Research & Development Laboratories
Research buildings at MUSC include the Basic Sciences Building, a 7-story, 332,000 sqft laboratory complex that houses MUSC’s basic science departments; Darby Children’s Research Institute, a 7-story, 122,000 sqft building housing 14 multidisciplinary lab-based research programs, adjoining the Basic Science Building; the Thurmond Biomedical Research Building (STB), a 7-story, 180,000 sqft building that contains the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute as well as MUSC and VA research labs and shared facilities; and Walton Research Building, an 8-story, 56,600 sqft building housing research laboratories for Pathology, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Two new research buildings opened in Fall 2011. Connected to the Basic Science Building via a pedestrian sky-bridge, the Drug Discovery and Bioengineering Buildings add 220,000 sqft for translational research, research training, and in vivo experimentation. Buildings that include significant research laboratory space as well as clinical facilities include the Institute of Psychiatry with 9 basic science laboratories for alcohol and substance abuse research and a behavioral animal model facility; the Storm Eye Institute with a 40,000 sqft Vision Research Center; and the Hollings Cancer Center with a total of greater than 200,000 sqft including 98,000 sqft dedicated to laboratory-based research. All laboratory investigators have well equipped modern laboratories with suitable space for students. Appropriate glassware and sterilization facilities are provided. All researchers at MUSC have access to shared equipment and standard resources such as ultra-low freezers, centrifuges, scintillation counters, and cold, warm, light-controlled, and tissue culture rooms.
Darby Children's Research Institute
The Darby Children’s Research Institute (DCRI), the most comprehensive pediatric research facility in the Carolinas, provides 122,000 ft² of wet laboratory research space. The Institute is home to research teams in eleven multidisciplinary programs that represent cardiobiology, Neurosciences, cancer biology, pharmacogenetics, addiction research, pulmonary biology, proteomics, vitamin D metabolism, osteoclast biology, autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, and renal biology.
Gazes Cardiac Research Institute
The Gazes Cardiac Research Institute (GCRI), one of the nation’s leading centers for heart failure research, is located in the Strom Thurmond Research Building. This Building provides 113,416 ft² of research space and includes the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center. The GCRI brings together a multidisciplinary group of investigators dedicated to understanding the biology of heart disease at the molecular level in order to promote the successful development of new therapies for heart disease. The shared facility houses a range of talented physician scientists and translational investigators conducting a wide spectrum of research that includes cellular and molecular investigation, physiological studies in model systems, investigator-initiated clinical research, population studies and large corporate, and NIH multicenter clinical trials.
MUSC Health the clinical enterprise of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), is dedicated to the pursuit of changing what’s possible in health care. The innovations and leadership of this integrated health care system are evident, not only in the hospitals (University Hospital; Ashley River Tower, a cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and cancer specialty hospital; the Institute of Psychiatry; the Storm Eye Institute; and Children’s Hospital) on the downtown Charleston campus, but shared through more than 100 outreach locations, clinical affiliations with numerous health care partners, and a robust telehealth network. MUSC Health serves more than one million patients annually, and its specialized care teams consistently rank among the best in the country. MUSC Health delivers transformational care shaped by world-class clinicians, health scientists, and educators who provide leading-edge care, while developing the next generation of innovative health care leaders.
Medical Center data for the year ending June 30, 2018 include:
Number of Licensed Beds plus 66 Neonatal Special Care
Average Daily Census Rate
Number of Births
Number of Outpatient Visits
Number of Inpatient Surgical Procedures
Number of Outpatient Surgical Procedures
U.S. News & World Report ranked MUSC Health the top hospital in South Carolina for 2017 to 2018 and among the best in the country when it comes to the treatment of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders; gynecology; urology; and cancer. In addition to the national ranking for ENT, MUSC was categorized as a “high-performing” facility for the treatment of gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and rheumatology.
MUSC achieved Magnet Recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Magnet Recognition, ultimate credential for high quality nursing, is a status held by only 7 percent of hospitals across the United States, and less than 1 percent of hospitals globally. The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes Health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice.
MUSC Health Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center is the first stroke center in the state of South Carolina to achieve formal recognition as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. The certification recognizes those hospitals that have state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff, and training to handle patients with the most complex forms of all strokes. It also recognizes the driving ambition of MUSC Health Stroke Program team leaders to relentlessly provide care that maximizes the chance for patients to make the best recovery possible. MUSC joins an elite group of about 100 hospitals nationwide.
MUSC Health Awards & Recognition
Medical Center Research Mission. The Medical Center mission is to provide excellence in patient care, teaching, and research in an environment that is respectful of others, adaptive to change, and accountable for outcomes. The Medical Center advances biomedical knowledge by serving as a setting for clinical and translational research, providing resources to conduct research, and offering opportunities for patients to participate appropriately in research and treatment protocols.
Hospital Accreditation. The most recent Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health care Organizations (JCAHO) survey resulted in full re-accreditation. MUSC Medical Center is fully licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC).
Access to Patients. The MUSC Medical Center has managed care contracts with all major commercial payers in its area. The tri-county Charleston area is the state’s fastest growing region with a population of 665,000 in the primary area and another ~500,000 in the secondary market. A quarter of the state’s senior population lives in these catchment areas. As South Carolina's premier health care center, MUSC receives statewide and regional referrals through consortium hospitals, satellite clinics, and an extensive network of referring physicians. Data regarding inpatient and outpatient activity are provided above.
Clinical Trials. The South Carolina Research Studies Directory, SCresearch.org, enables South Carolinians to participate in research opportunities and novel treatment options available at MUSC as well as many of the other state’s hospitals. Participation in these treatment options (i.e., clinical trials) allows individuals to play an active role in their own health care and access new treatments before they become widely available. It also allows individuals to help others that may benefit in the future from their contribution to medical research.
Clinical Data Management System
MUSC has an integrated electronic health record (EHR) system that aligns patient access, patient management, revenue cycle, clinical systems, and research. Our integrated EHR optimizes process efficiency and improves quality at each step of the continuum of care across the entire health-care system. In addition to in-house applications, there is now an active patient portal and a new portal for referring physicians. The system also provides additional levels of security and authentication for users and follows the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for privacy and compliance.
Ashley River Tower
Ashley River Tower is a 641,000 sqft facility that opened in 2008. The 156-bed hospital houses the inpatient units for Hollings Cancer Center, the Digestive Disease Center and the Heart and Vascular Center service lines. The facility includes three intensive care units; laboratories; interventional radiology; and endoscopy suites; a specialized chest pain center; and nine operating rooms with integrated IT systems and specialized equipment for vascular surgery.
MUSC Children's Health
MUSC Children's Health is South Carolina's most comprehensive system of preventive and clinical care devoted exclusively to the well-being of children. The system delivers the most advanced, evidence-based pediatric health services from fetal stage through the teen years. Six pediatric specialties - cardiology & heart surgery, cancer, nephrology, urology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and diabetes & endocrinology - are ranked in the top 50 in the country. The state's only nationally recognized MUSC Children's hospital is located on the MUSC campus in downtown Charleston. MUSC Children's Health is expanding access to specialized pediatric care through a growing network of outreach locations across the state and through the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance.
The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion is scheduled to open in fall of 2019, this state-of-art hospital will cost $385 million, spanning 10-stories with 625,000 ft2. When the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital opens, it will provide a critically important new space for women, mothers and newborn babies. The Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, located on the fourth floor of the new hospital, will handle the toughest, most complex pregnancies and neonatal care. The pavilion will bring together a team of specialists and cutting-edge technology, while providing the necessary space to ensure that mothers and babies—and their families—can remain together throughout their hospital stays.
Hollings Cancer Center
The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medial University of South Carolina is the largest academic cancer center in South Carolina. It is the state's only National Cancer Institute (NCI) - designated cancer center and one of fewer than 70 in the U.S. As the state’s foremost cancer treatment and research center, Hollings Cancer Center unites more than 200 experts in treatment, research, education, prevention and control, and outreach to address South Carolina’s significant cancer problem. The Center’s resources extend throughout South Carolina via partnerships with other Health care organizations, ensuring that all patients in the state have access to our innovative and compassionate care. For the 27,000 South Carolinians who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, the Hollings Cancer Center is leading the way in changing what is possible in cancer care.
Ralph H. Johnson Veteran's Administration Medical Center
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, opened in 1966, is a leading primary, secondary, and tertiary care facility located in Charleston, SC, serving over 55,000 Veterans along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. The 117-bed medical center provides acute medical, surgical, and psychiatric inpatients care, as well as outpatient primary and mental health care to Lowcountry Veterans who require more than 659,000 outpatient visits and approximately 4,300 inpatient stays annually. The VAMC has six community based outpatient clinics providing primary, mental health and some specialty care. These clinics are located in South Carolina in Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, Beaufort, Goose Creek, and in Georgia in Hinesville and Savannah. The VAMC has an annual budget of over $500 million and research funding of more than $27 million.
The VA Research Program contributes significantly to the recruitment and retention of highly specialized clinical staff, many of whom are involved in research studies. Charleston VAMC’s Research and Development Service has a rich and sustained portfolio of innovative basic and clinical projects with an emphasis on translating research findings into cutting edge clinical practices for Veterans. In FY 2015, Charleston VAMC received over $11 million in VA funding and over $10.9 of non-VA funding. Currently, there are 100+ research investigators involved in more than 300 research projects concerned with a broad range of health problems, most of which are prevalent in the Veteran patient population. The Council on Accreditation of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) commended the work of the Charleston VAMC for providing and maintaining an excellent program of laboratory animal care and use and renewed full accreditation. This station has a VA non-profit research corporation, Charleston Research Institute, for accepting gifts, donations, and grants to be used for VA research.
Significant areas of research include:
- Basic Research in Cardiology, Endocrinology, Diabetes Mellitus, Hematology/Oncology, Regeneration Medicine, Rheumatology, Nephrology, and Alcohol-Related Disorders.
- Clinical Research in Mental Health, tele-mental health, PTSD, Hypertension, and Aging
- Health Services Research in rural health and health disparities
- Rehabilitation research in stroke injury and tele-rehabilitation
The research program has also obtained and maintained accreditation of their animal program through the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), with re-accreditation accomplished in 2014.
Charleston VAMC’s research program is respected for the volume of VA and NIH funded research and its history of obtaining prestigious recognition such as the recently-awarded Charleston Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC) from the Health Services Research program. The Center of Innovation research focuses on disease prevention and health interventions for diverse populations. Outpatient clinical/translational research activities are housed in a dedicated 2,800 square foot Clinical Research Unit (CRU) on the 2nd floor of the VAMC. The CRU has 10 examination rooms, a 4-station transfusion room, a 3-station physician workroom, a waiting room, and a general laboratory with, centrifuge, several refrigerators, and a microscope. The CRU also includes a sterile specimen storage facility, staff offices, and break- and workrooms. Construction for a new mental health research building broke ground in 2013 and was recently completed in the summer of 2015. The final design reflects 14,929 of useable square footage of research space including: 5 wet labs, 27 exam rooms at 120 SF each, 9 office at 120 SF, record storage at 350 SF and miscellaneous other space. The Mental Health Research building was designed to have 4 additional levels in the near future. Numerous VA investigators have also received national awards for excellence such as the Wigger’s Award from the American Physiological Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association, and most recently an award from the NIH.
Protection of Human Subjects
Participation of human subjects in research is under the jurisdiction of federal regulations (45 CFR 46 and 21 CFR 50 and 56). MUSC investigators are granted the privilege of working with human subjects under normal assurance to the government that such research complies with regulations protecting human subjects. The university has a federal-wide assurance for research with human subjects (FWA 00001888, expires 07/21/2019), and is in compliance with federal policy governing use of human subjects. Individuals involved in human subject research at MUSC are required to complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) offered on-line by the University of Miami. All human subject protocols are reviewed through an academic Institutional Review Board (IRB) process that has been accredited by the Association for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). The MUSC Office of Research Integrity (ORI) coordinates the activities of three IRB committees, involving faculty members as well as representatives of the business, legal, ethical, religious, and civic communities. The MUSC IRB serves as the university affiliate for the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, which is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
The MUSC University Compliance Program is a proactive program designed to promote full compliance with all applicable policies, procedures, laws, and regulations. This involves a confidential Compliance Helpline to encourage all members of the MUSC community to ask questions or voice concerns about laws and regulations on such topics as coding and billing, research integrity, professional ethics, human subject/animal research, biological safety, conflict of interests, and patient/subject confidentiality. The Compliance Office proactively trains employees, monitors high-risk activities, and facilitates discovery of concerns, followed by appropriate investigation and corrective action where appropriate. This program directly assists MUSC’s management at all levels in maintaining and enhancing an environment where ethics are paramount considerations in strategic and operational decisions throughout the organization.
Care & Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research
The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) centrally manages the University’s animal care program. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is independently chartered and appointed by the President and is fully independent of DLAR. The IACUC reports to the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost. Committee functions are staffed by the Office of Research Integrity under the direction of the Associate Provost for Research. The IACUC is responsible for review of all proposals using lab animals at the university as well as oversight of the programs and policies associated with animal use. The committee meets monthly to review and approve animal protocols and address other issues. It performs semiannual inspections and review of the DLAR programs and facilities for compliance with PHS, USDA, and AAALAC regulations. To help the IACUC in monitoring the conduct of animal-based research and proactively assist investigators in establishing and maintaining good practices, MUSC also has a program for Post-Approval Monitoring of Animal Use (PAMA). A designated Animal Research Compliance Liaison works with the MUSC investigators and the individuals who handle animals in their laboratories to ensure that the highest level of animal care is maintained and that all research involving animals is conducted with appropriate IACUC review and approval.
MUSC has been fully accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC International) since 1987, with an unbroken record of compliance with regulatory inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). MUSC’s Animal Welfare Assurance number is A3428-01 (expires 04/30/20).
Each laboratory has several networked PC and Apple computers and laser printers. The MUSC campus offers network access to computerized clinical data management systems, outpatient electronic medical records, Lanvision, Access Anywhere, IDX registration system, and the integrated laboratory system. Standard statistical software includes Epistat, SAS, SPSS, S-Plus, and M-Plus. DXCG and ACG software are available for patient case mix analysis. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) is the standard suite of office tools. All data are locally backed up through password-protected Apple Time Machine hard drives and/or a Novell server while institutional protocols ensure long-term data security and protection.
MUSC Information Solutions provides information technology, informatics, and analytics services for the academic health center. It manages the campus-wide data and voice communication network as well as other core infrastructure systems and applications, with high-speed Ethernet network and Internet support with wireless access throughout the campus. Main infrastructure systems include Microsoft Exchange email, file storage, web servers, calendars, network identification and account maintenance, network time protocol, domain name system, and directory services. Core academic applications include the MUSC Library System, OVID, WebCT, SYBYL (molecular modeling), and GCG (gene sequence research). Core financial and administrative applications include GL, AP, financial reporting, purchasing, payroll, and human resources.
Access outside the MUSC firewall requires a VPN with two-factor verification. Free encryption service is provided for all laptops. Other data security elements include enterprise Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) service, advanced intrusion detection systems (IDS), Security Information and Event Management system (SIEM), and virtual machines (VMs) for research data management and analysis. Enterprise-wide process improvements include network access control, technical vulnerability management program and Data Center physical security. The MUSC Data Center is manned 24x7 by operations staff who monitor all servers, environmental conditions, and notify appropriate personnel as needed. The entire Data Center is protected by a card access system and 24-hr security cameras at each door entering and within the center. Weekly full-verified backup, daily differential verified backup, and every-6-hr transaction log backup are captured by IBM® TSM system, Microsoft® Volume Shadow Copy service, and Microsoft® SQL server, so that a new system can be restored using the backup tapes/files with minimal data loss in case of a catastrophic failure to a web or database server. The university system is backed up on a nightly basis, data files are written initially to disk and staged to tape. Copies of the tapes are rotated offsite to vital records (3 months of taped backups are available at any given time). In the event of hurricanes or other natural disasters, two forms of backups will be performed to ensure that data are not lost: 1) the information system will keep timely backups available at the remote site, and 2) project personnel will be instructed to bring updated copies of their data on external hard-drives if evacuated.
Office areas at MUSC are well lighted ventilated and appointed for scholarly activities, paperwork, and modes of communication (voice, data, analog, digital, etc.) that are common and appropriate at a contemporary health professional university and academic medical center. Competent support staff and all standard office services and software are readily available to facilitate the academic and scientific activities of faculty, trainees, and technical staff.
The Medical University of South Carolina has more than 35 state-of-the-art shared research facilities physically housed in and administered by its departments, centers, and institutes. Clinical research faculty basic scientists, and students all benefit from the shared access to and cost of these research laboratories. Through these diverse resources, MUSC provides access to equipment and instrumentation, technical expertise and training, and education all designed to support innovative, cutting edge research.
Cores, Centers & Facilities
View information on MUSC's Centers, Cores & Institutes.