Andrew McMahon installed as chair of stem cell biology at Keck School of Medicine of USC

Andy McMahon (Photo by Phil Channing)
Andy McMahon (Photo by Phil Channing)

Andrew P. McMahon, newly appointed department chair of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, is often asked why he left Harvard University’s stem cell institute to come to USC. He states one simple reason: opportunity.

“I wanted the opportunity to create something special within the emerging field of regenerative medicine,” said McMahon. “The energy and excitement of Los Angeles provides a wonderful bonus, but this was a decision deeply rooted in my training, interests and experience over 35 years and my desire to translate these things into something of great significance in a first-class university.”

McMahon was officially welcomed into his role at USC and installed as the inaugural holder of the W. M. Keck Provost Professorship of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine on Oct. 16 at a reception held on the Health Sciences campus in his honor and hosted by USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

The endowed professorship was made possible through a gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation that renamed USC’s academic medical center and launched the $1.5 billion Keck Medicine Initiative, the largest component of The Campaign for the University of Southern California.

“Today it’s my great pleasure to officially welcome a scientist of the very highest caliber,” said Nikias, “a man who will lead USC boldly into the emerging biotechnology revolution and help usher in the new age of innovation and discovery. That man is Dr. Andrew McMahon.”

Eli and Edythe Broad, the namesakes and lead donors of the Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, gave $30 million toward the building’s development and were also in attendance among the crowd of about 100 people.

“Edye and I get to Cambridge often because of the Broad Institute, which is a partnership between Harvard and MIT,” said Eli Broad. “I know how sad they were to have you leave,” he told McMahon. “And I know how highly esteemed you were there. So we know that you and those that you bring with you will bring this center to even a higher level of excellence, and we thank you for all of that.”

McMahon brought most of his lab members with him to USC, including his wife, Jill, an accomplished research scientist in her own right, who is also the lab manager.

As a commemorative gift, Nikias, Broad and Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito.

presented McMahon with an encased replica of a chair designed by Belgian furniture designer Maarten van Severen.

“Andy is a wonderful scientist and human being,” said Puliafito, who was instrumental in recruiting McMahon to USC. “He is a fantastic addition to our scholarly community at USC.”

For the original article in The Weekly, click here.

Mentioned in this article: Andrew P. McMahon, PhD, FRS