History of the Darby Children's Research Institute

The Darby Children’s Research Institute (DCRI) bears the name of its founder, Charles Darby, MD. In 1982 he became Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at MUSC and recognized the need for better healthcare for children in South Carolina. He began a campaign with MUSC leadership and state legislators to build a children’s hospital, which after 15 years of planning and perseverance became a reality in 1987. Under his leadership as Chair and Pediatrician-in-Chief of MUSC, Dr. Darby increased the number of faculty from 12 to 80 during his tenure and directly led to a ranking among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country. Dr. Darby (or Charlie as he’s known to his friends and colleagues throughout Charleston and South Carolina) was also pivotal in the creation of MUSC’s newest Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion that opened in 2020. Dr. Darby recognized that all top ranked children’s hospitals achieve their stature based not only on the outstanding clinical care to their patients, but also to the outstanding research that supports the next breakthrough discoveries to enhance that clinical care. With this recognition, Dr. Darby began envisioning the building of a research enterprise, created to serve as the research arm of the children’s hospital. Once again, he began a campaign with MUSC officials and state legislators to fund the construction of 6 floors of modern physical laboratory space that would house both basic scientists and physician scientists working to meet the research needs of the children in South Carolina. That vision was realized with the opening of the DCRI in 2007.

In Dr. Darby's own words: "The Darby Children’s Research Institute provides excellent facilities to attract and retain scholarly scientists committed to advancing the health of children. Quality clinical care is essential for every children’s hospital, but it is the constant quest for new knowledge and better outcomes that set the better institutions apart from the rest."

Photo of Dr. Charles Darby


Charles Darby, M.D.
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics