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Overview

USC Stem Cell scientists are advancing our understanding of how the body develops, maintains and repairs the brain, nerves and senses. They are using stem cells to find new regenerative therapies for conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, neurodegenerative diseases, brain tumors, hearing loss and vision loss.

Statistics

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. An estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes progressive paralysis and usually results in fatal respiratory failure within three to five years of diagnosis.
  • Brain tumors are the most common cancer and leading cause of cancer-related death in children fourteen years and younger.
  • Twenty percent of Americans—or 48 million people—report some degree of hearing loss.
  • More than 20 million Americans report some degree of vision loss.

Researchers

News

The coronal suture contains stem cells (green).

Study of skull birth defect takes it from the top

Contrary to the popular song, the neck bone is actually connected to one of 22 separate head bones that make up the human skull. These plate-like bones intersect at specialized joints called sutures, which normally allow the skull to expand as the brain grows, but are absent in children with a birth defect called craniosynostosis. …

Organ of Corti

USC Stem Cell scientists explore the latent regenerative potential of the inner ear

Scientists from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Neil Segil have identified a natural barrier to the regeneration of the inner ear’s sensory cells, which are lost in hearing and balance disorders. Overcoming this barrier may be a first step in returning inner ear cells to a newborn-like state that’s primed for regeneration, as described …

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 …

All Brain, Nerves and Senses News

Multimedia

Giorgia Quadrato, an assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative at USC, shares her experience of how her department is building a community that is inclusive and diverse, and promoting gender equity. (Video by Sergio Bianco)
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