Genetics research facility expanding in Greenwood

July 1, 2013

GSA Business, June 26, 2013

Clemson University and Greenwood Genetic Center began construction Wednesday on a 17,000-square-foot research and education center on nearly 15 acres donated by Greenwood County and the Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works.

The site is adjacent to the Greenwood Genetic Center within the Greenwood Research Park.

The Clemson University Center for Human Genetics will be used to recruit research-and-development companies engaged in human diagnostics, cognitive development, central nervous system, autism, birth defects, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The collaborative will seek new discoveries in genetic diagnostics and epigenetic therapeutics.

The project will expand Clemson University’s existing doctoral program in human genetics and expand research capabilities at the J.C. Self Research Institute, a division of the genetic center.

Clemson University President James F. Barker said the research collaborative will build on successful business models developed at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville and the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston. Like those campuses, the Greenwood center will focus on education, research and economic development.

The Greenwood Genetic Center will open its campus to Clemson scientists, whose teams will research diagnostics and therapeutics that have the potential to provide immediate diagnosis of a variety of diseases. Additionally, the genetic center and Clemson will evaluate research to create novel diagnostics that may be used to predict the efficacy of therapeutics for targeted diseases and provide early diagnostic tests. The research has the potential to identify better treatments for chronic disorders, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Greenwood County, the city of GreenwoodGreenwood Partnership AllianceThe Self Family Foundation, Greenwood Genetic Center, Greenwood Commissioners of Public WorksGreenwood Metropolitan District and others volunteered time and money to make the project possible.

“This project is the result of a seven-year effort by the entire community,” Barker said. “The collaboration creates a center with state-of-the-art genetic equipment and expertise in the heart of South Carolina.”

Steven A. Skinner, Greenwood Genetic Center director and senior clinical geneticist, said the collaboration between Clemson and the genetic center provides the foundation for the advancement of genetic diagnosis and therapeutics for patients not only across South Carolina, but globally.

“A clear diagnosis combined with understanding the mechanisms of disease are what lead to effective therapies and improved quality of life for patients and their families,” Skinner said in a news release. “Put simply, this partnership will hasten the pace of progress and enhance the recognition of South Carolina as home to one of the nation’s most productive and important facilities for genetics research and development.”

After an architect is selected, work on the site will begin after an approximate nine-month design phase.

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