A pattern of connection

Our first issue of Glimpse, published in April, filled fifty-two pages with stories about Clemson research and creative discovery. For the fall issue, we’ve packed sixty-eight pages, and we’re just getting started. Research at Clemson is thriving, and we have many more stories than we can possibly tell.

What struck me about this issue was not just the number of stories but the way they revealed a pattern of connection. For example, research and conservation on the Hunley applied Thompson Mefford’s work with iron oxide nanoparticles. It’s astonishing to realize that the same basic knowledge used to conserve a historic submarine can be applied to killing cancer cells.

Mefford also works with Tamara McNealy, a microbiologist studying the effects of nanoparticles on bacteria, and with Brian Powell, an environmental engineer, to learn how nanoparticles move in the environment. The team is using the techniques Powell developed to track radioactivity that we first learned about in the Spring 2012 issue.

In story after story, we also find students and faculty members reaching beyond their disciplines to grapple with knowledge from other fields. Stephen Foulger, a polymer chemist, learns cancer-cell biology from his collaborator Michael Sehorn in genetics and biochemistry. Carly Drew, an artist whose work is featured in “The cabinet of curiosity,” and Jillian Weise, a novelist and poet who you can learn more about in “Drive Time”, explore the influence of modern genetics, which also happens to be the domain of Leigh Anne Clark and the focus of Brian Booth’s research.

Booth is one of four researchers named in this issue who pursue treatments for cancer, using tools as varied as nanoparticles, lasers, plasmas, and advanced genetics. Can Clemson, which does not have a medical school, succeed in a field as competitive as cancer research? Yes, we can. We have strong collaborations with hospitals and medical schools. And on our own campus, advances in science and engineering are providing new tools for fighting cancer—tools more precise and less toxic than conventional chemotherapy. So the next big breakthroughs in cancer research may well come from places like Clemson.

The pattern of connection tells a story of its own. At their best, modern research and creative endeavors are constantly reaching out, building teams, sharing knowledge. One of the goals of Glimpse is to foster such connections, and to celebrate our culture of discovery. We hope you enjoy this issue.

 

Gerald Sonnenfeld

Vice President for Research