USC Stem Cell scientists are advancing our understanding of how the body develops, maintains and repairs the muscles, cartilage and skeleton. They are also using stem cells to find new regenerative therapies for conditions ranging from difficult-to-heal bone fractures to muscle injury, from birth defects to arthritis.


  • Arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions are the leading cause of disability in the US.
  • Approximately 6.3 million bone fractures occur each year in the US.
  • The most common fracture prior to age 75 is a wrist fracture. In those over age 75, hip fractures become the most common broken bone and can lead to permanent disability.
  • Between 10% and 55% of muscle injuries occur during sports activities.
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, affecting approximately one or two in a thousand babies.


Muscles and Skeleton News

Neural stem cells derived from patients with ALS or frontotemporal dementia (Image by Eric Hendricks/Ichida Lab)

ALS and frontotemporal dementia show origins in utero, according to evidence from mice and patient-derived stem cells

Even though neurodegenerative diseases often strike in middle age or later, patients could have structural differences in their brains that arise before birth. In a new study in Cell Reports, USC Stem …

A green anole lizard regenerating its tail (Image by Ariel Vonk/ Lozito Lab)

Researchers unlock mystery of cartilage regeneration in lizards

Scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of USC identify key cells involved in the process of cartilage regeneration in lizards—a discovery that could offer insights into novel approaches to treating osteoarthritis. …

Alma Zuniga Munoz and Albert Almada (Photo by Cristy Lytal)

Stem Cell PhD student Alma Zuniga Munoz wins USC’s first Gilliam Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Alma Zuniga Munoz, a student in USC’s PhD program in Development, Stem Cells, and Regeneration, is used to being the first. She’s a first-generation American, the first member of her extended family …

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Muscles and Skeleton Videos

Dentistry student Julia Raulino Lima changes the lives of children with cleft palates.
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