Chemistry & Biology Faculty and South Carolina Awarded Major NIH Biomedical Research Grant (Winthrop Press Release)

November 9, 2005

ROCK HILL, S.C. - A team of five Winthrop chemistry faculty (Calloway, Lammi, Owens, Parker, & Sumter) and four Winthrop biology faculty (Dimaculangan, Glasscock, Johnston, & Westover), along with collaborative research teams from six other universities across South Carolina, have recently been notified that the National Institutes of Health will be funding South Carolina's proposed five year initiative to increase biomedical research capacity across the State.  The $17.3 million federal grant is among the largest ever awarded to a university in the Palmetto State.

Improving citizens’ health represents a major need for South Carolina.  One recent study ranks the State fifth in the nation for stroke deaths, third in cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths, and seventh in ischemic heart disease deaths.  South Carolina also has some of the highest cancer rates in the nation, ranking in the top 10 nationwide for five to 10 different types of cancer with perhaps the highest prostate cancer mortality rate of any state.  Particularly hard-hit are African American South Carolinians, for whom CVD illnesses result in ten years of lost life and for whom prostate and lung cancer incidences are 50 to 60 percent higher than national averages.

In recognition of these major human health concerns and as South Carolina’s second largest primarily undergraduate institution (PUI), Winthrop University is planning to establish a nationally distinctive biomedical research program.  Over the next five years, Winthrop Univesity will receive nearly $ 2.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to assist in accomplishing this goal.

Key elements of the proposed multidisciplinary biomedical research program include:

Pat Owens, chair of the Department of Chemistry, will serve as project director. Jim Johnston, chair of the Department of Biology, is the project co-director. Cliff Calloway, Associate Professor of Chemistry, is the core laboratory director.  Winthrop University has identified six faculty-led, student centered, biomedical research projects shown below to focus its initial efforts.  As these projects competitively earn long-term external funding, additional faculty-led projects will be added to Winthrop's program.
Project Title
Project Mentor(s)
Robin Lammi
(Single-Molecule Laser Spectroscopy)
Monitoring Metal-Ion Concentration and Metal-Induced Conformational Change at the Level of Single Ions and Enzymes
Dr. John H. Dawson
Dr. Dewey Holten
Washington University
Chasta Parker
(Structural Biochemistry)
Structural Studies of a Recombinant Membrane Interacting Region of Complement Component C8a and Adiponectin Membrane Receptor 1
Dr. James M. Sodetz
Dr. Lukasz Lebioda
Takita Felder Sumter
(Cancer Biochemistry)
Functional Mapping of High
Mobility Group A1 (HMGA1) Binding Domains Required for Tumor Transformation
Dr. Frank G. Berger
Dwight Dimaculangan
Hepatitis B Virus: Adaptive Evolution of Immune Recognition and Evasion
Dr. Austin L. Hughes Professor
Kristi Westover
Stem Cell-Augmented Repair in a Bioengineered Cardiac Model
Dr. Wayne Carver, Associate Professor, USC-Columbia
Laura Glasscock
(Cancer Biochemistry)
The Role of Thrombomodulin in Prostate Cancer-Associated Angiogenesis
Dr. Frank C. Church
UNC-Chapel Hill
Chris M. Tiegland, MD
Dept of Urology, CMC