MUSC marks milestone with $27 million in COBRE grants

Heather Woolwine

Sept.12, 2012

MUSC marks milestone with $27 million in COBRE grants

Federal IDeA program renewals promise increased research capacity

CHARLESTON -- The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is now home to four National Institutes of Health (NIH) Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), totaling more than $27 million. COBRE is a component of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, which encourages health-related research and supports faculty development and research infrastructure.

MUSC was recently recognized for its research achievements with unprecedented, simultaneous COBRE renewals for three centers, including cardiovascular, oral health, and lipidomics research.

• The COBRE for Oral Health Research is focused on training researchers to become established investigators and academic leaders in the College of Dental Medicine's oral and craniofacial health research program.

• The COBRE in Cardiovascular Developmental Biology is an active partnership between MUSC and the University of South Carolina to conduct fundamental studies of cardiovascular developmental biology and determine how these mechanisms can be applied to adult cardiovascular diseases and stem cell-based regenerative medicine.

• The COBRE in Lipidomics and Pathobiology focuses on mentoring junior investigators to establish research programs on the role of bioactive lipids in human disease development and progression, such as in cancer, neurodegeneration, and angiogenesis.

In 2011, MUSC received a fourth COBRE award to establish a Center in Oxidants, Redox Balance and Stress Signaling. Redox biology and stress signaling play a critical role in a number of diseases including organ damage and cancer. In addition to developing a strong foundation in key targeted research areas, the COBRE awards also provide resources for acquiring and supporting a number of advanced technologies and equipment.

MUSC Associate Provost for Research Stephen Lanier, Ph.D., said, "The programmatic initiatives involving the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence and related infrastructure development grants from the National Institutes of Health have simply been transformative for MUSC and have played important roles in the dramatic growth of research programs at the university over the last 10 years."

According to Fred Taylor, Ph.D., NIH IDeA program official, MUSC exemplifies what the COBRE program was meant to do for health-related research. "The next phase of support will enable the centers to enhance and extend these activities, thereby continuing to make important contributions to improving research capacity and health in South Carolina, the region, and the nation."

About MUSC

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 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 700-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 information or clinical services, visit For more information on hospital patient services,