student playing the role of a patient in a diagnostic exam

Health Sciences

From social work to neuroscience, we take an interdisciplinary approach to addressing key health issues in South Carolina, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and work on ways people can make their own families and communities healthier.

Researchers from the School of Public Health, School of Medicine Columbia and College of Social Work are investigating the everyday causes and prevention of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as treatments.

Cancer research focuses on prevention, screening and treatment for a variety of cancers as well as our College of Nursing work on racial disparities in cancer mortality and access to care. Our innovative telepsychiatry program, which brings 24-hour emergency mental health treatment to all of South Carolina, is being explored as a possible model for future treatment.

At the College of Pharmacy, cancer, neuroscience, pharmaceutics and pharmacology researchers study disease mechanisms, drug action and toxicity as well as develop new and more effective classes of drugs. 

Centers and Institutes

Here are just a few of our health sciences research centers and institutes. The Office of the Vice President for Research maintains a comprehensive list of university-wide centers and institutes.


Cancer Survivorship Center

The center is dedicated to alleviating the burden and suffering endured by South Carolinians affected by breast cancer. The center’s researchers have a strong history and continuing interest in cancer control from prevention to survival. A focus of the center is identifying and intervening on factors that produce an unequal burden of suffering, particularly among minority populations. Federally funded work by Sue Heiney and Swann Adams includes behavior interventions for breast cancer prevention and survival, development of a mammography screening registry in South Carolina and examining social connection in African-American communities.

Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is one of the 11 national centers of excellence funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an institute of the National Institutes of Health. CAM is dedicated to understanding the mechanisms by which various plant-derived products can be used as preventive or therapeutic modalities in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Center for Colon Cancer Research

The Center for Colon Cancer Research was originally established to provide new investigators with guidance, financial support and front-line research technologies in their quest for improved methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. The Center for Colon Cancer Research encourages collaboration among investigators with common interests across disciplines, from public health to microbiology.

Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation

A National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, the Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation integrates faculty from six of the university's colleges to conduct research on the mechanism of regulation of inflammation by dietary supplements during  chronic inflammatory processes associated with cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer's and several other autoimmune diseases. 

Cancer Prevention and Control Program

The Cancer Prevention and Control Program is dedicated to discovering the underlying causes of cancer disparities in South Carolina — some of the largest disparities in the world. The program addresses genetic, lifestyle-related and environmental causes of cancer; screening for early detection and primary prevention of certain cancers; access to care and cancer survivorship. Discoveries are shared with people and organizations who are willing and able to make a difference in the fight against cancer. 

Disability Research and Dissemination Center

The Disability Research and Dissemination Center supports a broad complement of scientists throughout the United States who are pursuing fellowships and research projects in the areas of birth defects, disability, health and prevention. Disability prevention and intervention research administered by DRDC ranges from theoretical to applied and includes numerous interdisciplinary teams and collaborations across specialties and professions.