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Motor nerve cells (Image courtesy of the Ichida Lab)

The toxic relationship between ALS and frontotemporal dementia

ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two neurodegenerative diseases with a toxic relationship, according to a new USC Stem Cell study published in Nature Medicine.

Diffusion MRI maps show disrupted white matter connectivity and loss of white matter fiber tracts in 1 year-old pericyte-deficient mice. (Image courtesy of the Zlokovic Lab)

Half of all dementias start with damaged “gatekeeper cells”

USC research sheds new light on how a breakdown in the brain’s vascular system predates the accumulation of toxic plaques and tangles in the brain that bring about Alzheimer’s disease. The research …

Valter Longo (Photo by John Skalicky)

What to know about fasting, aging, the “longevity diet” and when you should eat

Biochemist Valter Longo has devoted decades to discovering connections between nutrition and successful aging. He runs the Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, which aims to extend healthy …

Bérénice Benayoun (Photo courtesy of the USC Davis School of Gerontology)

Bérénice Benayoun studies possibility of rejuvenating genes

Bérénice Benayoun, assistant professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and principal investigator with USC Stem Cell, explores the role of epigenetics—the ways that genes turn “off” or “on”—in the …

Synapses between nerve cells, called neurons, and muscle cells in the fruit fly Drosophila are giving clues to how neurons maintain communication. Here, a synapse is immunostained with antibodies that recognize the neuronal membrane (blue), active zones (green) and neurotransmitter receptors (red). (Image courtesy of Dion Dickman)

Answers for diseases like schizophrenia may lie in how the brain maintains balance

Pop psychologists tout “balance” as key to mental health, and they may be more right than they realize. Neuroscientist Dion Dickman is gaining insight into how the brain maintains healthy balance on …

Abigail Zamora

Broad Clinical Research Fellows use stem cells to build bone and combat cancer

This year’s Broad Clinical Research Fellows will apply stem cell-based approaches to two prevalent problems: non-healing bone injuries, which affect 5 million Americans each year; and neuroblastoma, which is the most common …

Michaela Patterson (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

Broad Fellows look to stem cells to treat heart disease and hearing loss

When it came time to select this year’s Broad Fellow, the award committee couldn’t pick just one. Instead, they bestowed the honor on two talented postdoctoral researchers in USC Stem Cell laboratories: …

Embryonic stem cells (Image/courtesy of Qi-Long Ying)

Subtle cues can dictate the fate of stem cells

If you’ve seen one GSK3 molecule, do not assume that you have seen them all. A new study in Developmental Cell reveals important differences in two similar forms of GSK3, which, in …

Embryonic mouse cortex with neural stem cells (red) and neurons (green) (Image by Wen-Hsuan Chang/Wange Lu Lab)

Ryk needs a chaperone

Ryk has made the headlines by requiring a chaperone. But don’t assume that Ryk is a badly behaved celebrity—it’s actually a protein featured in a new study in the Proceedings of the …

From left, Gio Suh and Lauren Ekman (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

Countdown to Commencement: Gio Suh builds muscles without exercising

“I’ve always wanted to be in a textbook and impact the world,” said Gio Suh, who is graduating in December 2017 from the master of science program in stem cell biology and …

Jianfu Chen (Photo courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC)

A Zika surprise: African strain can do more damage than Asian strain

The Zika virus has spread to 44 countries, with thousands infected and thousands of babies born with microcephaly, a rare complication that causes small heads. But even though research dollars are being …

Pinchas Cohen (Photo courtesy of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology)

Pinchas Cohen recognized as top influencer in aging field

A newly published list of 2017’s top 50 “Influencers in Aging” includes Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and principal investigator with USC Stem Cell. The list …

Nanoparticles vs. germs (Photo courtesy of @nanopeek)

Peeking into the science world

For adolescents, social media use is nearly inevitable. According to “Science Daily,” a website that circulates recently developed research news headlines, 76 percent of teenagers in the United States actively use Instagram …

Injury-related damage in a mouse chronic kidney disease model (Image by Jing Liu/McMahon Lab)

The Broad Foundation awards $1 million to early-stage stem cell research projects

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded two $125,000 grants to early-stage scientific investigations at USC’s stem cell research center. The projects are among eight winners of the $1 million Fund …

Justin Ichida (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

USC Stem Cell researcher Justin Ichida honored as a champion in the fight against ALS

The ALS Association Golden West Chapter will recognize USC Stem Cell researcher Justin Ichida with the 2017 Essey Commitment to a Cure Award for his outstanding achievements in the fight against ALS. …

Justin Ichida (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

Verge Genomics announces a multi-institution collaboration with Columbia University, MGH, USC and the University of Michigan to advance ALS research

Verge Genomics, a drug discovery company utilizing genomic data for neuroscience therapeutics, announced today that it is has established a multi-institution industry-academic collaboration with four top universities focused on accelerating the translation …

Mark Humayun (Photo by Gus Ruelas)

Envisioning a new world

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has awarded Mark Humayun, co-director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute and director of the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, with the …

Eun Ji Chung (Photo by Michelle Henry)

Eun Ji Chung receives 2017 AIChE 35 Under 35 Award

To describe Eun Ji Chung as “goal-oriented” might be the understatement of the year. Chung, a Gabilan Assistant Professor in the USC Viterbi Department of Biomedical Engineering and USC Stem Cell principal investigator, …

The protein TAZ (green) in the cytoplasm (the region outside of the nuclei, blue) promotes the self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells. (Image by Xingliang Zhou)

The protein TAZ sends “mixed signals” to stem cells

Just as beauty exists in the eye of the beholder, a signal depends upon the interpretation of the receiver. According to new USC research published in Stem Cell Reports, a protein called …

From left, Qi-Long Ying, Min Zhou, and Ying Lab postdoc Shi (Steve) Yue (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

Biotech entrepreneur Min Zhou supports scientific serendipity in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Qi-Long Ying

“The most important discoveries that I’ve made have all come from nowhere,” said Qi-Long Ying, associate professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC. “They could not be planned.” To …