Nearly 50 researchers affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research gathered Feb. 24 at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino to attend the inaugural Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research Retreat.

The event included investigators from across the university and from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They were welcomed by Zea Borok, MD, director of the Hastings Center, Ralph Edgington Chair in Medicine and chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at the Keck School. Borok recognized John Reith, chair of the board of the Hastings Foundation who attended the event, for the foundation’s generous support of lung research at the university.

The daylong retreat featured 16 presentations by current USC investigators that were thematically grouped to focus on lung development; lung cancer and imaging; stem cells, epithelial biology and fibrosis; and environment and inflammation. The program featured junior investigators with newly established laboratories, including Amy Firth, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, who was the first faculty recruit to the Hastings Center; and Crystal Marconett, PhD, assistant professor of research surgery.

Retreat organizers said the breadth of the program reinforced the strong core of excellent lung research that exists at the Keck School and throughout USC. Attendees lauded the opportunity to learn of existing strengths in lung research at the university, take advantage of potential interactions with other researchers and create new funding opportunities through collaborations among university scientists.

— Eric Weintraub

Zea Borok gives the welcome and introduction speech at the beginning of the inaugural retreat for the Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research, held Feb. 24 in San Marino.