Dr. McMahon’s laboratory explores the mechanisms that maintain stem/progenitor cells and regulate their differentiation to mature cell types of different organ systems, particularly the kidney. By combining genetic and genomic approaches with high resolution imaging, his group is aiming to obtain a deeper understanding of stem cell biology and to develop novel therapeutic strategies for regenerative medicine.


Charles (Chuck) Murry (Photo by Gavin Sisk/ University of Washington)

USC Stem Cell welcomes new leader, renowned physician-scientist Chuck Murry

Charles (Chuck) Murry, MD, PhD, has been appointed as the next head of USC Stem Cell. In that capacity, he will be the chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and …

Kidney organoids with proximal tubules (Image by Jack Schnell/Lindström Lab)

$3.95 million CIRM grant establishes USC ASCEND Center to make stem cell-derived organ models accessible to all

To democratize access to lab-grown organ-like structures known as organoids and other advanced stem cell and transcriptomic technologies, USC will launch the CIRM ASCEND Center, dedicated to “Advancing Stem Cell Education and …

Building an Incubator for Medicine of the 21st Century

Building an Incubator for Medicine of the 21st Century

USC Stem Cell is pleased to introduce our new publication. We hope you’ll enjoy reflecting back on our history, while looking ahead to the transformative times to come. Read now at

The 2023 Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop (Photo courtesy of Catcher Salazar)

Three USC Stem Cell undergraduates expand their horizons, thanks to Neil Segil Travel Scholarships

Few scientists will ever forget the first time they presented their research at a conference. Thanks to the Neil Segil Stem Cell Travel Scholarships, three USC Stem Cell undergraduate researchers recently experienced …

Two of the genes—Gsta4 in red and Cyp4a14 in green—that are more active in female mouse kidneys (blue) (Image by Jing Liu/McMahon Lab)

Why are male kidneys more vulnerable to disease than female kidneys? USC Stem Cell-led mouse study points to testosterone.

Female kidneys are known to be more resilient to disease and injury, but males need not despair. A new USC Stem Cell-led study published in Developmental Cell describes not only how sex …

At the lab bench (Photo by Chris Shinn)

Ten USC Stem Cell PhD students and recent graduates earn NIH fellowships

Ten USC Stem Cell PhD students and recent graduates have been awarded fellowships from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Known as F31 awards, these prestigious fellowships provide promising PhD students with …

From left, Francesca Mariani, Dean Carolyn C. Meltzer, Helena Bugacov, Bohdana-Myroslava Briantseva, and Andy McMahon (Photo by Maritza Montalvo)

The Keck School of Medicine of USC celebrates the graduates of the master’s, doctoral, and nurse anesthesia programs

“I now declare commencement ceremonies for the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California open!” announced Francesca Mariani, associate professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and integrative …

Francesca Mariani in her lab (Photo by Chris Shinn)

Stem cell faculty member Francesca Mariani wins USC’s highest honor for outstanding teaching

When Francesca Mariani learned that she would receive USC’s highest honor for outstanding teaching, a 2023 Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, it took her by surprise. “Sometimes it feels mysterious as …

Professor Justin Ichida leads a class for USC's stem cell master's students (Photo by Chris Shinn)

Scholarships change lives in USC’s stem cell master’s program: Five students’ stories

For one scholarship recipient in the master’s program in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, USC is just close enough to his mother’s house to commute and save on rent. For another, …

Kuo-Chang (Ted) Tseng from the Crump Lab and Michelle Hung from the Ichida Lab enjoy a beachside brainstorm.

Scientists feel the sand between their toes at the retreat for USC’s stem cell department

A pair of young scientists picked up a piece of driftwood and thoughtfully traced a series of letters in the wet sand of Ventura Beach. The word “microglia”—referring to the immune cells …

Justin Ichida (left) and Zhongwei Li (Photos by Chris Shinn and courtesy of Zhongwei Li)

USC Stem Cell scientists Justin Ichida and Zhongwei Li receive NIH Director’s Awards

It’s hard to obtain research funding for safe ideas, and it’s even harder to find funding for risky ones. But thanks to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Awards, USC Stem …

Students in the teaching lab at USC's stem cell research center (Photo by Chris Shinn)

USC COMPASS undergraduate program points the way to stem cell careers

To promote inclusive excellence in science, USC will be offering a new program for undergraduates from historically underrepresented backgrounds with an interest in studying stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Known as …

A cell showing the enzyme BirA*G3, which tags the proteins of the "secretome" (Image courtesy of the McMahon Lab)

This mouse can’t keep a secret about the “secretome”

The “secretome” refers to proteins that are secreted by a cell, a tissue or an organism. In a new study published in Open Biology, USC Stem Cell scientist Andy McMahon and his …

Human cystic kidney organoid (Image by Cheng (Jack) Song/McMahon Lab)

USC Stem Cell scientists use mini-kidney models to identify potential drugs for polycystic kidney disease

In a new study in Cell Stem Cell, scientists from the USC laboratory of Andy McMahon generated simple kidney-like structures called organoids, and used them to identify potential drugs to treat adult-onset …

Clockwise from top left, Miao Cui, Yulia Shwartz, Olena Zhulyn, and Kyle McCracken

Stem cell scientists explore the mysteries of regeneration at the Junior Faculty Candidate Seminar and Symposium

How can we regenerate tissues that are damaged, lost or diseased in the human body? This was the central question driving the four scientists who presented their research at the Junior Faculty …


California’s stem cell agency awards USC $5 million to train scientists and clinicians

USC has been awarded a $5 million training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to prepare PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and clinical fellows for careers in stem cell research. …

Impromptu McMahon lab meeting

USC Stem Cell: An incubator for medicine of the 21st century

Just over a decade ago, USC was a university with a few scattered stem cell biologists, and a vision for total transformation. The university was committed to designing a unique “incubator” for …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Andrew P. McMahon, PhD, FRS