Winthrop Receives $920K as Part of SC INBRE Grant
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Winthrop Receives $920K as Part of SC INBRE Grant

September 28, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Winthrop, which will receive $920,000 from the grant, has been a part of the network from its 2005 inception and has flourished in its 15 years of membership.
  • The INBRE grants have provided more than 450 research experiences for Winthrop undergraduates and prepared more than 130 students to pursue doctoral degrees in biomedical sciences.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University is part of the fourth consecutive grant of $18.9 million to the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) to support biomedical research and infrastructure in South Carolina.

Winthrop, which will receive $920,000 from the grant, has been a part of the network from its 2005 inception and has flourished in its 15 years of membership, providing more than 450 research experiences for Winthrop undergraduates and preparing more than 130 students to pursue doctoral degrees in biomedical sciences. It also has promoted increased diversity in the biomedical workforce and helped train the next generation of biomedical scientists.

Winthrop Provost Adrienne McCormick said the university’s faculty members have achieved and surpassed the goals of the program over the first three grant cycles. “Our students and our state have benefited greatly from this program,” she said.

The initiative, which is funded from the National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, will last through 2025, and it will support continued undergraduate research training, expand recruiting efforts to attract more motivated science students to Winthrop and grow the Eagle STEM Scholars Program, which prepares students from underrepresented, low-income and first-generation groups to matriculate into doctoral programs. 

Heading up the project for Winthrop are Principal Investigator Robin Lammi (chemistry) and Co-Principal Investigators Jay Hanna (chemistry) and Kristen Abernathy (mathematics). They will be joined by a large cohort of faculty research mentors across four departments: biology, human nutrition (new for INBRE IV), mathematics, and chemistry, physics and geology.

Together, INBRE faculty will train at least 32 undergraduates per year, engaging them in collaborative and/or interdisciplinary research to prepare them for today’s biomedical workforce. Researchers will participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE, founded in 2006 as a result of INBRE I funding), which will incorporate a new series of professional development workshops. They will also support on-campus science and math activities for high-school students. In addition, the federal and Winthrop funds will provide continued support to expand the Winthrop Eagle STEM Scholars Program. Winthrop aims to broaden the impact of this highly successful program, expanding each cohort of students by up to 33 percent. 

With this fourth cycle for the five-year grant, the SC INBRE Program will grow to a statewide network of 14 member institutions, two outreach institutions and two alumni institutions. SC INBRE is administered by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia (UofSC SOMC).

SC INBRE had a huge impact on biomedical research in South Carolina during the third cycle from 2015-20, educators said.

Edie Goldsmith, UofSC SOMC professor of cell biology and anatomy and SC INBRE program director, said the first four years of INBRE III showed that statewide, 415 students were trained in biomedical research labs in the SC INBRE network.

For the S.C. students who completed their undergraduate education in INBRE III, 44 percent enrolled in graduate school, 17 percent went to medical/health professional school and 39 percent obtained a job in industry. SC INBRE faculty and students produced more than 100 publications and gave more than 600 presentations.

Their work led to more than $9 million in extramural funding from a variety of federal and non-federal sources. Fostering inter-institutional collaborations and promoting a research culture at teaching institutions, SC INBRE contributed to a collaborative federal award which brought in $12.5 million in research dollars to South Carolina.

Besides Winthrop and UofSC, other SC INBRE member institutions for this fourth grant are: Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina, Benedict College (new in this INBRE renewal), Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Columbia College (new in this INBRE renewal), Converse College, Francis Marion University, Furman University, Presbyterian College, University of South Carolina Aiken and University of South Carolina Upstate (new in this INBRE renewal).

Graduating as members from SC INBRE, but remaining a part of the network as alumni institutions, are Claflin University and South Carolina State University. The two Outreach Institutions in the network are Anderson University and The Citadel (new to this INBRE renewal).

Concluded Goldsmith, “With the changing demographics in our state and country, engaging a diverse undergraduate student population in biomedical research through the SC INBRE program will ensure a well-educated workforce of physicians, scientists, healthcare providers and other professionals prepared to address the current and future health care problems in America.”

For more contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu or call 803/323-2404.

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Last Updated: 11/9/20