabolism & Clinical Pharmacology Core
  • Hollings Cancer Center Research Laboratories
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core
  • Neurosciences Research Laboratories
  • Renal Biology Research Laboratory
  • Organ Biology: Drug Discovery and Disease models
  • Pharmacology Research Laboratories
  • SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Cancer Drug Discovery
  • SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Translational Cancer Therapeutics
  • SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Cancer Drug Discovery
  • Structural Biology Research Laboratories

Bioengineering Building

  • Bioengineering machine shop
  • Biorepository
  • Cancer Disparities
  • Cancer Genomics Program
  • Cancer Prevention & Control
  • Center for Biomedical Imaging
  • Clemson-MUSC Biomedical Engineering Program
  • Clemson-MUSC Orthopedic Engineering
  • Clemson-MUSC Biomedical Engineering Program
  • College of Graduate Studies
  • Foundation for Research Development Hollings Cancer Center
  • Hollings Cancer Center Research Laboratories
  • Neurosciences Research Laboratory
  • SmartState Center of Economic Excellence for Brain Imaging
  • SmartState Center of Economic Excellence in Regenerative Medicine
  • South Carolina Bioengineering Alliance




Friday, Oct. 28, 2011

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.