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Study highlights differences in immune cell function between male and female mice

A new USC study of a common, yet poorly understood type of white blood cell reveals the human immune cell’s response to pathogens differs greatly by sex and by age.  In this mouse study, males proved much more susceptible to a condition called sepsis than females. However, the scientists also found that the female disease-defense system is hardly perfect; their system changes with age to become nearly as harmful as the males’.    Those are the key findings in a study that appeared July 19, 2021 in Nature Aging.   …

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 …

Megan McCain and family

USC Professor Megan McCain crafts an approach to tissue engineering

Megan McCain has always liked using her hands to create things, ranging from art projects to human heart cells that grow on silicon chips. “I’ve always loved building things and doing crafts, which drew me to engineering,” said McCain, who was recently awarded tenure as an Associate Professor and the Chonette Early Career Chair in …

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 …

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 …

Lung organoids

USC scientist Ya-Wen Chen receives American Lung Association grant to advance stem cell-based lung therapies

USC Stem Cell scientist Ya-Wen Chen hopes to pioneer a new approach to regenerating damaged lung tissue, with support from a Catalyst Grant from the American Lung Association (ALA). The award provides $50,000 year for up to two years. “For many patients with chronic lung diseases, the only available treatment is transplantation—a difficult, dangerous surgery …

USC Stem Cell scientist Amy Ryan studies diseases from cystic fibrosis to COVID-19

Scientist Amy Ryan has never lived according to a fixed plan. Instead, she has followed where life has led her—to a position as an assistant professor of medicine and stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC, studying lung diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to COVID-19. Ryan’s original plan had little to do with lung …

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 …

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 …

Paula Cannon

Gene therapy research for HIV awarded $14.6 million NIH grant

An HIV research program led by scientists at USC and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has received a five-year, $14.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The team is advancing a gene therapy approach to control the virus without the need for daily medicines. The program’s co-directors are Paula Cannon, PhD, Distinguished Professor …

Ya-Wen Chen and Vishal Patel

The Baxter Foundation supports USC research on epilepsy and lung injury

The Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation is supporting innovative biomedical research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC by granting $100,000 awards to two assistant professors: Vishal Patel, MD, PhD, in the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (INI) and Ya-Wen Chen, PhD, in the USC Hastings Center for …

(Image courtesy of iStock)

Hunting for heart cells that can grow back after an injury

Hearts are tough organs. Over the course of a lifetime, they beat ever second of every day, keeping the entire body nourished with life-giving blood. But, even with all that stamina, heart tissue lacks the ability to regenerate after significant trauma like a heart attack. There are some heart cells that do have the ability …

SARS-CoV-2

USC Stem Cell scientists use “mini-lungs” and lung models to understand COVID-19

USC scientists are testing out experimental COVID-19 treatments on human “mini-lungs” and lung models, grown in the laboratory using stem cells. With names such as organoids and lung-chips, these simplified, lung-like structures are critically useful for studying infection and for screening large numbers of drug-like molecules to identify promising leads. Ya-Wen Chen—a new assistant professor …

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 …

Ya-Wen Chen

USC Stem Cell scientist Ya-Wen Chen grows miniature lungs with maximum potential

As the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak escalated into a pandemic, USC lung researcher Ya-Wen Chen expected to be spending a lot of time at home, sheltering in place. “At the beginning of the quarantine, I was going to focus on writing grants,” said Chen, who joined USC as an assistant professor of medicine, and stem cell …

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 …

Photo by Isaac Mora

Better cancer treatments may lie ahead thanks to Yong (Tiger) Zhang and USC engineers

A USC School of Pharmacy-led team has engineered a new, faster way to make drugs that precisely target malignant cells – while leaving healthy tissue undamaged – that could lead the way to better treatments for numerous types of cancer. The drugs, called antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs, belong to a relatively new class in which …

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