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By superimposing images of several of the kidney’s filtering units, known as nephrons, researchers can visualize how little these structures deviate from a stereotypical developmental trajectory.

USC-led study traces the blueprints for how human kidneys form their filtering units

When it comes to building a kidney, only nature possesses the complete set of blueprints. But a USC-led team of scientists has managed to borrow some of nature’s pages through a comprehensive analysis of how kidneys form their filtering units, known as nephrons. Published in the journal Developmental Cell, the study from Andy McMahon’s lab …

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. …

Organ of Corti

USC Stem Cell scientists explore the latent regenerative potential of the inner ear

Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Neil Segil have identified a natural barrier to the regeneration of the inner ear’s sensory cells, which are lost in hearing and balance disorders. Overcoming this barrier may be a first step in returning inner ear cells to a newborn-like state that’s primed for regeneration, as described …

Neutrophil

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 …

Inner ear sensory cells (left) and skin sensory cells from a one-day-old mouse

USC Stem Cell study points to a common ancestor for cells involved in hearing and touch

The sensory cells in the inner ear and the touch receptors in the skin actually have a lot in common, according to a new study from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Neil Segil published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (PNAS). “There are striking similarities in the development of two …

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 …

Call for Applications: T32 Fellowships in Developmental Biology, Stem Cells, and Regeneration

All PhD students who are conducting research related to developmental biology, stem cell biology, and/or regenerative medicine are encouraged to apply for a training fellowship. We have several slots available for both U.S. Citizens and international students, and funding will be for one year with a second year dependent on participation in program activities and …

A mouse kidney one month after acute injury. Cells that proliferated in response to the injury are shown in green. (Image by Louisa M. S. Gerhardt/McMahon Lab)

The same cell type can help or hinder repair after acute kidney injury

The USC Stem Cell laboratory of Andy McMahon has identified a type of injured cell that might contribute to the transition from an acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease, as described in a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The same issue of PNAS also features an …

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, …

kidney organoid

USC Stem Cell scientists make big progress in building mini-kidneys

A team of scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC has created what could be a key building block for assembling a synthetic kidney. In a new study in Nature Communications, Zhongwei Li and his colleagues describe how they can generate rudimentary kidney structures, known as organoids, that resemble the collecting duct system …

AcuraStem awarded $1 million Department of Defense grant to develop ALS drug candidate

AcuraStem, a patient-based drug discovery platform company developing novel therapeutics for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neurodegenerative diseases, has received an Amyotrophic Lat-eral Sclerosis Research Program (ALSRP) Therapeutic Development Award from the Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) totaling $1 million. Through CDMRP’s award mechanisms and funding rec-ommendations, the ALSRP highlights innovative …

Marcella Birtele

Marcella Birtele named Choi Family Postdoctoral Fellow at USC Stem Cell

In one sense, Marcella Birtele is following in her father’s footsteps: he works as an electrician in Italy, and she studies the electrophysiology of the brain as a postdoctoral fellow in Giorgia Quadrato’s lab at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. “When I have doubts about …

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 …

Broad Directors with Broads at ISSCR 2019

Remembering Eli Broad

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Eli Broad. Eli and Edythe’s philanthropy in the arts, science and education have been transformative. Eli approached philanthropy with an investor’s instinct for maximizing his impact and a visionary’s intuition for sensing the next big thing. Eli and Edythe were long-time supporters of …

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 …

Neural stem cells

Do our brains age faster than the rest of our bodies?

If you feel your brain power diminishing as you advance into middle age and beyond, blame your neural stem cells. In a new study published in Cell Stem Cell, a team led by USC Stem Cell scientist Michael Bonaguidi demonstrates that neural stem cells—the stem cells of the nervous system—age rapidly. “There is chronological aging, …

Pat Levitt (Photo courtesy of CHLA)

Chief Scientific Officer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles appointed to CIRM Board

Pat Levitt, PhD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ (CHLA) Chief Scientific Officer and Director of The Saban Research Institute, has been appointed to the board that oversees the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). CIRM is the voter-created agency that funds stem cell research at institutions and organizations throughout the state. “Dr. Levitt will bring a …

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