PARTNERSHIP EXPANDS GENETICS RESEARCH
Clemson and Greenwood Genetic Center have announced a collaborative effort that could result in better treatments for chronic disorders such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease — known for high prevalence in South Carolina.
The two joined to break ground in June for a 17,000-square-foot research and education building at the existing J.C. Self Research Institute. Located at the Greenwood Genetic Center, the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics will recruit companies engaged in research and development in the areas of human diagnostics, cognitive development, central nervous system, autism, birth defects, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The nearly 15-acre site within Greenwood Research Park was donated by Greenwood County and the Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works.
The project will expand Clemson’s doctoral program in human genetics, create an internationally competitive research and development team and expand research capabilities at the Self Institute. Steven A. Skinner, Greenwood Genetic Center director and senior clinical geneticist, said the collaboration between Clemson and the center provides the foundation for the advancement of genetic diagnosis and therapeutics for patients not only across South Carolina, but globally.
In his remarks, President Barker said that the collaboration “creates a center with state-of-the-art genetic equipment and expertise in the heart of South Carolina.” Like the International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville and the Restoration Institute in Charleston, the Greenwood center will be underpinned by a coordinated program with three primary elements: education, research and economic development.
BUSINESS SCHOOL GETS A MAIN STREET HOME
Clemson’s presence in downtown Greenville soon will have a new home in the ONE Building, thanks to a gift of office, classroom and storefront space valued at more than $9 million from the partners of Greenville ONE: Hughes Development Corp. and GAB Properties LLC.
“All of the Upstate has been energized by Clemson’s goal to become a top-20 university. Part of that quest would include a top business school,” said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp. “Having the chance to locate such a school in downtown Greenville will benefit Clemson and Greenville tremendously, but it will also benefit the students and faculty and, we hope, help Clemson reach its goal — to the benefit of everyone in South Carolina.”
The total gift-in-kind includes 70,000 square feet. The College of Business and Behavioral Science (CBBS) will occupy four floors of the new building. The space will house graduate programs, including the MBA program, which enrolls more than 300 students. The master’s programs in management, marketing, accountancy, finance and real estate development also will be housed there, as well as the Center for Corporate Learning, the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Greenville Branch of the Small Business Development Center.
“Moving to ONE will allow us to continue on our mission of delivering the highest-quality business education in the Upstate,” said Greg Pickett, CBBS associate dean who is leading Clemson’s downtown initiatives. “The location and layout of the building are inviting in and of themselves, but it’s the technology and cutting edge classroom spaces that will have the biggest impact for our students.”
SINGERS TOUR ITALY
Clemson’s premier choral ensemble, CU Singers, performed at Santa Maria de Ricci in Florence during their recent trip to Italy. The group, directed by Justin Durham, performed a selection of high Renaissance music and African-American spirituals in some of Italy’s most historic venues in Rome, Florence and Venice.
TINY PROBLEMS FOR BIG SOLUTIONS
In 1976, a tiny bacterium in the water at the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia made big news when hundreds of veterans fell ill with pneumonia. That bacterium is still present in water all around us, and it’s possible the water we use daily could expose us to Legionnaires’ disease. Clemson microbiologist Tamara McNealy is working to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Most people take it for granted that the water in which they swim, shower, wash the dog, and soak the dishes is pretty safe. However, there is real reason to think about it more cautiously. Man-made aquatic systems, if not treated properly, become fertile hosts for biofilm communities of microbes – including Legionella pneumophila (i.e., Legionnaires’ disease). If these pathogens are aerated, they can be breathed by humans – and so begins an outbreak.
McNealy’s research involves investigating how biofilms in these systems persist and how they disperse. How, why and when are the kind of basic but critical scientific questions McNealy asks in the full scope of her research dealing with the biology of bacteria. Explaining the colonizing of pathogens in water systems is, of course, one key piece of the puzzle she is assembling.
Using nanoparticles — ultrafine particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size — McNealy’s research is aimed at developing new tools for eliminating biofilms from our water systems already affected by contamination. It is work that uses classic lab science to safeguard human health.
This same technique may aid another area and lead to reducing health care costs by reprocessing and reusing medical devices. “By their very design, including many small crevices, medical instruments are difficult to clean and, for that reason, are often used once and then disposed of,” she explains. Integrating nanoparticles into the cleaning process is one feasible way to improve removal of potentially pathogenic bacteria adhered to these surfaces and extend the useful life of these instruments.
McNealy’s research opportunities received a boost recently when her lab was moved to Clemson’s new 100,000-square-foot Life Sciences facility, a $50 million home to the University’s microbiologists. The facility’s 25 laboratories are organized by research clusters to encourage collaboration. “This is exciting in many ways,” explains McNealy, associate professor of biology. “The more microbiologists can be together in one building, the more we can talk about our research and discover new ideas we might be able to generate.”
PIPE BAND PERFORMS AT SCOTTISH GAMES
The Upstate United Pipe Band, a group of Clemson students, faculty and alumni, played at the Greenville Scottish Games in May. For more than 10 years, the bagpipe band has performed and competed in Scottish games across South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, as well as competed against other university bands. They also have provided halftime entertainment during home football games.
The group, which prides itself in making Scottish music accessible to everyone, partners with the student-run Clemson University bagpipe and drum club, and offers lessons in piping and drumming for players of all ages and skill levels.
HANDS-ON LEARNING BENEFITS UNDERSERVED AND UNINSURED
This summer, nursing and public health students tackled the issue of health care for underserved and uninsured populations. And they didn’t learn about it from books or lectures.
Instead, they provided head-to-toe physicals for uninsured women, focusing on heart and breast health, two of the leading causes of death among women 45 and older in the United States. Others held clinics for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, offering flu shots, physicals, acute care, and diabetes and hypertension screenings and management.
Supervised by professional faculty and staff from the Joseph F. Sullivan Center, Clemson’s interdisciplinary health center, the students worked in partnership with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Best Chance Network, WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) and South Carolina Primary Healthcare Association programs. Additional students majoring in languages and recreational therapy pitched in as well.
The program benefits patients like “Betty,” who received her physical at a clinic held at the AnMed Health Infusion Center in Anderson.
“I love this program,” said Betty, whose own mother died of breast cancer at age 52. “As you get older, it (staying healthy) gets harder, and we all just want to be healthy.”
“These partnerships have been invaluable in so many ways,” said Sullivan Center director Paula Watt. “Not only do our students learn skills that they will take with them after graduation, but they also learn about the health care needs of underserved populations.”
GRAMOPADHYE NAMED DEAN OF ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE
Anand Gramopadhye, associate vice president for workforce development and chair of the industrial engineering department, took over the reins as dean of the College of Engineering and Science on July 1.
Gramopadhye has had an impressive track record at Clemson. Under his leadership, the industrial engineering department increased in enrollment, research and scholarship. He helped create the Center for Workforce Development, which partners with statewide K-12 institutions, technical colleges, industry and other academic institutions and centers inside and outside the state to address STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — issues to meet the needs of South Carolina’s 21st century knowledge economy. The center is home to the National Science Foundation Advanced Technical Education Center for Automotive and Aviation Education.
With research focusing on solving human-machine system design problems and modeling human performance in technologically complex systems, such as health care, aviation and manufacturing, Gramopadhye has been principal investigator for more than 75 research grants and awards, generating more than $45 million in funding.
FLUOR GIFT STRENGTHENS INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING’S GLOBAL FOCUS
With the addition of a $1.5 million gift from the Fluor Corporation’s philanthropic foundation, the industrial engineering graduate program will broaden its scope internationally. The gift will establish the Fluor-Clemson International Capital Projects Supply Chain Partnership Endowment, funding additional applied research in broader global geographic areas of the world, including India, China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
The master’s program in capital project supply chain and logistics will benefit from the increased global reach by the addition of region-specific content to the curriculum and attracting a more diverse student population.
“The importance of the global supply chain has increased exponentially for engineering, procurement and construction companies since Fluor and Clemson first established the Fluor Endowed Chair of Supply Chain and Logistics at Clemson in 2007,” said David Seaton, chairman and CEO of Fluor Corporation, who also chairs the Fluor Foundation.
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said Clemson’s existing program focuses on supply chains in the U.S. scale. “This initiative will enable students to gain a greater understanding of supply chains on an international level, which will make their educational experience more relevant in global business — and more valuable to their employers.”
CLEMSON, GHS PARTNER TO CREATE “RESEARCH ENGINE”
Clemson and Greenville Health System (GHS ) have established a health care research partnership that will allow both organizations to leverage existing administrative structures and expertise at Clemson with clinical opportunities at GHS.
Under the landmark agreement signed June 4 by the presidents, Clemson will be the primary research collaborator for GHS and serve as the research administrator for all GHS research. The agreement will support additional opportunities for Clemson faculty to engage in health and medical research and open the door to more federal research funding by partnering with physicians and surgeons at GHS.
“We believe this collaboration will provide additional opportunities to the increasing number of students interested in health and support faculty recruitment in biological sciences, public health, bioengineering and biomedical sciences,” said Clemson President James F. Barker. “We also anticipate doubling our health care research funding within four years.”
GHS President and CEO Mike Riordan described the partnership as creating “a research engine that will accelerate improvements in the quality of health care and serve as an incubator of new ideas and initiatives.”
ROLLINS CLAIMS THIRD NATIONAL TITLE
Brianna Rollins dazzled the crowd as she ran to another collegiate record in the 100 hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June. She blew away the field to a time of 12.39, one of the top times in history by an American athlete, to lead Clemson’s women to a ninth-place team finish. It was the program’s third straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
With this title, Rollins joins Clemson Ring of Honor inductee Tina Krebs as the only three-time NCAA gold medalist in program history, having won the indoor 60 hurdles in 2011 and 2013.
AUTO INDUSTRY EXEC TAKES REINS AT CU-ICAR
A seasoned auto industry executive with more than three decades of experience has been appointed executive director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).
Frederick M. Cartwright, who spent 30 years in the automotive industry with General Motors, has extensive experience in the design and development of advanced powertrains for commercial and military vehicles, management of GM’s hybrid bus program and new business development initiatives involving other auto manufacturers.
Most recently, Cartwright was director of General Motors’ new business initiatives based in Detroit, where he was responsible for development of new technology and product based initiatives, including establishment of multiple alliances.