SC Pharmacy Student Lights Up Research Arena
SEC Beast, the team that won USC’s intramural basketball championship this year, had a simple strategy — get the ball to Serge Afeli.
Serge is a 6-foot-9-inch former Kansas State basketball player who played under then-assistant coach Frank Martin. He’s also a former member of the Ivory Coast national team and developed a love for the game by watching the NBA back when “everybody wanted to ‘Be like Mike,’” he said.
The 1992 U.S. Olympic “dream team” really sparked his hoops interest with its all-star lineup of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird.
But there’s a lot more to Serge than basketball savvy. His passion for science and unforgettable mentors have also shaped Serge’s life. The fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the S.C. College of Pharmacy came to USC in 2009 to pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.
He’s focusing his doctoral research on receptors in the human bladder with a goal of finding new drug targets for treatment of overactive bladder, a disease that affects 34 million in the United States alone. With USC pharmacy professor Georgi Petkov and others, Serge has published findings in the Journal of Urology and the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology.
And though Serge is playing in a different arena now, he’s still lighting up the court. And smart money says he’ll find a slam-dunk cure for bladder ailments.