In 2015, Converse College joined fellow South Carolina colleges and universities in the National Institutes of Health-funded biomedical college research network, SC INBRE (SC IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence). The network promotes research collaboration among South Carolina’s comprehensive research universities (Clemson, USC, and MUSC) and predominantly undergraduate institutions.
The NIH established the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to increase research capacity by programmatic expansion and networking of research activities of faculty and students at academic institutions throughout certain targeted states – with South Carolina being one of those states.
SC INBRE is achieving that goal by supporting the career development of faculty and hands-on research training of students at network institutions through annual workshops for faculty and students focusing on career development, mentoring and other relevant topics. The organization also provides funding opportunities to faculty members at SC INBRE’s network institutions. Converse professors Dr. Neval Erturk is a member of SC INBRE’s Steering Committee, and several Converse faculty members have received research funding through SC INBRE: Dr. Will Case, chemistry; Dr. Maddy Bahravan, physics; and Dr. Chris Varnon, psychology.
SC INBRE teamed up with SC EPSCoR, another SC-based collegiate research network, to host academic leadership / career development workshops in 2018. Converse College students and faculty participated in that initiative as well. Converse professor Dr. Sheri Strickland has received several EPSCoR grants and will be conducting EPSCoR research at USC-Columbia during her sabbatical in spring 2019.
In August 2018, Converse students and faculty members presented their research at SC INBRE’s Research Symposium hosted by USC-Columbia.
SC INBRE also provides funding for Converse’s STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars) program, which cultivates scientific exploration and interest among local high school students and is a finalist for the 2018 Innovision Awards.
Dr. William Case, assistant professor of Chemistry, was featured in the SC INBRE 2018 Research Symposium magazine. Dr. Case was the 2017 SCICU Excellence In Teaching award recipient for Converse College. In the magazine, Dr. Case comments, “I am a Developmental Research Project Program Target Faculty Member through SC INBRE. The funding provided through this program was essential for me to begin my research at Converse College… In my time at Converse, I have mentored five undergrad students, one high school teacher and one high school student. All of these individuals were provided significant research experiences thanks to the funding provided. Thus, in addition to the scientific advances made, this grant has enabled the continued training of undergrads and colleagues, an opportunity very valued at a women’s liberal arts institution.”