Clemson University faculty members in the nursing, public health sciences, industrial engineering and genetics and biochemistry departments have been awarded seed grant funding from Greenville Health System and university partners of the GHS Health Sciences Center for projects relating to cancer, diabetes and pain management. These seed grant awardees are also affiliated with Clemson University School of Health Research.

The researchers are:

  • Lu Shi, Ph.D., a public health sciences professor, is the lead investigator for his grant project, “An Innovative Approach with Group Counseling and Mindfulness Training among Prediabetes Patients (JUMP 101).”
  • Ronald Gimbel, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, is a co-lead investigator with Steven Lowe, M.D., and Michael Devane, M.D., from GHS on their grant “Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Accuracy in Measuring Cancer Lesions in Computed Tomography Scans: A patient Safety Pilot Study.”
  • School of Nursing assistant professor Hyewon Shin, Ph.D., is the lead investigator on her grant, “Collaborative approaches to improving health-related quality of life, fatigue, and coping skills of adolescent and young adult cancer patients.”
  • Laura Stanley, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, is a co-lead investigator with Elizabeth Cull, M.D., from GHS on the project, “Efficacy of Virtual Reality for Operative Pain and Anxiety Management.”
  • Chris Saski, Ph.D., the Director of the Clemson University Genomics and Computational Biology Laboratory, is a co-lead investigator with Jeff Edenfield, M.D., from GHS on the project, “Estimating the Impact of Pharmacogenomic Testing on Clinical Outcomes in the Greenville Health System Cancer Biorepository.”

This is the GHS’s third year for offering the transformative call for grants that support research informing population health or health system performance in areas such as access to care, quality of care and patient-relevant outcomes.

However, this year, GHS expanded its focus call to include Diabetes and cancer care delivery research. Diabetes proposals are focused on prevention, delay of disease onset or progression, improved diagnosis or treatment, and enhanced quality of care. Cancer care research proposals are focused on the scientific investigation of how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures, health technologies, and healthcare provider and patient behaviors affect cancer care access, quality and cost.

The expansion of seed grant topics is to reflect the hospital systems’ focus on diabetes prevention and education which is a challenge for the Upstate, and the oncology department’s desire to expand its research.

“The incredible response to the Call for Proposals for the seed grants is an indication of the growing research between Greenville Health System and its Health Sciences Center-affiliated partner universities,” said Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Health Research at Clemson University and Chief Science Officer at GHS. “Each research proposal was required to include a clinical researcher and a university affiliated partner faculty member from Clemson, Furman University or University of South Carolina. These projects represent incredible concepts for transformative health research.”

With the requirement of collaborating entities for the proposals, Desmond Kelly, M.D., vice chair for academic affairs in the GHS Department of Pediatrics, is excited to see the collaboration between Clemson and Greenville Health System grow through the seed grant research. Kelly works to help strengthen the collaboration between the two entities through involvement with the Clemson School of Health Research.

“We are very pleased that the Seed Grant Program of the GHS Health Sciences Center has continued to expand and this year we had an exceptionally strong group of applications from Clemson faculty who are planning collaboration with clinical faculty at GHS,” Kelly said. “The seed grant winners have proposed innovative projects that will have a direct impact on health care delivery in our region and their findings are likely to have a national impact.”

To see a complete list of grant projects, visit