July 23, 2009
CHARLESTON -- 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.
Lead scientist for the project, Roger Markwald, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), said, “We are trying to build tissue and organs from the inside out, which is a different approach than anyone has taken. 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 & 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. SCRA 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:
• Expansion of a current MUSC bioprinting program into a statewide Advanced Tissue Biofabrication center
• Recruitment of 22 new faculty with expertise not currently available in South Carolina
• Creation of a global e-community to facilitate the development of sophisticated databases in vascular technology
• Establishment of national and international academic industrial collaborations and the integration of statewide initiatives for workforce development, education and communication to the general public
• 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.
John Raymond, M.D., chair of the State EPSCoR/IDeA Committee and vice president for academic affairs and provost at MUSC, said, “This is an opportunity to do groundbreaking research to help people here and around the world.”
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including approximately 2,000 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic or clinical services, visit http://www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com.
About SC EPSCoR/IDeA
The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) are federal-state-university partnerships designed to increase research capacity and competitiveness for federal R&D funds.
South Carolina EPSCoR/IDeA leverages federal resources with support from the SC General Assembly to build research infrastructure; infuse research into education; provide opportunities for diverse groups of institutions, students, faculty and disciplines in science and technology; and increase collaboration among key stakeholders of the state’s science and technology enterprise. Since 1990, SC EPSCoR/IDeA funds have enabled the hire of 95 junior, tenure-track faculty members in science and technology at five South Carolina colleges and universities.
SC EPSCoR/IDeA has supported research in disciplines such as biomedical engineering; neuroscience; alternative energy; nanomaterials; structural, chemical, and cellular biology; and environmental science bringing more than $185 million in federal research funding to the state.
For more information, visit: www.scepscoridea.org.