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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, …

Image courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC awarded research training grants from National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research

The prestigious five-year training grants are meant to support tomorrow’s leading thinkers in craniofacial research as they launch their academic careers. The Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has been awarded two training grants from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to support nine PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, giving USC the distinction …

Jianfu Jeff Chen

From grains to brains, USC scientist Jianfu (Jeff) Chen uncovers the roots of disease

Although USC scientist Jianfu (Jeff) Chen now studies human neurological disorders, he was originally more interested in organisms without brains, such as rice and wheat. “When I was about to go to college in China, there was big emphasis on the biology major, because of the guy who happened to be a pioneer in the …

Conventional treatment for craniosynostosis often involves surgery and cranial helmets during the long recovery process. (Photo courtesy of iStock)

Stem cells may correct deformity and restore brain function after childhood disorder

USC scientists have regenerated parts of the skull affected by a common birth defect called craniosynostosis. Using stem cells to regenerate parts of the skull, USC scientists partially corrected a skull deformity and reversed learning and memory deficits in young mice with craniosynostosis, a condition estimated to affect 1 in every 2,500 infants born in the …

Brainy baby

Probing the genes that organize early brain development

When brains begin developing, there are a lot of moving parts — and when mutations happen in early neurodevelopment, it can lead to disorders like macrocephaly and autism. But scientists don’t know much about the ways that development goes askew, particularly in humans. That’s why Wei Zhang, a postdoctoral scholar and research associate at USC’s …

Assistant Professor Jianfu Chen is working on ways to understand how the disorder is regulated in genes, and hopes one day to find treatments.

Ostrow researcher probes the roots of microcephaly, inside cells

Microcephaly is a condition where the circumference of an individual’s head is smaller than normal. It can be caused by genetic abnormalities as well as fetal exposure to drugs; alcohol; certain viruses, such as Zika virus; or toxins during pregnancy. It’s rare — there are fewer than 200,000 cases a year in the United States. …

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 poured into understanding the virus, there are still numerous outstanding questions. USC Assistant Professor Jianfu Chen is working to answer some of the …

Jianfu Chen, PhD

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