CLEMSON, S.C. (WSPA) – A Clemson-led coalition of South Carolina researchers has formed to modernize healthcare diagnostics and treatment in South Carolina with the use of AI. 

According to Clemson News, The National Science Foundation 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 the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR) 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.

The program has three primary goals:

  1. Build research capacity in AI-enabled biomedical devices in strategically identified areas to transform SC’s healthcare 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.
  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.

“Healthcare providers face numerous challenges diagnosing disease, 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.

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.