NEWS from the Section of Neurobiology

  • We are proud to announce the newest member of the Section of Neurobiology! Dr. S. Andrew Hires will be joining the faculty in 2014. Welcome Dr. Hires!
  • Dr. Larry Swanson was named a Provost Professor. Congratulations Dr. Swanson and well deserved!
  • Neurobiology Scientist targets genetic cause of infant mortality. The disease is heartbreaking. It turns babies into ragdolls and extinguishes lives just as they are getting started. But USC’s Chien-Ping Ko is working to unravel the mystery behind the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, uncovering how Spinal Muscular Atrophy disconnects muscles from the mind.

  • Click here to see how research in the lab of Dr. Emily Liman has uncovered the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pungency of carbonation.
  • Dr. Chien-Ping Ko will be one of the Keynote Speakers at the 2011 SMA Symposium at SFN entitled "Pretzels and endplates: Motor neuron pathology and the role of SMN in motor neuron development".
  • Recent work from Dr. Chien-Ping Ko's lab on treatments for ALS was highlighted in reports by both the Alzheimer Research Forum and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
  • We are proud to announce the newest member of the Section of Neurobiology! Dr. Dion Dickman will be joining the faculty in 2012. Welcome Dr. Dickman!
  • Dr. Larry Swanson has been elected as the next President of the Society for Neuroscience. Congratulations Larry!

  • Professor David McKemy was awarded was awarded the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences Albert S. Raubenheimer Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.
  • Sour Research, Sweet Results. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, Professor Emily Liman reveals the physiology behind all the puckering — how people taste sour.
  • Sparkling drinks spark pain circuits. The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks triggers the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard and horseradish, according to a new study by Professor Emily Liman. Hear Dr. Liman discuss her findings on the Osgood Files Radio Show and check out this video exploring her work into how the brain translates the sensations of carbonation and sour tastes.
  • New study examines the brain's wiring. The brain has been mapped to the smallest fold for at least a century, but still no one knows how all the parts talk to each other. A study by Professor Larry Swanson in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences answers that question for a small area of the rat brain and in so doing takes a big step toward revealing the brain’s wiring.
  • When do newborns first feel cold? A new study by Professor David McKemy shows that cold sensing neural circuits in newborn mice take around two weeks to become fully active.
  • Dr. Larry Swanson elected to the NAS. Larry Swanson, Professor of Biological Sciences, has been newly elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for his work on the organization of neural networks that control motivated behavior.
  • Professor Richard Thompson received Gold Medal Award from American Psychological Foundation.
  • Tweet as can be. Professor Sarah Bottjer published a study showing that a neural circuit in the basal ganglia is necessary for normal development of “syntax” (temporal sequence) but not “phonology” of learned vocal sounds.


  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • University of Southern California
  • Allan Hancock Foundation Building
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0371