Dr. Ichida’s research focuses on how genetic and environmental factors contribute to human neurodegenerative disease. His laboratory uses cellular reprogramming and stem cell technology to build patient-specific in vitro models of neurodegenerative disease, enabling the screening of drug-like compounds in search of potential therapeutics.


Human induced motor neurons. Motor neurons are green, and neurons are purple. (Image courtesy of the Ichida Lab)

USC Stem Cell-led studies point the way to broadly effective treatments for ALS

Each year in the U.S., 5,000 patients receive a diagnosis of ALS, an incurable neurodegenerative disease that will likely kill them within two to five years. In the quest to find a …

From left, Cheryl Mae Craft, Justin Ichida and Dean Carolyn Meltzer (Photo by Greg Grudt/ Steve Cohn)

Justin Ichida honored as the inaugural John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC

In March 2020, Justin Ichida, PhD, was appointed to a prestigious endowed professorship at Keck School of Medicine of USC through a generous philanthropic gift from the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation. …

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 …

Anika Gidwani

Where are they now? Stem cell master’s program alumna Anika Gidwani, a law student at the University of California, Davis

In this series of alumni profiles, we highlight graduates of USC’s master of science program in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Our accomplished alumni have pursued many different paths—ranging from a …

Yichen Li

Curiosity, commitment and compassion drive Yichen Li’s research in neurodegenerative diseases

Yichen Li has always been driven to understand the world around her. Growing up in an Eastern province in China, Li’s inquisitive nature steered her toward science. “When I was a girl, …


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. …

Neurons and muscle

Skeletal muscle grown in a dish offers new insight for neuromuscular diseases

Neuromuscular diseases are debilitating and mostly incurable, affecting 160 out of every 100,000 people worldwide. Disorders such as ALS and multiple sclerosis impact the function of muscles, causing muscle wastage and loss …

Justin Ichida (Photo by Chris Shinn)

AcuraStem awarded $1 million Department of Defense grant to develop ALS drug candidate

AcuraStem, a patient-based drug discovery platform company developing novel therapeutics for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and neurodegenerative diseases, has received an Amyotrophic Lat-eral Sclerosis Research Program (ALSRP) Therapeutic Development Award from 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. …

Justin Ichida (Photo by Ben Gibbs)

Justin Ichida named John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC

Justin Ichida has been named the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC. This new endowed professorship recognizes Ichida’s progress in developing stem …

Organ of Corti

USC Stem Cell scientists find a simpler way to make sensory hearing cells

Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratories of Neil Segil and Justin Ichida are whispering the secrets of a simpler way to generate the sensory cells of the inner ear. Their approach …


USC Stem Cell scientists use “mini-lungs” and lung models to understand COVID-19

USC scientists are testing out experimental COVID-19 treatments on human “mini-lungs” and lung models, grown in the laboratory using stem cells. With names such as organoids and lung-chips, these simplified, lung-like structures …

Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC (Photo by Chris Shinn)

A tribute to patient advocate Nanci Ryder

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and champion, Nanci Ryder. Nanci was an amazing woman who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of others. As a Hollywood publicist, …

Ya-Wen Chen

USC Stem Cell scientist Ya-Wen Chen grows miniature lungs with maximum potential

As the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak escalated into a pandemic, USC lung researcher Ya-Wen Chen expected to be spending a lot of time at home, sheltering in place. “At the beginning of the …

Justin Ichida‘s lab is doing groundbreaking work in the field of stem cell research. (Photo/Damon Casarez)

His race against ALS: Justin Ichida

Story courtesy of Trojan Family Magazine Justin Ichida regularly gets emails from strangers asking the same urgent question: “Will your research on ALS be done in time to save my life?” The …

USC scientists have found a solution to untangle twisty DNA, removing kinks so the molecules can be used to reprogram cells to advance regenerative medicine to treat disease. (Illustration/iStock)

USC scientists surmount big obstacle to reprogram cells

USC scientists have surmounted a big roadblock in regenerative medicine that has so far constrained the ability to use repurposed cells to treat diseases. The researchers figured out how to reprogram cells …

AcuraStem team members participated in the ALS Association Golden West Chapter‘s Walk to Defeat ALS at Exposition Park. (Photo by Roxan Olivas, AcuraStem)

Innovators of USC: Justin Ichida stays at the forefront of ALS research

Justin Ichida keeps his research patient-based. That’s why Ichida, Richard N. Merkin, M.D., Assistant Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and his …

Kim Babos

CIRM Stem Cell Awareness Day: Science Career Videos

In honor of CIRM’s Stem Cell Awareness Day, USC Stem Cell invites you to explore careers in science. Meet progressive master’s student Carina Seah, PhD student Kimberley Babos, postdoc Jorge Contreras and clinical fellow Abigail Zamora.

Note to self (Photo by Sergio Bianco)

At the retreat for USC’s stem cell department, the students become the masters

Students and trainees took center stage at the annual retreat for USC’s Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. They presented their latest research to the 180 stem cell scientists who …

Justin Ichida, PhD