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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, …

(Photo courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC)

Investigating the neighboring environment for stem cells

A long-held goal in dental research is to harness the power of stem cells to regenerate bone and dental tissue. But to do so, it’s important to fully understand the environment the stem cells inhabit. A new study, titled “Runx2+ niche cells maintain incisor mesenchymal tissue homeostasis through IGF signaling,” published earlier this summer shows …

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Hunting for heart cells that can grow back after an injury

Hearts are tough organs. Over the course of a lifetime, they beat ever second of every day, keeping the entire body nourished with life-giving blood. But, even with all that stamina, heart tissue lacks the ability to regenerate after significant trauma like a heart attack. There are some heart cells that do have the ability …

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 …

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USC researchers tackle a growing problem: Dental implant disease

More than 3 million dental implants have been placed in the mouths of U.S. patients, and that number rises by 500,000 each year. While implants help many people restore their oral health, they come at a cost. Nearly 15 percent of patients with implants develop peri-implantitis, an infectious disease that triggers an immune response of …

Baxter Foundation supports research in pediatric blindness, human brain development

The Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation is supporting researchers exploring the causes of pediatric blindness and intellectual disability research by granting $100,000 awards to two assistant professors at the Keck School of Medicine of USC: Giorgia Quadrato, PhD, and Aaron Nagiel, MD, PhD. Quadrato, assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at …

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. …

USC researcher Yang Chai has received another five-year grant to bolster his research into the causes of one of the most common congenital birth defects.

Cleft palate research continues to help patients

Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96 has been awarded a five-year, nearly $2 million grant by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for research focused on better understanding the molecular regulatory mechanisms of cleft palate. It’s the fourth time the grant has been renewed, continuously supporting this research …

The discovery could change the way dental implants are placed, allowing dentists to regenerate tooth roots that better integrate with jaw bone structures.

Ostrow researchers discover how genes for tooth roots turn on and off

To figure out how the body changes over time, researchers are increasingly looking to understand epigenetics, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. This scientific endeavor extends to teeth as well. Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96 has …

How the roots of teeth develop has long been a mystery. Professor Yang Chai aims to change that — and eventually regrow the roots of teeth.

Researchers seek the root of tooth development

The lower two-thirds of a tooth are known as the root. Normally covered in bone, they anchor the tooth into the jaw. But the exact mechanisms and pathways that create the root — and its delicate interactions with the rest of the tooth — have not been well-studied. Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD …

Regrowing enamel? USC Dental Professor Janet Moradian-Oldak is on the case

Dental enamel is tricky stuff. Even though it’s the body’s hardest material, if it wears away from cavities, acidic food or drinks or overbrushing, it doesn’t regenerate.  All that could change in the future, though. Ostrow Professor Janet Moradian-Oldak has been developing a special hydrogel that can promote the growth of an enamel-like surface on …

Findings published in Biomaterials Special Issue of the Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society

USC dental researchers developing special film that could revolutionize the way peri-implantitis treated

Three million people in the United States currently have dental implants, and every year that number increases by about 500,000. But, for some, getting a dental implant is not the end of the story. Similar to what occurs with a natural tooth, bacteria can build up on the implant’s base and below the gum line. …

From teeth the spines, growing bone in new ways

Bone is crucial. After blood, it’s the most frequently transplanted tissue, with 1.6 to 2 million bone transplants performed in the United States each year.

Ostrow researcher makes strides in gel to regrow tooth enamel

Around the globe, dental cavities are the leading source of disability and pain: they affect 35 percent of the world’s population, with an economic impact in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Still, the methods for treating cavities generally involve pain, cost — and drills. Janet Moradian-Oldak, a professor at the Herman Ostrow School of …

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 …

Stem cells may hold the key to helping patients with cleft palate

Every time we drink or breathe, the soft palate is hard at work. It acts like a trap door, allowing air to squeeze through or shutting so liquids can pass by. And when congenital problems arise there, like a cleft in the palate, they can cause problems with speech, swallowing, breathing and hearing. Ostrow Professor …

Researcher Jian Xu earns accolades for cell fate studies

Basic science can often be far from basic—especially for Jian Xu, who believes cells are kind of like people. “In simple terms, we look at how cells determine their own fate,” said Xu, USC Stem Cell principal investigator and assistant professor at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. “If we look at people …

Katharine Gammon

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