MUSC awarded $1.2-million to address biomedical science disparity

Postdoctoral trainees to teach and mentor college students at Claflin

Charleston, SC (July 11, 2007)* – MUSC announced today the receipt of the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) through the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences (NIGMS), which will allow three postdoctoral scholars to teach at Claflin University, a historically minority institution located in Orangeburg.

The MUSC/Claflin IRACDA program is only the eleventh awarded since IRACDA first began issuing grants six years ago. “While the majority of postdoctoral researchers desire faculty positions, their training is most always exclusively laboratory based,” said Edward Krug, Ph.D., assistant dean for Postdoctoral Affairs in the MUSC College of Graduate Studies. “Pursuit of instructional opportunities is discouraged due to a combination of funding constraints (i.e. research grants support research activities) and pressures to publish. Moreover, most opportunities for developing instructional skills are generally limited in duration and scope of involvement, yielding only marginal impact on the scholar’s capacity to transition from bench scientist to junior faculty with both teaching and research responsibilities. The MUSC/Claflin co-operative program is designed to fill this gap in training of aspiring academic scientists while enhancing the learning experience of undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate training.”

MUSC’s goal is to spark interest in the profession of biomedical science at the undergraduate level by addressing several challenges in career development programs, research infrastructure and research-oriented courses at minority-serving institutions. Clifton A. Poodry, Ph.D., director of the Division of Minority Opportunities in Research for NIGMS, said, “NIGMS is pleased to partner with MUSC and Claflin on this important program aimed at developing the next generation of university faculty and biomedical researchers. The program is an innovative way to provide a rich training activity for postdocs while making an important contribution to the teaching and infrastructure at minority-serving institutions.”

Verlie Tisdale, Ph.D., Claflin’s dean of Natural Science and Mathematics, said the collaborative venture shows the desire of both institutions’ to strengthen the state’s pool of promising scientists. “This grant will play an integral role in our commitment to academic excellence, helping Claflin University realize its long range goals of
expanding collaborations with other institutions and organizations and implementing a comprehensive undergraduate research program,” said Tisdale.

The program will be co-directed by Cynthia F. Wright, Ph.D., assistant dean for Admissions in the College of Graduate Studies at MUSC, and Edward Krug, Ph.D., assistant dean for Postdoctoral Affairs in the College of Graduate Studies. Elements of the program will foster collaboration between Claflin and MUSC faculty and financial resources will be available to provide Claflin students experience with contemporary tools.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South. MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care; and educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents a year, including a prestigious College of Graduate Studies that produces some of the world’s top M.S., Ph.D. and M.D. /PhD. graduates. MUSC also has an aggressive and successful minority recruitment and retention program that is considered a national model. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.3 billion. MUSC operates a 600-bed medical center, which includes a nationally-recognized Children's Hospital. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit www.musc.edu or www.muschealth.com

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