We discover so you can recover

Denis C. Guttridge, Ph.D.
October 19, 2020

Dear friends,

Every time I walk, drive, or ride my bike by the beautiful new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, I think about our wonderful physicians, nurses, and staff members who give so much of themselves to provide the best care to the children of South Carolina and beyond. And then I think, what can we do to improve that care, to make children healthier and free of disease?

The MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital is more than an ordinary children’s hospital, not only because of its superb care givers, but also because it’s an academic hospital that is part of the Medical University of South Carolina, a nationally ranked research medical center. To provide the best care, one must come up with better medical devices, better treatments, and more innovative concepts and methods to test ideas until breakthroughs are made. Or more simply put, we have to discover so the children and their families can recover.

So how can these breakthroughs be achieved? One way is through what we call the research arm of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, which is officially the Darby Children’s Research Institute (DCRI). Named after the former chair of the Department of Pediatrics at MUSC, Dr. Charles Darby, the DCRI was physically built under Dr. Darby’s vision that continual improvement of children’s health would come with a strong scientific research environment to support clinical care – thus, the research “arm” of the children’s hospital. Guided by that vision, the DCRI is the most comprehensive pediatric research facility in the Carolinas.

The institute sits on the MUSC campus in close proximity to the children’s hospital and is staffed by both scientists and physicians who direct state of the art research laboratories in focused areas of children’s health and disease. Like the hospital, the DCRI is constantly expanding to meet the demands of our patients. Current research areas of emphasis include childhood cancers, neuroscience, kidney disease, cardiology, newborn health, pulmonary development and disease, metabolic bone biology, and bioengineering of drug delivery. Importantly, the research enterprise is maintained by local and national grants as well as philanthropy from our generous community.

As we continue to follow Dr. Darby’s vision and lead the DCRI to becoming a nationally ranked children’s research institute, our core goals are two-fold. First, we will continue to strive to perform the most impactful and innovative science possible to achieve the breakthroughs in the laboratory, which we can then translate to the hospital and our patients. Second, we will train the next generation of scientists that will continue pursue Dr. Darby’s vision. Just as the hospital helps train medical students and residents, the DCRI seeks to recruit and train the brightest graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to help us contribute to our breakthroughs in our laboratories while we advance their careers.

Together, the DCRI and the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital are changing the landscape of childhood health in South Carolina and beyond, and I am truly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we discover so the children in your life can recover!

Denis C. Guttridge, Ph.D.
Director, Darby Children’s Research Institute