Tuesday, March 29, 2016

ZNI Seminar Series | Dr. Henrique von Gersdorff

Opportunities to mentor high school students in STEM fields

The Young Researchers Program is a summer research program for high school students. Most of the high school students who participate are local, high achieving and from underserved communities. The program is looking for graduate students who will spend ~15 hours/week mentoring a high school student in an independent research project from June 22-Aug 5. There will be some modest support for graduate students. Two partial summer stipends are also available for qualifying graduate student mentors. There will also be some training opportunities and a chance for the mentor and mentee to attend the SACNAS conference this October in Long Beach.

Interested students are encouraged to contact:

Leticia Sanchez, PhD
Diversity Director
Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI)
National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center
University of Southern California
3616 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371
(213) 740-3997

MB Seminar Series | "Mechanisms of Eukaryotic DNA Replication Initiation: Single-molecules studies and the impact of nucleosomes”

Stephen Bell
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biology

Abstract: The assembly of replisomes at eukaryotic origins of replication is a complex process that is carefully coordinated with the cell cycle to ensure that the genome is replicated exactly once per cell cycle. During G1, two copies of the hexameric replicative DNA helicase, the Mcm2-7 complex, are loaded at each origin of replication as a head-to-head double hexamer. This conformation sets the stage for subsequent bidirectional replication. As cells enter S phase, these loaded helicases are selectively activated and replisomes are assembled around them. Helicase activation does not occur at the same time for each origin. Instead, origins initiate at characteristic times during S phase.

In the first part of my presentation, I will discuss how we have used single-molecule biochemical approaches to understand the mechanism of helicase loading. These studies have revealed aspects of this process that drive formation of the head-to-head double hexamer required for bidirectional initiation. In addition, I will discuss more recent studies that reveal how Mcm2-7 ring opening and closing are controlled during this process. The second part of my presentation will focus on our efforts to reconstitute in vitro replication initiation in the context of nucleosomal DNA templates. In particular, I will present data suggesting that the nature of the nucleosomal template can independently influence helicase loading or helicase activation. Intriguingly, I will discuss data that suggests that we have recapitulated characteristics of early- and late-initiating origins of replication in a fully-purified replication assay.

Friday, April 1, 2016
12:00 noon
RRI 101
Host: Oscar Aparicio

CBB Colloquium | “Computational methods for optimal utilization of HT SELEX data”

Teresa M. Przytycka

Abstract: High-Throughput (HT) SELEX combines SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential Enrichment), a method for aptamer discovery, with massively parallel sequencing technologies. HT-SELEX has become the method of choice for the identification of (ribo)nucleic molecules that bind to diverse spectrum of molecular targets. However, HT-SELEX generate vast amount of data demanding new analysis tools. To close this gap, our group has developed a number of HT-SELEX analysis methods. In particular, our AptaCluster algorithm allows for an efficient clustering of whole HT-SELEX aptamer pools; a task that could not be accomplished with traditional clustering algorithms due to the enormous size of such datasets. Next, we  utilized our clustering algorithm to study the emergence of polymerase errors during HT-SELEX.  Rather than considering these errors as a nuisance, we demonstrated their utility for guiding aptamer discovery using our new algorithm AptaMut.  Finally, I will present AptaTRACE, a novel approach for the identification of sequence-structure binding motifs in HT-SELEX derived aptamers. Leveraging the experimental design of the SELEX protocol, AptaTRACE identifies sequence-structure motifs that show gradually increasing signature of selection. We will show performance of these techniques on experimental data.

Thursday, March 31, 2016
2:00 pm
RRI 101
Host: Remo Rohs

Monday, March 28, 2016

USC Stem Cell Distinguished Speaker Series | Dr. Ali Brivanlou

Know more about your genes WITHOUT reading literature

Dear Colleagues,

•         Is your research currently focusing on some specific genes?
•         Don’t have enough time to read all the literature relevant to your genes?
•         Do you know the vast public genomic data could help with your experiment design?

Norris Medical Library Bioinformatics Service is pleased to present “Know more about your genes WITHOUT reading literature”.   This one-hour workshop will showcase how you can leverage our bioinformatics tools to dramatically reduce your time spent on literature study while stay better informed and carry out more efficient research on the gene of your interests.      

Time                Noon—1 pm, Friday, April 8, Lunch will be provided

Location         Norris Medical Library, West Conference Room (basement level in the library)
Registration is mandatory as the seating for this workshop is limited to 40 attendees per session:


This workshop is the third installment of the ongoing Bioinformatics Lunch Series, funded by USC Libraries Dean’s Challenge Grant.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Yibu Chen and Meng Li
Bioinformatics Service
Norris Medical Library
University of Southern California
323-442-3309 (Yibu)
323-442-3447 (Meng)

Initiative aims to change the public perception of scientific research

USC Annenberg professor among those looking at how scientists and media can increase understanding of complex information

BY Alex Reed  MARCH 24, 2016

Scientific research is often not explained effectively at the university and academic journal levels, Geoff Cowan says. (USC Photo/Brett Van Ort)

Geoffrey Cowan, USC Annenberg School for Communication professor and Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP) director, has joined a team of leading scientists and media professionals on a mission to change how the public views scientific advancements.

The Face of Science, a new three-year initiative out of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, will conduct studies that examine public attitudes toward scientific research and determine how scientists and the media can increase public understanding of, and trust in, scientific information.

To continue reading, click here.

USC researchers develop tools to simplify the interpretation of brain images

BrainSuite opens the door for sophisticated large-scale studies

BY Natalia Velez MARCH 22, 2016

BrainSuite allows users to automatically identify specific areas in the brain and to track changes over time. (Photo/National Institutes of Health)

Cognitive neuroscientists, clinicians and researchers rely on brain imaging to unlock the secrets of the functioning brain.

Richard Leahy and his team at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering are developing new methods to merge images of the brain’s anatomy, connectivity and function and then extracting key details from these complex data sets.

To continue reading, click here.

Course Design for Student Success: Reducing Anxiety with Transparent Grading

Friday, April 1st, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Ahmanson Center for Biological Studies, ACB 238

Grade student performance and provide feedback with easy-to-use, descriptive rubrics. In this active-learning workshop, participants will use best practices to design rubrics that improve fairness and guide students. Feel free to bring your course syllabus. Instructional designers will be available for consultation after the workshop.

Presented by: CET Instructional Designers, Katie Guevara & Bob Sweeney

RSVP here

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fulbright Hays DDRA Fellowship Announced

The Department of Education has recently announced that applications for the Fulbright-Hays DDRA are now available. The grad school will host an informal meeting about the Fulbright Hays Fellowship on Monday, April 4 from 10am – 11am in STU 301.

The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program provides opportunities for doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies.

A student is eligible to receive a fellowship if he or she:
Is a citizen or national of the United States or is a permanent resident of the United States;
Is a graduate student in good standing at an institution of higher education in the United States who, when the fellowship begins, is admitted to candidacy in a doctoral program
Is planning a teaching career in the United States upon graduation; and
Possesses adequate skills in the language(s) necessary to carry out the dissertation project.
Research projects must focuses on one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the United States and its territories).

Preference is given to projects that make use of any of the 78 priority languages selected from the U.S. Department of Education's list of Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs).

The DOE is also specifically interested in funding research projects conducted in the field of economics, engineering, international development, mathematics, political science, public health, science, comparative or international education, or technology.

Students can read more about the opportunity in the Federal Register:


The application requires students to submit their proposals through USC and the DOE’s G5 system. To be considered, all of the required PDF documents will need to be submitted to gradfllw@usc.edu by Monday May 2, 2016.

Please feel free to contact us with questions.

Best, Meredith

Meredith Drake Reitan, MPL, PhD
Associate Dean for Graduate Fellowships
Graduate School
Office of the Provost
Adjunct Associate Professor
Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Summer Fellowship and Awards

The deadline for these applications will be Friday, April 8th. Submissions will be accepted via this email address, or by dropping them off addressed to my attention in ADM 304.

Kimberly Allen
Director of Special Projects
Academic Programs

USC Dana and David Dornsife
College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
University of Southern California
3551 Trousdale Parkway ADM 304
Los Angeles, Ca  90089-4012
Tel: 213 740-2359

Monday, March 7, 2016

[TODAY] Graduate Professionalization Seminar | Public Speaking with David Kang

Monday, March 7, 2016
12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
AHN 100

This professionalization seminar is designed to help graduate students learn the basics of good presentation in a variety of settings and will offer a series of tips and advice on the use of Powerpoint, effective body language, and other advice on public speaking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Open to USC graduate students. Light refreshments provided.

This talk is part of the EASC Grad Forum professionalization series and is co-sponsored by the Korean Studies Institute and the Center for International Studies.