Three USC researchers win $4.3 million in awards from California’s stem cell agency

Three scientists from Keck Medicine of USC have won grants exceeding $4.3 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for research that includes creating a temporary liver for patients, finding novel ways to treat immune disorders and blood diseases, and developing new animal models for heart failure, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. The grants, …


How does air pollution influence Alzheimer’s risk?

Higher exposure to air pollution is strongly associated with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, especially for people with certain genetic risk factors for the disease. Exactly how pollution interacts with these genes to increase dementia risk is still unknown, but clues may be found in how stem cells within the brain undergo aging, according to …

Bérénice Benayoun

Bérénice Benayoun receives prestigious investigator-focused grant

The Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award directly supports scientists, providing stability, flexibility and more opportunities for breakthroughs. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded an R35 Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) to USC Leonard Davis Assistant Professor Bérénice Benayoun to support her research on mechanisms of genomic regulation and how they influence health and …


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.   …

Bérénice Benayoun

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 …

Men are from Mars

New award supports study of why females age differently than males

A new research project led by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Assistant Professor Bérénice Benayoun aims to learn more about why female mammals, including humans, age differently than males. Sex dimorphism – physiological characteristics that differ between the sexes in a species – can have big implications for health and lifespan. Human longevity differs …

Time to eat

What and when we eat affects our immune system. Here’s how.

Professor Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute, is investigating how fasting and diets that mimic fasting’s effects can help immune function, including vaccine efficacy and the body’s response to infection by viruses such as influenza and eventually COVID-19. Fasting and fasting mimicking diets appear to “get rid of damaged or mis­guided cells and …

Navigage, Rose Hills Foundations support Berenice Benayoun

From catching cognitive impairment earlier to understanding the genetics of age-related disease and health disparities, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology faculty conduct exciting research supported by organizations committed to helping others. The Navigage Foundation awarded grants for pilot research projects led by USC Leonard Davis faculty members Berenice Benayoun and Mireille Jacobson. Jacobson, an …

Bérénice Benayoun

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 process of aging, and she hopes her findings could eventually help delay frailty and prolong healthy life.

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 appeared on the baby boomer-focused online news platform Next Avenue.

Drugs widely used in cancer therapy increase toxicity of chemotherapy in mice

A short-term fast appears to counteract increases in blood sugar caused by common cancer drugs and protect healthy cells in mice from becoming too vulnerable to chemotherapy, according to new research by Valter Longo, professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology professor, director of the USC Longevity Institute and principal investigator with USC …

Fasting-mimicking diet may reverse diabetes in mice

By Beth Newcomb A diet designed to imitate the effects of fasting appears to reverse diabetes, a new USC-led study shows. The fasting-like diet promotes the growth of new insulin-producing pancreatic cells that reduce symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in mice, according to the study on mice and human cells led by …

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study in Cell Stem Cell from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Professor Songtao Shi, principal investigator on the project, said the presence of …

Dental study provides wealth of stem cell details

An Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study has uncovered new details on how bundles of nerves and arteries interact with stem cells and also showcases revolutionary techniques for following the cells as they function in living animals. Principal investigator Yang Chai, director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Ostrow School and …

Healthy stem cells can create benign tumors in jaw

A new study from the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC published in Cell Stem Cell illustrates how changes in cell signaling can cause ordinary stem cells in the jaw to start forming benign but potentially harmful tumors. Principal investigator Songtao Shi, professor at the Ostrow School’s Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, said ossifying fibromas, …

Ostrow School study links growth factor glitch to tongue defects

New findings about how cell signaling directs tongue development may have big clinical applications for healing tongue defects, according to an Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. According to Professor Yang Chai, the study’s principal investigator and director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the …

Stem cells found in gum tissue can fight inflammatory disease

Stem cells found in mouth tissue can not only become other types of cells but can also relieve inflammatory disease, according to a new Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study in the Journal of Dental Research.

Ostrow School investigators recognized for research

The International Association of Dental Research (IADR) honored two scientists from the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC at the association’s general session opening ceremonies on March 20 in Seattle. Professor Songtao Shi and Postdoctoral Research Associate Carolina Parada, two researchers in the Ostrow School’s Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology (CCMB), were the honorees.

Beth Newcomb

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