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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, …

mourning gecko

Aided by stem cells, a lizard regenerates a perfect tail for the first time in 250 million years

Lizards can regrow severed tails, making them the closest relative to humans that can regenerate a lost appendage. But in lieu of the original tail that includes a spinal column and nerves, the replacement structure is an imperfect cartilage tube. Now, for the first time, a USC-led study in Nature Communications describes how stem cells …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

Leonardo Morsut

USC Stem Cell scientist Leonardo Morsut awarded $2.5 million NIH grant to explore “synthetic” embryonic development

Whether in an earthworm or a human being, developmental processes are driven by complex networks of genetically-encoded signals that enable cells to take cues from each other and their environment. To begin unraveling this complexity, USC Stem Cell scientist Leonardo Morsut is designing artificial genetic programs to perturb natural signaling networks and study how this …

Impromptu McMahon lab meeting

USC Stem Cell study identifies molecular “switch” that turns precursors into kidney cells

Kidney development is a balancing act between the self-renewal of stem and progenitor cells to maintain and expand their numbers, and the differentiation of these cells into more specialized cell types. In a new study in the journal eLife from Andy McMahon’s laboratory in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the …

JO neurons

USC Stem Cell scientists start a buzz around fruit flies in hearing research

Even though a fruit fly doesn’t have ears, it can hear with its antennae. In a new study published in the journal Development, USC Stem Cell scientists describe how adult flies can regenerate sensory hearing cells in their antennae, and how studying flies can provide a new way to understand and develop treatments for the …

Dion Dickman, Megan McCain, and Justin Ichida

Scientists Justin Ichida and Dion Dickman: USC’s coolest tenured professors from Hawaii

Now that Justin Ichida and Dion Dickman are both tenured professors at USC, they no longer have to worry about who was the coolest kid in their elementary schools back in Honolulu. But just for the record, it was Ichida. As a third-generation Hawaiian, Ichida fit right in. His background was similar to many on …

Osteoblasts

Broad Clinical Fellows take a stem cell-based approach to liver disease and bone loss

This year’s Broad Clinical Research Fellows are developing stem cell-based approaches for patients of all ages—from two-week-old infants with liver disease, to senior citizens with bone loss following joint replacement surgeries. Since 2015, the Broad Clinical Research Fellowships have enabled physician-scientists at USC, UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco, to engage in one …

Lung organoids

USC scientist Ya-Wen Chen receives American Lung Association grant to advance stem cell-based lung therapies

USC Stem Cell scientist Ya-Wen Chen hopes to pioneer a new approach to regenerating damaged lung tissue, with support from a Catalyst Grant from the American Lung Association (ALA). The award provides $50,000 year for up to two years. “For many patients with chronic lung diseases, the only available treatment is transplantation—a difficult, dangerous surgery …

Cristy Lytal

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