April 27, 2020
Research Collaboration
One of the roles the SC EPSCoR Program plays is to facilitate collaboration among faculty at South Carolina colleges and universities. The current NSF Track 1 Award - MADE in SC is a collaborative effort among more than 60 faculty members from 10 academic institutions in South Carolina. Building such a collaborative effort takes many years and requires significant investment of time and effort. To facilitate finding potential research collaborators in the State, the SC EPSCoR Program launched the Research Expertise Profiles database in 2017 and made it available to anyone who wishes to participate and/or access the database to identify possible collaborators. The database was then expanded to allow faculty from other EPSCoR Jurisdictions to participate. This expansion was aimed at helping address the main focus of the NSF RII Track-2 Program (Focused EPSCoR Collaboration) which requires collaboration among institutions from at least two EPSCoR Jurisdictions.

The database contains about 275 profiles from faculty and researchers from South Carolina as well as from the Alaska, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Maine, and Wyoming EPSCoR jurisdictions. The data is promising as it indicates other jurisdictions are seeking collaborations with South Carolina researchers. The research expertise is related to the the six research area identified in NSF's 10 Big Ideas. In addition, the researchers identify others areas of research interest. 
To join or search the Research Expertise Profiles Database, click here.
To read more about the analysis performed on the Database, click here.
Research Focus On:

Dr. Qian Wang

Carolina Distinguished Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (USC)

Multiscale Controlled Assembly of Functional Proteins with Polymers for Biomaterials Development

Dr. Qian Wang is a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina. He is a MADE in SC Thrust 3 (Rational Design of Interactive Biometrials) Co-leader. The overall objective of Dr. Wang's Research Team focuses on the development of hierarchically structured nanomaterials to study cell-cell interactions and the cooperative response of cells to extracellular matrixes. He is also interested in bionanomaterials, particularly with the respect of polymers and biomolecules, such as proteins, viruses, and bacteriophages.  

Dr. Wang and his research team have developed functional polymeric micelles for immobilizing His6-tagged cellulases with controlled spatial orientation of enzymes, resulting in “artificial cellulosomes” for effective cellulose hydrolysis. Poly(styrene)-b-poly(styrene-alt-maleic anhydride) was prepared through one-pot reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer polymerization and modified with nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) to afford an amphiphilic block copolymer. The self-assembled polymer could successfully capture His6-tagged cellulases and form hierarchically structured core–shell nanoparticles with cellulases as the corona. Because the anchored enzymes are site-specifically oriented and in close proximity, synergistic catalysis that results in over twofold activity enhancement has been achieved.

The significance of this work is that similar systems can be used in the synthesis of functional protein based materials. He plans to investigate how the assembled system can interact with cells and modulate the cellular responses. The next step in this research is to develop a novel method to produce polymer-protein core-shell nanoparticles (NPs) with narrow size-distribution using a electrokinetics (EK) based ultra-fast micromixer microfluidic system. The end goal is to control the size distribution of the resultant assemblies.

For details about the research program,

Coping with COVID
As colleges and universities have adapted to teaching classes remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, students and faculty are also trying to adapt to new ways of conducting their research during closures and limited access to labs. In most cases, undergraduate students are not on campus to access these same labs. We know this temporary new normal will impact research and programmatic activities for the foreseeable future. This may entail research and programmatic delays which will translate to SC EPSCoR projects being extended. Please continue to let us know how your projects are being impacted and if and how we can be of assistance from an award or contract perspective. Your feedback will help us identify technical assistance solutions.
SC EPSCoR wants to be a resource for you as well as share resources with you. Several federal agencies are supporting research related to COVID-19. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge. NSF encourages the research community to respond to this challenge through existing funding opportunities. NSF also invites researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. Requests for RAPID proposals may be for up to $200K and up to one year in duration. All questions should be directed either to a program officer managing an NSF program with which the research would be aligned or to rapid-covid19@nsf.gov.

For more information on NSF 20-052, click on https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2020/nsf20052/nsf20052.jsp.

For NSF 20-052 FAQs – click on https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/covid19/covid19faqs_dcl.pdf
Annual Report
Note for MADE in SC Participants, the MADE in SC Annual Report is due to NSF on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The SC EPSCoR Portal will be opening this week for project participants to submit their Year 3 information.

Stay tuned for an email from SC EPSCoR about the Annual Report!

NSF EPSCoR Track-4 Proposals Due on May 12 by 5 p.m.
Omnibus Proposal Grants
Program Development Grants

Questions? Contact Susannah Sheldon, SC Sea Grant Research and Fellowships Manager, (843) 953-2078, Email
Looking for Research Collaborators?
Research Expertise Profiles 

Looking for Students?
Student Research Interests Profiles
Check the SC NASA EPSCoR website for news and opportunities.

Check the SC Space Grant Consortium website for news and opportunities.

Questions? Contact Tara Scozzaro, SC Space Grant and SC NASA EPSCoR Program Manager, (843) 953-5463, Email

Funding Opportunities

• DOE  
• NIH 

Question? Input? Contact email SC EPSCoR.

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