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.


  • 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.



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 cell-based approaches to studying neurodegenerative diseases including ALS, frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 50 million people worldwide, and …

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 uses direct reprogramming to produce sensory cells known as “hair cells,” due to their hair-like protrusions that sense sound waves. The study was …

Nanci Ryder

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, Nanci excelled at establishing the careers of rising stars. Her clients included Renee Zellweger, Michael J. Fox, Courteney Cox, Don Diamont, and countless …

All Brain, Nerves and Senses News


As the President and CEO of the John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation, Dr. Cheryl Mae Craft shares some important reasons for investing in stem cell research and regenerative medicine at USC. The foundation recently endowed an associate professorship for USC scientist Justin Ichida, who uses stem cells to study neurodegenerative disease. (Video by Sergio Bianco)
All Brain, Nerves and Senses Videos

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