August 28, 2020
South Carolina is Now Home to Two

South Carolina is now home to two LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation) Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) awards. The LSAMP program assists universities and colleges in diversifying the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce through the development of highly competitive students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African-Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. The goal of the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate is to increase the quantity and quality of STEM graduate students from underrepresented populations, with emphasis on PhD matriculation and completion.

Clemson University recently received an LSAMP BD award  to significantly increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of underrepresented students in engineering and science with a focus on advanced materials. The topic was selected and refined based on (1) South Carolina's strategic educational and economic priorities; (2) broad subject expertise across many departments at Clemson; (3) significant presence of materials-based manufacturing in SC; (4) alignment of the project with the large, statewide, NSF-funded EPSCoR Track 1 RII award entitled Materials Assembly and Design Excellence, MADE in SC; and (4) national strategic priorities such as the the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). The PhD scholars participating in the program will conduct research in advanced materials. This effort will drive fundamental advances in inorganic and organic materials to inform and define future research directions for the development of advanced materials and systems across a spectrum of applications. The project is jointly funded by the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation and the NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) programs.

The University of South Carolina received an LSAMP BD award in 2019 to create the first BD program at UofSC and to establish an evidence-based and sustainable program of recruitment, mentoring, and support of underrepresented minority (URM) students into and through STEM doctoral programs. In addition to providing substantial financial support to enable students to focus full time on graduate-level course work and research, the project, designed to advance BD students toward completion of doctoral level studies, will provide a bridge program for matriculating students and activities focused on communication, universal research skills, and acculturation to the research community. These programs are leveraged by extensive existing resources at the UofSC and are designed to facilitate for the BD students the achievement of doctoral degrees in five years. The BD program will create a community of URM scholars encompassing both sciences and engineering disciplines.
Stimulus Research Program (SRP)
Research Focus

The Stimulus Research Program was developed to strengthen South Carolina’s research capacity and research competitiveness by funding projects that have strong scientific bases to solve complex problems through collaboration among South Carolina colleges and universities and through the integration of the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The SRP program objectives are:

  • Increase the research capacity of the investigators and their institutions
  • Increase research collaboration and inclusion among colleges and universities
  • Position collaborative teams to pursue large-scale national funding for research
The program was initiated in 2017 and awards were made in 2018. Four proposals were selected that initially involved 7 academic institutions and 1 research institute with 33 faculty collaborators. The following is a summary of these projects with links to more details.
Dr. Wayne Carver, Professor and Chair, in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the University of South Carolina leads a team of researchers with diverse backgrounds in Chemistry, Vascular Cell Biology, and Engineering to focus on the development of replacement materials for damaged and diseased blood vessels. The team includes faculty from the University of South Carolina, Claflin University, Clemson University, and Winthrop University.

Worldwide, over 600,000 damaged or diseased blood vessels are surgically replaced annually.  For larger blood vessels like the aorta, synthetic materials such as Dacron have a high degree of success for surgical repair of the damaged vessel.  Replacement of smaller blood vessels such as the coronary arteries with synthetic materials often leads to failure due in part to occlusion of the blood vessel. Better materials are direly needed for replacement or repair of small diameter blood vessels in humans. Click for more information on the Carver SRP Team research.

Dr. Scott Husson, William B. “Bill” Sturgis, ’57 & Martha Elizabeth “Martha Beth” Blackmon Sturgis Annual Distinguished Professor, in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Clemson University leads a team of researchers with backgrounds in Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Environmental Health Sciences to employ anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) as a next-generation technology to address the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The team includes faculty from Clemson University, Benedict College, Furman University, and the University of South Carolina.

The team's long-term vision is to establish AnMBRs as a next‐generation municipal wastewater treatment platform for water reuse, energy harvesting, and nutrient recovery, thus addressing key challenges that our society faces at the food-energy-water nexus. Click for more information on the Husson SRP Team research.
Dr. Apparao Rao, R.A. Bowen Professor and College of Science Associate Dean for Discovery and Director of the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University leads a team of researchers with backgrounds in Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, and Mechanical Engineering in innovating battery technologies to transcend the limitation of lithium ion batteries. The team includes faculty from Clemson University, Claflin University, College of Charleston, and the University of South Carolina.

The team hopes to develop “beyond-lithium ion” batteries such as the lithium sulfur, aluminum ion, sodium ion and potassium ion batteries. Key components of a battery include the anode that is electrically insulated from the cathode by a separator, and the electrolyte. In this work, novel cathodes, anodes and electrolytes were developed for high energy high power density batteries that are safe, and meet the needs of NASA space missions and the automotive industry. This study helped develop new strategies for the electrodes and electrolytes, which the team plans to leverage in the near future to develop other battery chemistries such as the sodium ion and potassium ion batteries. They will explore the possibility of using graphene foam as porous current collectors for sodium and potassium ion batteries. Click for more information on the Rao SRP Team research.

Dr. Jeff Twiss, Professor and SmartState Chair in Childhood Therapeutics and Interim Department Chair, in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina leads a team of researchers with backgrounds in Biological Sciences, Bioengineering, and Genetics on the intersection of epigenetic regulation and mitochondrial function in autism. The research team includes faculty from the University of South Carolina, Claflin University, Clemson University, and Furman University.

Approximately 1 in 59 individuals in the United States have Autism Spectrum Disorder and this may even be more frequent in South Carolina. Autism manifests as a spectrum of symptoms that include difficulties with social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. Unfortunately, there is no single event that precipitates autism, with many different gene mutations as well as environmental exposures increasing the risk for a child to develop autism. Several lines of evidence point to disruption of neural connections in the brains of children with autism, and similar is seen in rodent models of autism spectrum disorder. There is no magic ‘pill’ for treating autism, so behavioral interventions remain the mainstay of treatment. Those interventions take advantage of the natural ‘plasticity’ of the brain to modify connections between neurons. Click for more information on the Twiss SRP Team research.
Lecture: Computational Modeling and Simulation
Tools for Materials Exploration and Design
Dr. Ulf Schiller, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University recently lectured on "Computational Modeling and Simulation: Tools for Materials Exploration and Design" as part of the MADE in SC summer seminar series. Dr. Schiller is an active member of the Modeling and Computation Core of the project. 

Computer simulation methods have become standard tools in science and engineering that cross boundaries between traditional disciplines and help tackle the challenge of designing new materials with optimized properties and desired functionality. Modern supercomputers allow us to obtain numerical solutions of mathematical models that are intractable by analytic theories. However, the relevant time and length scales that govern the physico-chemical properties of materials span a vast range and cannot be captured by one single model. Therefore, multiscale modeling and simulation methods are required to accurately predict materials properties and behavior and discover new principles for materials design.

This presentation gives an overview of multiscale modeling approaches and their application to materials science. The focus is on the physical principles that lead to useful approximations and informative models. Starting with electronic structure calculations and atomistic simulations, the presentation introduces the fundamental aspects of modeling at each scale. Systematic coarse-graining and mesoscopic methods form the bridge from particle-based models to continuum models at the macroscopic scale. At each scale, practical examples from MADE in SC research are given that illustrate how conceptual approaches within the Materials Genome Initiative can integrate modeling and simulation with experimental research leading to significant advances in various materials domains. Click here to watch Dr. Schiller's lecture.
Check the SC NASA EPSCoR website for news and opportunities.
Questions? Contact Tara Scozzaro, SC Space Grant and SC NASA EPSCoR Program Manager, (843) 953-5463, Email
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 
Rural Tech Project virtual session on building a new technology education program, Wednesday, September 2, 2020 Click here for more information and to register.
Find Funding Opportunities
(Stay tuned)
• DOE  
• NIH 

Looking for Students?
Student Research Interests Profiles

Question? Input? Contact email SC EPSCoR.