Two endowed chairs focus on cancer, brain research
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Two new SmartState endowed chairs at the University of South Carolina will conduct research on cancer therapeutics and brain activity in stroke patients.
Dr. Chris Rorden has joined USC as the SmartState Chair in Neuroimaging Research. Rordan is also a professor of psychology and director of the McCausland Center for Brain Imaging.
Dr. Chris Rorden
Rorden studies the behavioral difficulties experienced by individuals after brain injury. Most of his work centers on stroke, the leading cause of disability in the United States. He uses neuroimages to study brain activity and brain stimulation, to understand the speech and perception difficulties that result from stroke and to predict treatments. He also studies epilepsy, the leading major neurological disorder.
“The college is delighted that Professor Rordan is serving as the scientific leader of the McCausland Center for Brain Imaging, which uses emerging methods to understand brain function in infants, children and adults,” said Dr. Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Igor Roninson, whose research focuses on cancer therapeutics, has joined the South Carolina College of Pharmacy as the SmartState Chair in Translational Cancer Therapeutics. He brought with him international prestige, a biotechnology company, several fellow scientists and new hope through discovery of novel drugs.
Dr. Igor Roninson
“Igor Roninson is a very well recognized scientist in cancer therapeutics, and we are very fortunate to have him and his group come to South Carolina ,” said Dr. Joseph DiPiro, dean of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. “He has brought an active academic research program as well as his company, Senex Biotechnology, and he will help us bring our cancer research to a much higher level.”
Rorden said the SmartState chair at USC was appealing for several reasons.
“There are certain motivating factors as a scientist,” Rorden said. “The university has good facilities, which include the McCausland Center for Brain Imaging. It also has a critical core of neuroscience researchers and a vision for both.”
Rorden is working with other scientists at the university who conduct stroke-related research. For Roninson, the opportunity to work with colleagues with similar interests in drug discovery and experimental oncology drew him to the SmartState chair in Columbia.
“Between good colleagues with interests close to mine, especially in cancer research, a good atmosphere in Columbia and the access to the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, It felt like a congenial and productive environment,” Roninson said.
Roninson has more than 30 years of experience in academia and biotechnology, including more than 150 published articles and 39 issued U.S. patents.
Roninson’s principal interests in academic research include: developing personalized cancer therapy based on target and drug discovery through functional genomics; functional genomics of aging and longevity; chemical genomics of tumor microenvironment; mechanisms and pharmacological modulation of a damage-inducible signal transduction pathway implicated in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and viral diseases. He is also president and chief scientific officer of Senex Biotechnology Inc., which has relocated to Columbia.
South Carolina’s SmartState program was created by the legislature in 2002 and is funded through lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, USC, Clemson and the Medical University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create economic excellence centers in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy.
The South Carolina SmartState™ Program (previously known as the CoEE Program) was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. Each Center of Economic Excellence is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in state lottery funds, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment. To date, 49 Centers have been created and 38 SmartState Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the centers. The SmartState Program has resulted in more than $400 million dollars in non-state investment into the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of 5,000 jobs. .
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