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Leukemia cells

How alike are the cancer cells from a single patient?

Even within a single patient with cancer, there is a vast diversity of individual tumor cells, which display distinct behaviors related to growth, metastasis, and responses to chemotherapy. To carry out these behaviors, each cancer cell uses its genes to make the needed molecules in a unique way known as its “gene expression signature.” To …

Students

California’s stem cell agency awards USC $5 million to train scientists and clinicians

USC has been awarded a $5 million training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to prepare PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and clinical fellows for careers in stem cell research. CIRM also approved 17 other training programs at universities and clinical facilities across California, including one at USC-affiliated Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). …

Bell in the lab

Drug-like molecule points to novel strategies for cancer therapy

A decade ago, genome sequencing revealed a big surprise: about 50 percent of human cancers are linked to mutations in what are known as epigenetic regulators, which control the activity of genes. In a new study in Cell Chemical Biology, a team of scientists led by Oliver Bell from USC and Stephen V. Frye from …

Impromptu McMahon lab meeting

USC Stem Cell: An incubator for medicine of the 21st century

Just over a decade ago, USC was a university with a few scattered stem cell biologists, and a vision for total transformation. The university was committed to designing a unique “incubator” for researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and beyond to collaborate and leverage the transformative power of stem cells to develop …

Scott Fraser by Noe Montes

USC Professor Scott E. Fraser redefines impossible problems

USC Professor Scott E. Fraser is known for inventing new microscopes and other tools to observe living, developing embryos. But one of his lab’s most important pieces of technology filters coffee instead of light: it’s a restaurant-quality Espresso machine. “I wanted to make a place where people would come to steal coffee,” he said. “And …

Bérénice Benayoun receives GSA Nathan Shock New Investigator Award

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA)—the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging—has chosen Assistant Professor Bérénice Benayoun of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology as the 2021 recipient of the Nathan Shock New Investigator Award. The distinguished honor is given for outstanding contributions to new knowledge about aging through basic …

Unmesh Jadhav and Kimberly Gokoffski

The Baxter Foundation advances USC research on optic nerve disease and colorectal cancer

For over 60 years, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation has supported innovative biomedical research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, each year granting $100,000 awards to two faculty members. This year, the Baxter Foundation awarded Kimberly Gokoffski, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the USC Roski Eye Institute, …

Robert E. Maxson

USC celebrates Robert E. Maxson’s lifetime of achievement and adventure

USC Emeritus Professor Robert E. Maxson has an understated explanation for why he’s flown so many planes, sailed so many boats, skied so many mountains, played so many guitars, taken so many trips to Antarctica, and studied so many different aspects of developmental biology. “I’m drawn to things that take all my attention, and things …

Leonardo Morsut

USC Stem Cell scientist Leonardo Morsut awarded $2.5 million NIH grant to explore “synthetic” embryonic development

Whether in an earthworm or a human being, developmental processes are driven by complex networks of genetically-encoded signals that enable cells to take cues from each other and their environment. To begin unraveling this complexity, USC Stem Cell scientist Leonardo Morsut is designing artificial genetic programs to perturb natural signaling networks and study how this …

Xi Chen

For USC scientist Xi Chen, a chicken is more than just an egg’s way of making another egg

USC postdoctoral researcher Xi Chen knows that you have to break a few eggs in order to grow chicken stem cells. His work on maintaining embryonic stem cells (ESC) from chicken eggs provides insight into stem cell pluripotency and evolutionary developmental biology. “The choice of beginning with fertilized chicken eggs was critical to the success …

Mohamed Abou-el-Enein named Executive Director of USC/CHLA Cell Therapy Program

Mohamed Abou-el-Enein, MD, PhD, MSPH, has joined the Keck School of Medicine as the inaugural Executive Director of the Joint USC/CHLA Cell Therapy Program. He began his post Jan. 4. Abou-el-Enein will also serve as Medical Director of the new cGMP facility for cell and gene therapy that is under construction in the Norris Research …

Fraser by Noe Montes

USC biological imaging innovator elected to National Academy of Medicine

Scott Fraser, Provost Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Physiology and Biophysics, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Pediatrics, Radiology and Ophthalmology, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Fraser, who holds joint appointments at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and USC Viterbi School of Engineering as well as …

Wilms tumor team

A bench-to-bedside approach to Wilms tumor

Stefano Da Sacco, PhD, calls Wilms tumor “an underdog” in the research world. “If you go to the American Urological Association or other meetings, there aren’t many presentations or discussions about Wilms tumor,” Dr. Da Sacco says. “From my experience, it’s understudied. Not many basic scientists are working on it.” It’s a different story at …

Scott E. Fraser

USC’s Scott E. Fraser elected to National Academy of Medicine

USC biophysicist Scott E. Fraser, PhD, has as been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the organization announced Monday. He’s among 100 new members of the Academy. “For integrating biophysics, quantitative biology, and molecular imaging to enable unprecedented views of normal function and disease in live organisms, from embryonic development to old age,” the …

Ebony Flowers

Ebony Flowers receives fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program

Ebony Flowers has already received three fellowships during her year-and-a-half as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC. First, she was awarded the Choi Family Postdoctoral Fellowship, which helped recruit her to Min Yu’s laboratory. Then she earned a fellowship from the A.P. Giannini Foundation, which provided …

fasting and breast cancer

Studies suggest a fasting diet could boost breast cancer therapy

A USC-led team of scientists has found that a fasting-mimicking diet combined with hormone therapy has the potential to help treat breast cancer, according to newly published animal studies and small clinical trials in humans. In studies on mice and in two small breast cancer clinical trials, researchers at USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute …

Men are from Mars

New award supports study of why females age differently than males

A new research project led by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Assistant Professor Bérénice Benayoun aims to learn more about why female mammals, including humans, age differently than males. Sex dimorphism – physiological characteristics that differ between the sexes in a species – can have big implications for health and lifespan. Human longevity differs …

Alec Fisher

Amid COVID-19 fears, USC Spirit Leader donates stem cells for leukemia patient

When Alec Fisher signed up as a potential bone marrow donor two years ago, he didn’t expect to hear back for a while, if at all — and certainly not in the middle of a pandemic. As someone who has had personal experiences with serious health issues, Fisher felt a calling to donate. When he …

Qi-Long Ying

Shanghai Cell Therapy Group launches collaboration with USC researcher to improve the ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells for clinical applications

Shanghai Cell Therapy Group (SHCell) recently entered into a six-year research collaborative project with Professor Qi-Long Ying from the University of Southern California (USC). Through the project, sponsored by $3.6 million from the Baize Plan Fund, the Ying laboratory aims to develop conditions for the long-term ex vivo expansion of mouse and human hematopoietic stem …

Rong Lu

USC Stem Cell scientist Rong Lu wins an NIH Emerging Investigator Award

Millions of blood cells are regenerated every second. To study the unique properties of individual blood forming stem cells and how they contribute to aging, leukemia and other medical conditions, USC Stem Cell scientist Rong Lu has received a $6.6 million Emerging Investigator Award from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is part …

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