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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, …

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 …

Broken eggs

USC researchers regenerate skull tissue using stem cells and 3-D printed scaffolding in swine

Every year, surgeons perform more than 5,000 cranioplasties—surgeries that restore cranial defects—on patients who have experienced critical size cranial defects resulting from congenital defects, head trauma or tumor removals. Traditional materials used to correct these deficits have been bone grafts (from other humans or the patients themselves) or metal or plastic plates — none of …

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 …

Is this the gamechanger we’ve been waiting for in craniosynostosis?

One of our every 2,500 infants born in the United States will suffer from craniosynostosis — a craniofacial defect caused by the premature fusion of the different bones that comprise the human skull. In a typically developing infant, these bones are separated by fibrous joints (think: “soft spots”) that allow for the skull’s continuing expansion …

California’s biggest stem cell experiment: The impact of the stem cell ballot proposition at USC

In 2008, USC broke ground on an $80 million building dedicated solely to stem cell research and regenerative medicine. The plans called for a monolithic structure clad in black marble and reflective glass, rising five stories and enclosing nearly 90,000 square feet. When it was completed, the university had a stunning new contemporary research space …

(Image courtesy of Yang Chai)

USC-led research team shares 10 years’ progress in collecting data to push craniofacial science forward

It has been a little more than a decade since the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) launched FaceBase, a central repository for craniofacial datasets and tools meant to advance craniofacial science by fostering cooperation and collaboration around the globe. The endeavor, which represents contributions by researchers from more than two dozen universities …

(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 …

Yang Chai

Yang Chai appointed University Professor

Associate Dean of Research Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96 has been appointed a University Professor, making history as the first faculty member to achieve such distinction at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. The designation, held by fewer than 20 other faculty members across the university, is awarded very selectively to those whose …

C-DOCTOR

Center for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Tissue and Organ Regeneration awarded $30-million grant

The studies seem like something straight out of science fiction. There’s one focused on using stem cells to regenerate skull bone for patients with skull defects. Another aims to develop a hydrogel patch that could reduce scarring and regenerate hair follicles and sweat glands in burn victims. Another looks to create a transdermal patch that …

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 …

USC researchers receive $12.5 million grant for craniofacial research data-sharing endeavor

Nearly half of all birth defects involve the face and skull and, for the most part, scientists remain unclear as to why most occur. To better serve families at risk for these conditions, scientists need a comprehensive and systematic understanding of how the faces of healthy children form and what goes wrong to cause common …

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 …

Yang Chai bridges the gap from the lab bench to the dental chair

As a young oral surgeon in China, Yang Chai often operated on babies born with cleft lips or palates. “You talk to the parents, and they were very emotional and trying find out why their kid got this cleft palate or other malformation in the face,” he said. “You can tell them all the statistics—one …

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 …

USC researchers draw closer to biological treatment for birth defect

Could we be one step closer to developing a biological treatment for craniosynostosis? Building upon a body of research that demonstrated that the premature fusion of skull bones — which can cause a host of problems as an infant’s brain continues to grow — is caused by a lack of stem cells, Associate Dean of …

USC researchers converge at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Symposium

“The field of stem cell biology is one of our great convergence opportunities,” said USC Provost Michael Quick, addressing an audience of biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, clinicians and many others. This diverse group came together for the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Symposium, hosted by USC Stem Cell and the USC Medicine, Engineering, Science and Humanities (MESH) …

Yang Chai elected to National Academy of Medicine

Yang Chai, associate dean of research at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), a membership that is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Chai is also a professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and the …

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 gathered at the event, held at the Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, California this September.

Growing hope: New organs? Not yet, but stem cell research is getting closer

If you lose a limb, it’s lost for life. If you damage a kidney, you won’t grow a new one. And if you have a heart attack, the scars are there to stay. But regenerative medicine is poised to change all of this. Building new tissue is within sight, and USC scientists are among the …

Scientists get into detail at the retreat for USC’s stem cell department

“The process of disease is about detail,” said Larry Goldstein, the director of the stem cell program at the University of California, San Diego, and keynote speaker at the retreat for USC’s Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Held on October 20 and 21 at the Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, California, the …

Yang Chai, DDS, PhD

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