Birds of a feather flock together for stem cell research

By Robin Heffler The cellular and molecular composition of feathers can be experimentally manipulated to test the hypothesis that certain molecular components may enhance or suppress pigment differentiation. To eventually use stem cells in regenerative medicine, scientists need to understand how stem cells become organized into particular tissue patterns and shapes. With that in mind, researchers at USC recently found clues by studying the cellular and molecular basis of complex pigment patterns in bird feathers. Keck School of Medicine of USC researchers uncovered several fundamental rules of morphogenesis ─ the organizational process of functional cellular patterning. Their study appeared on April 25 in Science Express, the online version of the journal Science. “Feathers are a good research model because they are unique, able to regenerate repetitively under normal conditions and are positioned at the surface of the body so that we can see their patterns,” said Cheng-Ming Chuong, the study’s team leader and professor of pathology at the Keck School. “Therefore their cellular and molecular composition can be experimentally manipulated to test the hypothesis that certain molecular components may enhance or suppress pigment differentiation.” Read More »

June 28th, 2013|Announcements|

USC study charts exercise for stroke patients’ brains

By Robert Perkins A new study has found that stroke patients’ brains show strong cortical motor activity when observing others performing physical tasks — a finding that offers new insight into stroke rehabilitation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a team of researchers from USC monitored the brains of 24 individuals — 12 who had suffered strokes and 12 age-matched people who had not — as they watched others performing actions made using the arm and hand that would be difficult for a person who can no longer use their arm due to stroke — actions such as lifting a pencil or flipping a card. Read More »

June 28th, 2013|Announcements|

YouTube inspires cross-country trek for pharmacy student

By Alexis Young PharmD candidate Cedona Watts is researching gene expression and translocation at the Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Md.Photo/Lillian Insalata After watching a YouTube video about the USC School of Pharmacy, Cedona Watts was convinced that she should leave her hometown of Huntsville, Ala., and head west to Trojan town. Now entering her fourth year as a PharmD candidate, Watts credits her USC education for the multitude of fellowships, scholarships and awards she’s received. “That one YouTube video really inspired me,” said Watts, who graduated from the University of Alabama with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and biological sciences. “I saw the dean and the different faculty in the video. Their message was to increase diversity within the pharmacy profession, and the other important things were the opportunities to do research and dual degrees.” Read More »

June 28th, 2013|Announcements|

More than 1,000 flock to learn ‘sidewalk CPR’

In honor of National CPR Week, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency offered a countywide CPR training program to the greater Los Angeles Area. Read More »

June 24th, 2013|Announcements|

Pfizer and USC team up to create a new R&D partnership

By Amy E. Hamaker A significant number of drugs originate in the academic medical community, but progress toward translating new pharmaceutical breakthroughs to the clinic is often slow and prohibitively expensive. Research suggests that since the early 1980s, the number of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs has stayed the same, while investments in research have increased from $5 billion to $35 billion. Read More »

June 24th, 2013|Announcements|