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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are scientists nearing a cure for baldness?

From USC News

By pulling 200 hairs in a precise pattern and density, researchers can induce up to 1,200 replacement follicles in a mouse

By Cristy Lytal - April 9, 2015

The team's regenerative process relies on the principle of "quorum sensing." (Photo/Randi Scott)

If there’s a cure for male pattern baldness, it might hurt a little.

A team led by USC Stem Cell Principal Investigator Cheng-Ming Chuong has demonstrated that by plucking 200 hairs in a specific pattern and density, they can induce up to 1,200 replacement hairs to grow in a mouse. The results are published in the April 9 edition of the journal Cell... Continue to article

Neurobiology Seminar | "Mechanisms of Experience-Dependent Synaptic Remodeling in Thalamus"

Chinfei Chen, MD, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Monday, April 20, 2015
12:00 PM 
HNB 100
Host: Dion Dickman & Judith Hirsch

Live webcast only!

Refreshments will be served at 11:50 AM in HNB 100 before the seminar.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrating 20 Years of the USC Wrigley Institute

This event features Tony Michaels, inaugural director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, and current director Roberta Marinelli talking about how the institute has grown from a fledgling regional marine laboratory into a dynamic, cross-disciplinary research institute with global reach.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
The Los Angeles Yacht Club (off campus)
$15.00 per person

A conversation with Inaugural Director Dr. Tony Michaels and Current Director Dr. Roberta Marinelli In the twenty years since its establishment, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies has grown from a fledgling, regional marine laboratory into a dynamic, cross-disciplinary research institute with global reach, poised for its next phase of trailblazing environmental solutions.

In an interactive discussion, Dr. Tony Michaels, who served for twelve years as the inaugural director, will reminisce upon the founding vision and formative years of the Institute. Building upon this success, current director Dr. Roberta Marinelli will highlight the remarkable accomplishments achieved in recent years and present her vision for the Institute’s future. Together, they will celebrate and share how the Wrigley Institute has become a world-class program in environmental research and education at USC over the last two decades, and is driving change with decision-makers in society, business and government.

To RSVP, click here.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Don’t miss the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, where you can meet your favorite authors, hear live music, see original works of art and photography, listen to poetry, and even taste culinary creations that reflect the diversity of the city of Los Angeles.

Date: Saturday-Sunday, April 18-19
Time: All Day
Location: USC's University Park Campus

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has evolved to include live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment and artists creating their work on-site. There’s also a photography exhibit, film screenings followed by Q&A’s and discussion panels on some of today’s hottest topics.

General festival admission and all outdoor activities are free and do not require a ticket. Indoor Conversations require free tickets (service charge $1.00 per ticket). Additional festival special presentations within the festival weekend may require a paid ticket.

There are three ways to get tickets for indoor Conversations:

1. Festival Pass. The Festival Pass is the Festival of Books pre-sale program, allowing fans access to festival indoor events before the general on-sale. Check back soon for details on the 2015 Festival Pass program.

2. Advance Conversation Ticket. General advance reservations of Conversation tickets will open on Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m. A link to the festival ticketing page will be available on the home page of this website at that time. $1.00 service fee applies to each ticket reserved.

3. On-site Conversation Tickets. A limited amount of tickets for each Conversation, while supplies last, will also be distributed on-site at the Festival of Books ticketing booth on the same day of the Conversation. No service charge will apply for tickets claimed on site at the festival. The festival ticketing booth will open at 9 a.m. on each day of the festival.

For more information, please click here.

*TODAY* Earth Day Fair | Sponsored by USC Staff Assembly

Staff Assembly is hosting two Earth Day events again this year, one at HSC and one at UPC.  The one for UPC is later this month, but the one for HSC is tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13, in Pappas Quad from 10:30am-1:30pm.  Please plan to stop by and visit vendors with earth-friendly products, samples, giveaways, and more.  We hope to see you out there!

David Donovan
President, USC Staff Assembly

Computational Biology Colloquium | “Detecting early-warning signals of complex diseases by dynamical network biomarkers”

Luonan Chen
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Tuesday April 14, 2015
2:00 pm
RRI 101
Host:  Jasmine Zhou

Abstract: Considerable evidence suggests that during the progression of complex diseases, the deteriorations are not necessarily smooth but are abrupt, and may cause a critical transition from one state to another at a tipping point. Here, we develop a model-free method to detect early-warning signals of such critical transitions, even with only a small number of samples. Specifically, we theoretically derive an index based on a dynamical network biomarker (DNB) that serves as a general early-warning signal indicating an imminent bifurcation or sudden deterioration before the critical transition of a disease occurs. Based on theoretical analyses, we show that predicting a sudden transition from small samples is achievable provided that there are a large number of measurements for each sample, e.g., high-throughput data. We employ microarray data of three diseases to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. The relevance of DNBs with the diseases was also validated by related experimental data and functional analysis.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Engineering & Neuroscience Health Seminar | "Decoding motor imagery from posterior parietal cortex in tetraplegic humans"

Dr. Richard Andersen
California Institute of Technology

Monday,  April 13th 2015
3:50 p.m.
Host: Prof. Francisco Valero-Cuevas

Seminar is simultaneously presented
UPC: RTH 217 - Live ** Note new location**
UPC Campus Map/Directions: http://www.usc.edu/about/visit/upc/

HSC: CHP 147 - Video Conference 
Center for the Health Professional
HSC Campus Map/Directions: http://www.usc.edu/about/visit/hsc/

About the speaker: Professor Andersen studies the neurobiological underpinnings of brain processes including the senses of sight, hearing, balance and touch, the neural mechanisms of action, and the development of neural prosthetics. He has trained 60 postdoctoral and doctoral students who now work in academia and industry; 35 currently hold tenure or tenure track faculty positions at major research universities throughout the world. He has published approximately 140 technical articles and edited two books.

Education. Andersen obtained a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of California, San Francisco with thesis advisor Michael Merzenich, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Vernon Mountcastle at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He was Assistant and Associate Professor at the Salk Institute, Associate and Full Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and is currently the James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience in the Biology Division at Caltech.

Societies and Awards. Andersen is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Associate of the Neuroscience Research Program, and Member of the International Neuropsychological Symposium. He is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Scholars Award, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Spencer Award from Columbia University, a McKnight Technical Innovation in Neuroscience Award, and a McKnight Neuroscience Brain Disorders Award.

Service. Andersen has served as a member of the International Neural Network Board of Directors, Director of the McDonnell/Pew Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT, Director of the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology, regular member of the Vision B and COG Study Sections at NIH, Chair of the COG Study Section, Chair of Section 3 (Anatomy, Neurobiology, Physiological and Pharmacological Sciences) of the Institute of Medicine, and Visiting Professor at the College de France.

2nd Annual "Bench to Bedside” Research Lecture

For more information, visit http://pt.usc.edu/Bench_to_Bedside/.

Dr. Edgerton’s laboratory focuses on two main research questions: How do neural networks in the lumbar spinal cord of mammals, including humans, regain control of standing, stepping and voluntary control of fine movements after paralysis, and how can these motor functions be modified by chronically imposing activity-dependent interventions after spinal cord injury? Largely using animal models of complete paralysis Edgerton and colleagues are aggressively developing and testing these interventions in humans, in an attempt to determine the mechanisms of recovery potential formulated from the perspective of how spinal networks can be “fine-tuned” to facilitate the performance of a wide range of complex motor tasks. Each of these interventions is used to modulate the excitability of spinal networks associated with posture and locomotion to a physiological state that approaches a motor threshold. This is a physiological state that enables motor control by engaging task specific proprioception as well as newly acquired voluntary input to the spinal circuitry. Dr. Edgerton will discuss the impact this work may have in the treatment of SCI.

*TODAY* MCB Seminar | "Logic and Evolution of Cell Growth Regulation"

David Gresham
New York University,
Department of Biology

Friday, April 10, 2015
12:00 pm
RRI 101
Host: Ian Ehrenreich

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Computational Biology Colloquium | "How meiosis drives the sequence evolution at recombination hotspots"

University of Southern California

Ray R. Irani Hall
Molecular and Computational Biology

Computational Biology Colloquium

Irene Tiemann-Boege
Johannes Kepler University,
Institute of Biophysics

"How meiosis drives the sequence evolution 
at recombination hotspots"

Abstract:  Meiosis is a potentially important source of germline mutations, as sites of meiotic recombination experience recurrent double-strand breaks (DSBs). However, evidence for a local mutagenic effect of recombination in population sequence data has been equivocal. By sequencing a large number of single crossovers obtained from human sperm, we find that recombination is mutagenic. Crossovers harbor more de novo mutations than non-recombinants, primarily CG to TA transitions enriched at CpG sites. Such striking asymmetry of mutational patterns is not seen genome wide, but could be predominant in mechanisms involving single stranded DNA processing. Our large data set also provides new evidence that the transmission of GC-alleles is favored during crossing-over and shows that GC biased gene conversion (gBGC) is a strong driver of hotspot sequence evolution opposing mutation. This is consistent with the idea that gBGC could be an adaptation to counteract the mutational load of recombination.

Thursday April 9, 2015
2:00 pm
RRI 101
Host:  Norm Arnheim and Peter Calabrese

2nd Annual Zilkha Symposium on Alzheimer Disease & Related Disorders

You can ESVP to the event utilizing the following link – www.usc.edu/esvp (code: zilkha). Please note that the ESVP does not guarantee a seat. All seating will be first come, first served. 
Contact Julie Carl at 323-442-3219 or at jcarl@usc.edu if you have any questions.