Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The USC Graduate School is now accepting nominations for the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award for individuals who have completed dissertations representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. The effective date of the degree, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must fall in the period of July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015, inclusive.

Two awards are given annually in two different broad areas. The 2015 fields of competition are:

o    Biological and Life Sciences
o    Humanities and Fine Arts

(The 2016 competition will focus on social sciences and engineering/physical sciences).

Please have students submit the following to graduate.fellowships@usc.edu by Monday, June 22, 2015:

1.      An abstract of the dissertation (not to exceed 10 pages, typed double-spaced on 8-1/2" x 11" white paper).
2.     A brief CV

If selected for nomination, three letters of reference evaluating the significance and quality of the dissertation will be due to the graduate school by Friday, July 10, 2015.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NGP Distinguished Speaker Series | "Cortical and perceptual processing of visual form"

Visionary Seminar | “Pan-Cellular Tissue Tomography: Enabling quantitative 3D phenotyping of optically opaque tissues at cell resolution”

Friday, May 1, 2015
2 PM
RRI 101
Host: Provost Professor Scott Fraser
Tel: 213-740-2233    

Keith Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Pathology
Director of Experimental Pathology
Penn State College of Medicine

In medicine, multiple organ systems are commonly affected, necessitating a complete “review of systems” approach to obtaining data for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.  Similarly, “complete” assessments of phenotype in model organisms ideally detect change in any cell type or organ system caused by disruption in gene function or by environmental (e.g. chemical) exposures. In mm-scale samples, changes in every cell can be considered in context of the whole, facilitating elucidation of cellular mechanisms. Neither affected cell types and tissues nor affected life stages can be predicted ahead of time, requiring phenotyping methods with pan-cellular capabilities even into older life stages. Since many differentiated tissues are optically opaque, histology is commonly used to study mutant phenotypes. While pan-cellular in nature, highly sensitive, and of high resolution, histology lacks significant 3D perspective, is subject to sample mal-orientation, lacks ability to view alternative planes, and has low throughput. 

We are working towards higher-throughput, comprehensive, 3D morphological phenotyping of optically opaque organisms. Ideally, every cell type can be studied in the context of the whole organism. Assessing tissue architecture requires 3D images. Detecting cytological change requires voxel resolutions of ~ 1 micron. Any developmental stage may be affected, necessitating imaging at different life stages. Light-based 3D imaging methods including fluorescence microscopy are precluded in opaque, thick, or pigmented tissue samples. We are planning to develop kits for community use of a synchrotron X-ray based tool we call Pan-cellular Tissue Tomography (PANCETTO), which provides ~1 micron voxel resolution in whole, optically opaque, mm-scale organisms and samples. We report progress towards work towards elements of automation of imaging, digital orientation to a coordinate system, and detection and measurement of tissue volumes, and propose to take advantage of cloud-based access to sets of slice and slab visualizations, segmentations, annotations, and phenotyping. High-throughput phenotyping based on PANCETTO is being pursued across model organisms and tissues. The proposed tools will be model system-agnostic, and applicable to the identification of phenotypic signatures of disease, chemical exposures, and genetic deficiencies.  We expect the intersections between disease, chemical, and genetic phenomes to be meaningful and useful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 Tyler Prize Laureate Lectures

Thursday, April 23, 2015
2:00 PM
University Park Campus
The Forum @ TCC 450

Please join Madhav Gadgil, Ph.D., of Goa University, India, for the lecture “Science in the Service of a Symbiotic Society,” and the Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., of Oregon State University for the lecture “Seas the Day: a new vision for healthy oceans and vibrant communities," as we welcome this year's recipients of the 2015 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

Gadgil’s career has been dedicated to not only infusing environmental science into policymaking in India, but promoting the field of environmental science nationally. Through his public speaking and writing, Gadgil has advanced the field of environmental science and put it on the national radar.

Lubchenco’s career, which has spanned academic appointments and policymaking as the former Administrator of NOAA, has been dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the ocean and the need to protect it. In December 2014, the U.S. Department of State named Lubchenco the first-ever Science Envoy for the Ocean, to promote this focus on ocean science, marine ecology, climate change and smart policy to a global audience.

BISC Inter-Section Seminar | Speaker: Dr. Barry Honig

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
4:00 PM
University Park Campus
HNB 100

Barry Honig has been a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons since 1981 and is director of the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. He is recipient of the Founders Award of the Biophysical Society, the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophsyics from National Academy of Sciences, Christian B. Anfinsen Award from the Protein Society, and DeLano Award for Computational Biosciences from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Biophysical Society.

The guiding hypothesis of Dr. Honig’s work is that combining information about protein sequence with biophysical analysis can reveal how biological specificity is encoded on protein structures. His laboratory uses methods from biophysics and bioinformatics to study the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, and membranes. His work includes fundamental theoretical research, the development of software tools, and applications to problems of biological importance.

Hearing & Communications Neuroscience Seminar | “Development of the mammalian cochlea: regulation of cell fate and patterning”

Matthew Kelley, Ph.D.
Chief Section on Development Neuroscience and
Chief Laboratory of Cochlear Development
National Institute of Health

Monday, April 27, 2015
4:00 PM

Broad CIRM Center, BCC 101
Health Science Campus
1425 San Pablo, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Tel. 213-740-6091
Host: HCN Graduate Student, Amjad Askary

Friday, April 17, 2015

Molecular Biology Seminar | "Landscape and ecological genomics of a California endemic oak, Quercus lobata"

Victoria Sork
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
College of Letters and Sciences
Dean of the Division of Life Sciences
Professor for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Friday, April 17, 2015
12:00 PM
RRI 101
Host: Peter Ralph

Abstract: The evolution of local adaptation is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology.  The ability to survive and thrive in a given environment is particularly important for long lived non-mobile trees experiencing rapid climate change.  The study species is Quercus lobata, an endemic widespread oak in California now in serious jeopardy due to habitat loss and threat of global warming. This talk will explore the evidence of local adaption using genomic tools available for nonmodel systems.  We have analyzed samples from throughout the species range using reduced library sequencing, epigenetic markers, and transcriptomes.  We have also conducted gene expression studies of oak seedlings in a drought experiment. Overall, these findings show that the geographic structure of genes and genomes are shaped by climate and provide the opportunity for evolution of local adaptation.