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Dr. Chai’s laboratory is interested in early craniofacial development and malformations, including the molecular regulation of cranial neural crest cells. His laboratory has developed genetically engineered mouse models, and has made important discoveries about the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) niche in the craniofacial region and about utilizing MSCs with 3D printed scaffolds for tissue regeneration.

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Clockwise from top left – Yang Chai, Denis Evseenko, Peter Kuhn and Justin Ichida, NAI 2024 class of senior members. (Chai photo/ Chris Shinn; Evseenko and Ichida photos/Richard Carrasco; Kuhn photo/Peter Zhaoyu Zhou); featured image for National Academy of Inventors elects four Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty as senior members

National Academy of Inventors elects four Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty as senior members

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a nonprofit member organization that encourages inventors in higher education, has announced that four researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC are part of …

Building an Incubator for Medicine of the 21st Century; featured image for Building an Incubator for Medicine of the 21st Century

Building an Incubator for Medicine of the 21st Century

USC Stem Cell is pleased to introduce our new publication. We hope you’ll enjoy reflecting back on our history, while looking ahead to the transformative times to come. Read now at https://stemcell.keck.usc.edu/wp-content/themes/stemcell/incubator.

Yang Chai (Photo by Chris Shinn); featured image for University Professor Yang Chai wins 2023 Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s Paul Goldhaber Award

University Professor Yang Chai wins 2023 Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s Paul Goldhaber Award

Yang Chai, the associate dean of research for the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, has been awarded the 2023 Paul Goldhaber Award by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The highest …

Nerves; featured image for USC researchers probe how nerves impact stem cells

USC researchers probe how nerves impact stem cells

It’s well known that nerves are vital for sensing the world, but researchers are now discovering how they also change the behavior of stem cells, which could have implications for regrowing teeth. …

Kuo-Chang (Ted) Tseng from the Crump Lab and Michelle Hung from the Ichida Lab enjoy a beachside brainstorm.; featured image for Scientists feel the sand between their toes at the retreat for USC’s stem cell department

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 …

Image courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC; featured image for Figuring out how teeth are built, one cell at a time

Figuring out how teeth are built, one cell at a time

USC researchers look inside teeth to figure out how we might regenerate teeth in the future. TEETH ARE MARVELOUSLY  COMPLICATED structures — and the way they develop is also complex. The majority …

Nelson Poliran, Jr.; featured image for Where are they now? Stem cell master’s program alumnus Nelson Poliran, Jr., a dentist in rural New Mexico

Where are they now? Stem cell master’s program alumnus Nelson Poliran, Jr., a dentist in rural New Mexico

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 …

Jian Xu (Photo by John Skalicky); featured image for Ostrow faculty member Jian Xu does craniofacial biology with heart

Ostrow faculty member Jian Xu does craniofacial biology with heart

The researcher was recently promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Dentistry with tenure. TO SOME, IT MIGHT SEEM UNUSUAL that Jian Xu, whose PhD research focused on cardiac hypertrophy and …

Image courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC; featured image for USC collaboration helps FaceBase reach 1,000-dataset milestone

USC collaboration helps FaceBase reach 1,000-dataset milestone

The data repository allows craniofacial scientists to share data, which could ultimately lead to improved care for patients with craniofacial developmental disorders. Rapid technological development in the past decade has allowed scientists …

Scott Fraser by Noe Montes; featured image for USC Professor Scott E. Fraser redefines impossible problems

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 …

Broken eggs; featured image for USC researchers regenerate skull tissue using stem cells and 3-D printed scaffolding in swine

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 …

Image courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC; featured image for A quantum leap

A quantum leap

Ostrow jumps to fourth top-funded U.S. dental institution by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. If a global pandemic was meant to slow researchers down in their quest for knowledge, …

Robert E. Maxson; featured image for USC celebrates Robert E. Maxson’s lifetime of achievement and adventure

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 …

cranial skeleton models; featured image for Is this the gamechanger we’ve been waiting for in craniosynostosis?

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 …

Conventional treatment for craniosynostosis often involves surgery and cranial helmets during the long recovery process. (Photo courtesy of iStock); featured image for Stem cells may correct deformity and restore brain function after childhood disorder

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 …

USC's stem cell research center

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 …

Skull (Image courtesy of Yang Chai); featured image for USC-led research team shares 10 years’ progress in collecting data to push craniofacial science forward

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 …

Microscope (Photo courtesy of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC); featured image for Investigating the neighboring environment for stem cells

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 …

Yang Chai; featured image for Yang Chai appointed University Professor

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 …

C-DOCTOR; featured image for Center for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Tissue and Organ Regeneration awarded $30-million grant

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 …