MENU

News

The coronal suture contains stem cells (green).

Study of skull birth defect takes it from the top

Contrary to the popular song, the neck bone is actually connected to one of 22 separate head bones that make up the human skull. These plate-like bones intersect at specialized joints called sutures, which normally allow the skull to expand as the brain grows, but are absent in children with a birth defect called craniosynostosis. …

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 …

Broken eggs

USC researchers regenerate skull tissue using stem cells and 3-D printed scaffolding in swine

Every year, surgeons perform more than 5,000 cranioplasties—surgeries that restore cranial defects—on patients who have experienced critical size cranial defects resulting from congenital defects, head trauma or tumor removals. Traditional materials used to correct these deficits have been bone grafts (from other humans or the patients themselves) or metal or plastic plates — none of …

Eli Bosnoyan

As a graduate of USC’s stem cell master’s program, Eli Bosnoyan celebrates a Trojan Family that stretches from Syria to South LA

When Eli Bosnoyan first set foot on the USC campus, he was a six-year-old boy from Aleppo, Syria, visiting relatives in Los Angeles during his summer vacation. “I was with my brother,” said Bosnoyan, who is now graduating from the Master of Science Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC. “We went …

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 …

Osteoblasts

Broad Clinical Fellows take a stem cell-based approach to liver disease and bone loss

This year’s Broad Clinical Research Fellows are developing stem cell-based approaches for patients of all ages—from two-week-old infants with liver disease, to senior citizens with bone loss following joint replacement surgeries. Since 2015, the Broad Clinical Research Fellowships have enabled physician-scientists at USC, UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco, to engage in one …

Albert Almada

USC scientist Albert Almada puts muscle into stem cell research

USC Stem Cell scientist Albert Almada once had ambitions of becoming a catcher in a professional baseball league—until he was sidelined by a rotator cuff injury in his shoulder. “Life painfully closes one door and then cracks open another, and then over time, you start to realize that that is how things should have happened …

Jianfu Jeff Chen

From grains to brains, USC scientist Jianfu (Jeff) Chen uncovers the roots of disease

Although USC scientist Jianfu (Jeff) Chen now studies human neurological disorders, he was originally more interested in organisms without brains, such as rice and wheat. “When I was about to go to college in China, there was big emphasis on the biology major, because of the guy who happened to be a pioneer in the …

Is this the gamechanger we’ve been waiting for in craniosynostosis?

One of our every 2,500 infants born in the United States will suffer from craniosynostosis — a craniofacial defect caused by the premature fusion of the different bones that comprise the human skull. In a typically developing infant, these bones are separated by fibrous joints (think: “soft spots”) that allow for the skull’s continuing expansion …

USC Stem Cell PhD Student Ruzanna “Rose” Shkhyan works to end inflamm-aging

USC PhD student Ruzanna “Rose” Shkhyan has gotten a first-hand look at how stem cell discoveries can lead to clinical trials. As member of the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Denis Evseenko, she contributed research that led to the development of a therapeutic agent that can modulate inflammation, which will be in a clinical trial …

Pituitary fish

Flaws emerge in modeling human genetic diseases in animals

My lab, based at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, uses zebrafish to model human birth defects affecting the face. When I tell people this, they are often skeptical that fish biology has any relevance to human health. But zebrafish have backbones like us, contain by and large the same types of …

Pituitary fish

Pituitary puzzle gets a new piece, revising evolutionary history

Insights into century-old controversy about key gland’s development arise from research led by the Keck School of Medicine of USC A new USC-led study suggests a change to the developmental — and evolutionary — story of the pituitary gland. The pea-sized gland, nestled at the base of the brain, produces hormones that drive growth, aggression, …

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 …

Osteophyte

When it comes to arthritic bone spurs, stem cells hurt instead of heal

The same stem cells that heal broken bones can also generate arthritic bone spurs called osteophytes, according to a new study in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. “Although these stem and progenitor cells promote healthy bone repair in other contexts, they are inappropriately activated to cause a pathological bony protuberance in the context of arthritis,” …

Thomas Lozito

The childhood moments that launched their careers as explorers

Innocent curiosity can turn discovery into life’s purpose. A toddler locks eyes with a turtle for the first time; a mischievous teen concocts stink bombs in the garage. However their careers develop, future researchers often get their start as inquisitive kids. An unexpected brush with the weird, wild, worrying or wonderful just might end up …

Stay connected.