A Clemson University graduate who worked for two medical device companies before returning to his alma mater to teach has been appointed to an associate professorship that will allow him to expand his research and develop new ties with industry partners.

Jeremy Mercuri (second from left) works with students in his Clemson University lab.

Jeremy Mercuri (second from left) works with students in his Clemson University lab.

Jeremy Mercuri is the first John Witherspoon Gilpin, M.D. ‘82 Endowed Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering.

As part of the professorship, Mercuri is charged with continuing to demonstrate research and scholarly leadership in biomedical technology innovation research.

“It’s a great honor and a great recognition,” he said. “There has been a lot of great support from the faculty and the department chair. They’ve helped me get to where I am today– to achieve this honor. It’s really been a team effort. It’s not just me. I’m truly one of the products of this department.”

Mercuri received his master’s and doctorate, both in bioengineering from Clemson, and then went to work in the medical device industry. He worked for three years as a research engineer, helping create new products, first for Medtronic Spine and Biologics and then for Stryker Orthobiologics.

He returned to Clemson in 2013 because he wanted to teach.

“When I came out of grad school, I thought the valuable contribution I would make would be to create new medical devices and materials,” Mercuri recalled. “But the more I thought about it, I realized my most valuable contribution is to teach students to do that themselves. I can have an exponentially larger impact. That’s what I really enjoy– seeing the excitement sparked in these students and seeing them do great things.”

Gilpin, who provided the funds for the endowment, received his Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Clemson in 1982. He is now program director of medical student education in radiology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. He is also a board certified diagnostic radiologist at Prisma Health and medical director of the Radiology Department at Hillcrest Hospital. 

Gilpin said that he was glad to support the associate professorship.

 “It is my pleasure to support the bioengineering department at Clemson and the work of Dr. LaBerge through this donation,” he said. “Jeremy is a talented young professor, and we are so fortunate to have him working and teaching at Clemson.”

Martine LaBerge, chair of Clemson’s Department of Bioengineering, said that Mercuri is highly deserving of the associate professorship and thanked Gilpin for his gift.

“Dr. Gilpin is a leader and philanthropist who is committed to service,” LaBerge said. “His support will help us attract and retain top faculty and provide new opportunities for our students as they learn the skills they need to become leaders of tomorrow.”

Mercuri said the associate professorship will allow him and his students to expand their research.

“It’s going to allow us to further partner with clinicians in the area to develop meaningful research projects that will have a clinical impact,” he said. “It’s going to allow us to expand our horizons and continue some of our ongoing research projects.”

Mercuri works about half of his time at the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus. The facility, also called CUBEInC, is on Prisma Health’s Patewood Medical Campus in Greenville, making it easier for Clemson bioengineering faculty and students to collaborate with clinicians and the medical device industry.

Mercuri said that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of his family. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Emily, who is 8 years old.