SC State included in $20 million NSF investment to change health care using AI

SC State’s Engineering & Computer Science Complex is home to artificial intelligence research.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – South Carolina State University faculty are part of a Clemson-led coalition of South Carolina researchers formed to modernize health care diagnostics and treatment in South Carolina with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $20 million, five-year investment in a multi-institutional project called Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Devices for the Advancement of Personalized and Transformative Health Care in South Carolina or ADAPT-SC.

Funding comes from NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 Award, which bolsters their overall goal to improve the research and development competitiveness of researchers and institutions within EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Clemson University will lead a statewide team of researchers from 11 institutions who will work closely with industry to advance AI-enabled medical devices and to train an AI-ready workforce.

“Translational research and economic development will be the cornerstones of ADAPT-SC,” Clemson University President Jim Clements said. “With an exceptional network of collaborators, ADAPT-SC is well positioned to reach all areas of South Carolina with life-saving health care technologies and a skilled workforce for the future. I want to thank our partners for joining this effort and NSF for investing in this cause.”

SC State’s Department of Computer Science and Mathematics has a number of ongoing education, research and outreach activities in AI, machine learning and cybersecurity. The faculty is collaborating with faculties from the University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the University North Carolina at Charlotte in related projects.

“Through these projects we provide our undergraduate students with the undergraduate research experience,” said Dr. Nikunja Swain, chair and professor of SC State’s Department of Computer Science and Mathematics. “This collaborative project will further enhance these ongoing activities.

“This will help us preparing next generation AI, data science, and cybersecurity leaders through education, research, outreach, and collaborations,”

Swain said.

Swain will act as SC State’s lead researcher on the ADAPT-SC project. The SC State team also includes Dr. Jagruti Sahoo and Dr. Biswajit Biswal.

In addition to Clemson and SC State, collaborators include the University of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, Benedict College, Claflin University, College of Charleston, Francis Marion University, The Citadel, Winthrop University and Tri-County Technical College.

To advance translational research, ADAPT also will work with SC Bio, a statewide economic development organization and life-sciences industry association with nearly 200 members.

“Health innovation has long been a strength at Clemson, and we continue to build a strong platform in AI research. ADAPT will bring these two critical fields together to improve the quality of care and life in South Carolina,” said Tanju Karanfil, principal investigator on the project and Clemson vice president for research. “Ultimately, patients and their families will be the beneficiaries of what we believe will be life-saving research.”

The project has three primary goals:

  1. Build research capacity in AI-enabled biomedical devices in strategically identified areas to transform SC’s health care system, particularly in underserved areas;
  2. Build a diverse talent pool in the field of biomedical AI through innovations in education and workforce development from K-12 through all levels of higher education; and
  3. Foster interdisciplinary collaborations and academic–industrial partnerships by establishing research, education, and technology-transfer integrated programs.

Examples of ADAPT research projects include incorporating AI into diagnostic devices to illuminate some of the hidden underlying causes of cardiovascular disease, accurately detect wounds in intensive care units or predict the likely outcome of peripheral artery disease. Digital twins of patients will also be used to test AI-enabled therapy and rehabilitation plans for lung-cancer patients. ADAPT also will evaluate AI trustworthiness and device security.

“Health care providers face numerous challenges diagnosing disease, or monitoring infections from traumatic injuries, or predicting likely outcomes of various treatment plans. It is an incredibly difficult job, but AI can remove some of those challenges,” said Bruce Gao, ADAPT scientific lead and South Carolina SmartState Endowed Chair of biofabrication engineering at Clemson. “In particular, AI can provide expedient information that will help physicians create a care of plan specific to each patient’s condition and medical history.”

To advance the research, EPSCOR funds will support hiring five tenure-track faculty members and eight postdoctoral researchers throughout the state, as well as adding new computing and other infrastructure. The project involves more than 30 faculty members across the institutions and is expected to support training for more than 100 new PhD students and 400 undergraduate students. ADAPT will conduct outreach to encourage K-12 students throughout the state to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and provide training to K-12 STEM educators.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 2242812. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Science Foundation.

Media Contact

Sam Watson
Director of University Relations
South Carolina State University
803-747-1223 (Cell)

About South Carolina State University

Founded in 1896 as a land grant institution with a mission of providing service to the citizens of the state, South Carolina State University has evolved from a small teachers’ college into a major University center of learning and research. Located in Orangeburg, S.C., South Carolina State offers more than 50 different fields of study on the undergraduate and graduate levels. South Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools.

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Sam Watson
Director of University Relations | | 803-533-3603 (Desk) | 803-747-1223 (Cell)