Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology


The School of Medicine (SOM) faculty conduct research that changes lives in South Carolina, across the nation, and around the world. Researchers work collaboratively with colleagues throughout the university from a variety of academic disciplines, as well as with peers around the United States.

Major research funding for the school includes significant grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Duke Endowment.  Our faculty also receive research and contract awards from pharmaceutical companies to pursue both basic and translational/clinical research as well as to conduct trials.  Some examples of major research funding include:

  1. A $6 million NIH grant that will study the effect of botanicals on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.  This Center is directed by Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, Carolina Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Basic Science at the School of Medicine and Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti, Chair of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.  It is one of 11 Centers in the nation. Visit the Center website here
  2. A 5-year NIH grant that provides $16 million for the SC INBRE (the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) to support a network of ten colleges and universities in the state, including USC, to develop biomedical research programs in areas such as regenerative medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology. This project is led by SOM faculty member, Dr. Lucia Pirisi-Creek, Professor, Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.  Visit the Center website here
  3. A $10.7 million NIH grant to the University's Center for Colon Cancer Research.  This is one of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in which several faculty members from SOM participate.  Visit the Center website here  
  4. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $20 million to establish a statewide alliance in the field of tissue biofabrication, aimed at the development of human organs.   SOM faculty working in the areas of tissue engineering actively participate in this research. Visit the Center website here  
  5. 10.1 million NIH grant to establish the Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation has just been awarded to USC (September 2012). The Center’s Director  and Co-Director are Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti (Vice President for Research, USC) and Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti (Chair, Dept. Pathology Microbiology Immunology, USC School of Medicine) respectively. This five-year grant awarded through the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program, will be housed at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia. Visit the Center website here
  6. A five year grant from Center for Disease Control (CDC) to establish a National Center for Disability Research (DRDC) was recently awarded to School of Medicine Professor, Dr. Suzanne McDermott, Ph.D. of Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. McDermott is collaborating with Margaret Turk, M.D., professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pediatrics at State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and Roberta Carlin, J.D., M.S., M.A., executive director of the American Association on Health and Disability, in leading the DRDC to enhance the research and training of the CDC’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities  (NCBDDD). The DRDC will be located at USC School of Medicine, Columbia SC. The DRDC will coordinate solicitation and review of research and fellowship award applications and make recommendations to the CDC for funding disability research. The DRDC has the potential to bring in more than $28 million in funding to support disability research in the next five years. Read more ...


In addition, SOM is actively participating in state-funded Research Centers of Economic Excellence that are devoted to cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, brain imaging, biomedical ethics, health services and primary health care.  One such Center that SOM is engaged in is research to improve the independence and mobility of senior citizens through a program called SeniorSMART®.  Also, Stroke Center of Economic Excellence was established with support from Health Sciences South Carolina.  Recently, SOM successfully recruited a leading stroke expert to the Center: Souvik Sen, MD, MS, MPH, as an Endowed Chair of Department of Neurology.