Recent awards (IEB): IEB Graduate and Post-Doc (UC Berkeley), Marcia Abbott, received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the NIH. IEB Graduate Students, Andrew Fogel and Jessica Hartel received funding from the NSF and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, respectively, to fund their doctoral thesis research. EXSC-591, a course in research design was helpful in securing this grant and others like it for students in the IEB graduate program. If you are interested in learning more about this grant writing course, please contact Adolfo Dela Rosa.
The USC Center for Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) administers an NIH-funded program geared toward increasing the number of minority students performing basic research in the life sciences. The Genomic Research Experience for Undergraduates (GREU) program funds students to work in faculty research labs. We have funds available to pay students to work up ~10-14 hours per week in your lab through the 2013-14 academic year and summer 2014 as part of the Summer GREU (SGREU) program. Eligible students must be registered USC undergraduates majoring in the science and able to self-identify as either African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, and/or Pacific Islander. If you have a current student who you think is eligible, know of any eligible students, or would like to apply yourself, please contact Dr. Steven Finkel at email@example.com for more information.
April 2014: The winner of the 2014 DuPont Industrial Biosciences Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology is Douglas G. Capone, for his outstanding accomplishments as a marine microbiologist. “His contributions to our understanding of the factors controlling biological nitrogen fixation in the oceans have strongly influenced numerous researchers and the development of important ideas in biogeochemistry and biological oceanography,” says Bess Ward, Princeton University.
April 2014: The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography has bestowed the Citation of Scientific Excellence on Victoria Bertics, a former Biological Sciences graduate student and C-DEBI postdoctoral fellow who passed away after a courageous battle with breast cancer last year. Vicky was a Ph.D. student studying Geobiology at USC from 2004-2009, after which she was awarded an Alexander von Humbolt Fellowship to study at the GEOMAR-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. In 2012, she received a C-DEBI Postdoctoral Fellowship to study deep ocean nutrient cycling at Harvard University. The ASLO award will be given to Sandra Bertics (Victoria's mother) at the Joint Aquatic Sciences meeting in Portland, Oregon, this May. The Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, where Vicky spent most of her time as a graduate student, is currently seeking support to establish a summer fellowship in her honor.
March 2014: Andrew Smith (Molecular and Computational Biology) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor and awarded tenure.
Feb. 2014: Dion Dickman (Neurobiology) has received a Sloan Foundation Fellowship.
(New York, NY) – The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers as recipients of the 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics—the Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded through close cooperation with the scientific community. Candidates must be nominated by their fellow scientists, and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of
senior scholars on the basis of a candidate’s independent research accomplishments, creativity, and potential to become a leader in his or her field. Fellows receive $50,000 to further their research. See also USC News 20 Feb 2014.
Dec. 2013: Michael Waterman has been elected to the Chinese Academy of Science:
Dec. 2013: Lorraine Turcotte was promoted to Full Professor in the Human and Evolutionary Biology Section of Biological Sciences.
Dec. 2013: Steve Finkel was promoted to Full Professor in the Molecular & Computational Biology Section of Biological Sciences.
Nov. 2013: Suzanne Edmands was promoted to Full Professor in the Marine and Environmental Biology Section of Biological Sciences.
Nov. 2013: Donald Arnold was promoted to Full Professor in the Molecular & Computational Biology Section of Biological Sciences.
Sept. 2013: William McClure has been chosen by Kappa Alpha Theta as one of the 2012-2013 Top 10 outstanding faculty members for the second consecutive year. The women of the Omicron chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at USC nominated Dr. McClure, and he was selected from over 110 applicants.
Sept. 2013: Michael Waterman has been awarded The People’s Republic of China Friendship Award. It is China’s highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s economic and social progress, and is conferred annually as part of the celebrations for the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.
Feb 2013: Michael Waterman was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
Dec 2012: Jed Fuhrman was selected in the new cohort of 16 Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Fellows: /news/stories/1300/fuhrman-part-of-35-million-award/
Dec 2012: Norman Arnheim, Fengzhu Sun and Alan Watts were elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Norm, Fengzhu and Alan were among 13 Dornsife professors elected this year: /news/stories/1297/lucky-thirteen/
Don Arnold (MCB) has received the 2012 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award. He will use the funding to study how intracellular antibody-like molecules called intrabodies can be used to target and eliminate proteins in living cells. For details, please see this website: http://news.usc.edu/#!/article/38390/arnold-wins-mcknight-award-for-neuroscience-innovations-2/
March 2012: Frank Alber, Liang Chen and Andrew Smith have been awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health to develop computational methods to study biological processes in cells:
March 2012: Frank Alber received NSF CAREER award to explore the three-dimensional structure organization of genomes.
February 2012: The USC Sea Grant urban ocean program has awarded $727,700 to support seven new research projects led by researchers at universities throughout California to look at fish contamination, habitat diversity, urban runoff and the role that ocean acidification might play in increasing the toxicity of algal blooms in Southern California.
December 2011: Donal Manahan and Tony Michaels were elected to Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
December 2011: Susan Forsburg, Professor of Biological Sciences in the Molecular & Computational Biology Section was extensively quoted in the 13 Oct Editorial of Nature about Steve Jobs and Apple Computers on scientific communication.
November 2011: Donal Manahan has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
September 2011: Two students in MEB have had lead papers in PNAS recently.
Harris, H. W., M. Y. El-Naggar, O. Bretschger, M. J. Ward, M. F. Romine, A. Y. Obraztsova, and K. H. Nealson (2010), Electrokinesis is a microbial behavior that requires extracellular electron transport, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 326.
Connor, K. and Gracey, A.Y (2011) Circadian cycles are the dominant transcriptional rhythm in the intertidal mussel Mytilus californianus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, In press.
September 2011: Jasmine Zhou, Fengzhu Sun & Michael Waterman, with colleagues from Keck & U Chicago have been awarded a $5.5 million grant (NIH - National Heart Lung and Blood Institute): MAPGen Knowledge Base and Coordination Center. See this link for more detail:
August 2011: New cross-section funding. MEB & MCB faculty will collaborate on a new $2M NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity project entitled "Dimensions: Pattern and process in marine bacterial, archaeal, and protistan diversity, and effects of human impacts". Jed Fuhrman is lead PI along with Dave Caron, John Heidelberg, Bill Nelson, Fengzhu Sun and Ting Chen.
May 2011: Simon Tavare of the Molecular & Computational Section of BISC has just been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society royalsociety.org/about-us/fellowship/new-fellows-2011/?f=1 .
May 2011: At Commencement this year, an amazing number of BISC undergraduates were
recognized for their extraordinary achievements. Sarrah Shahawy was the 2011 Valedictorian and Samantha Ancona was one of the two Salutatorians. Of the ten Renaissance Scholars receiving awards, five were BISC students (Samantha Ancona, Cara Bickers, Kevin Platt, Sarrah Shahawy and Monish Ullal) as were two of the ten Discovery Scholars (Cara Magnabosco [Biochem] and Marissa Srour). BISC students were also named as McNair
Scholars (Darren Knight and Erin Lee) and received one Fulbright Grant (Cara Magnabosco). Our congratulations to all these superb students.
May 2011: We are very pleased to announce that David McKemy (Neurobiology) and
Eric Webb and Wiebke Ziebis (Marine Environmental Biology) have been
promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. Congratulations
David, Eric and Wiebke on this well deserved recognition.
April 2011: Kelvin Davies received a Mellon Mentoring Award for Faculty mentoring undergraduate students.
April 2011: Algal bloom specialist David Caron knows exactly what caused the death of 2.5 million sardines at King Harbor and is producing a paper on his research. Instruments suspended in the harbor revealed that the fish were killed by a lack of oxygen in the harbor water. The city of Redondo Beach gave Dave Caron and his team a coin medallion for their guidance on the recent die-off. For more information, please go to this link:
March 2011: Katrina Edwards' lab on the History Channel: On March 23 at 9 p.m. PST, the History Channel will air a documentary titled "Journey to the Earth's Core," which features the lab of Katrina Edwards of biological sciences, earth sciences and environmental studies. For more information on the documentary, visit www.history.com.
March 2011: Roberta Marinelli has been appointed the new director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. Since 2005 Roberta has served as the program director of the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program at the National Science Foundation, station representative at the Palmer and McMurdo stations in Antarctica, and as associate professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. While at the NSF she has won numerous accolades for building collaborative programs across NSF units. This includes three awards for collaborative integration related to the management of long-term ecological research projects and the development of cross-directorate Climate Research Investment (CRI) Research thrusts.
March 15, 2011: By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN Radio -- A powerful neurotoxin likely drove millions of sardines to their death last week in King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach, California, scientists said. David Caron, a University of Southern California professor of biological sciences, said his team took samples and found traces of a toxin that caused the fish to become disoriented and swim chaotically into the marina. "We looked at the stomachs of the sardines because we have had recurring toxic algal blooms ... in our coastal waters in recent years," Caron said. "We were interested to see if we could find or if we could detect a particular type of neurotoxin ... called domoic acid and these fish were positive for domoic acid." See CNN:
March 2011: Susan Forsburg, professor of biological sciences at USC College, received the 2011 Roche Diagnostics Alice C. Evans Award from the American Society of Microbiology for her contributions to the advancement of women in science. She was lauded for her research as well as her work with USC’s WiSE program.
March 2011: An unprecedented five professors in molecular and computational biology will receive grants: Myron Goodman, Susan Forsburg, Norman Arnheim, Frank Alber and Sergey Nuzhdin. All will be funded by the NIH, including several who have received specific dollar amounts and project timeframes for their proposals. An additional two professors are expected to receive notification of funding by the NIH in late spring.
See full article at USC News: http://uscnews.usc.edu/science_technology/professors_receive_millions_in_nih_funding.html
February 2011: As part of a NSF funded project granted to Myrna Jacobson (MBBO, Wrigley Institute) and Linda Duguay (SEA GRANT, COSEE WEST, Wrigley Institute), Myrna Jacobson and James Fawcett (Sea Grant, Wrigley Institute) will travel to Washington D.C. February 13-16th 2011, to train the 2011 NOAA class of John A. Knauss Fellows in the tools, and theories useful in communicating science and translating science into workable public policy. The National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, established in 1979, and matches highly qualified graduate students with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid fellowship. The program is named in honor of one of Sea Grant's founders, former NOAA Administrator, John A. Knauss.
February 2011: Dave Caron, Magnus Nordborg, and Katrina Edwards were inducted as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on February 19.
Caron, interim director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, is honored for his work in marine microbial ecology, “particularly regarding phagotrophic and autotrophic protists and harmful algae blooms."
Nordborg is being honored for his distinguished contributions to the field of population genetics, particularly for pioneering genome-wide association studies in non-human organisms.
Edwards, director of the National Science Foundation-supported Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations in Los Angeles, is honored for “important discoveries on interactions between microbes and minerals, especially at the ocean floor, how these influence global biogeochemical processes and for international leadership.”
January 2011: Vice-Provost Michael Quick has been selected as one of two faculty (both in the College) to receive the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest recognition for teaching at the University, in April at the spring Academic Honors Convocation.
November 2010: Linda Bazilian received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Staff Achievement. This award is presented annually by the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences to staff members who have excelled in all dimensions of their professional service to the College and the University.
November 2010: David Caron (Marine Environmental Biology) received the Raubenheimer Award. Annually the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences presents the Raubenheimer Award to outstanding faculty members who have excelled in teaching, research, and service to the university. It is the College's highest award.
November 2010: David McKemy (Neurobiology) received the College's Junior Raubenheimer Faculty Award. This award is given to faculty who show unusual promise in the areas of research, teaching, and service to the University.
Nov 2010: Susan Forsburg will receive the American Society for Microbiology Alice Evans Award for contributing to the full participation and advancement of women in microbiology at the ASM General Meeting in May in New Orleans. In 1928, Alice C. Evans was elected the first woman President of ASM. The Roche Diagnostics Alice C. Evans Award was created in her memory to honor ASM members who have contributed to the full participation and advancement of women in microbiology.
Oct 2010: Susan Forsburg has been appointed to the Public Affairs Advisory Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.
Aug 2010: A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by USC College neuroscientsts Larry W. Swanson and Richard H. Thompson examines the brain's wiring:
July 2010: Steve Finkel has just received a major DOD grant collaborative with Indiana University under their Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program to study prokaryotic genome stability:
April 2010: The National Academy of Sciences announced the election of new members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, among them Larry Swanson (Neurobiology).
Mar 2010: A large team led by USC biologists carried out what one author called “the first extensive use” of genome-wide association (GWA) in a plant species. The study located dozens of genes that may determine key traits such as flowering time and disease resistance. See journal Nature's study published online March 24. This Nature study culminates years of work by scientists led by senior author Magnus Nordborg.
Mar 2010: The study of genes associated with growth in oysters suggests that slow-growing animals waste energy in two ways: by making too much of some protein building blocks and then by having to dispose of the excess. Donal Manahan, director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies calls the inefficient process “metabolic taxation.” By contrast, fast-growing oysters make just enough and keep most of it, Manahan hypothesized. See USC News for details.
Mar 2010: A paper by Xiaojiang Chen and Myron Goodman (Molecular & Computational Biology), and others--“A structural model for deoxycytidine deamination mechanisms of the HIV-1 inactivation enzyme APOBEC3G”-- has been selected as a Journal of Biological Chemistry “Paper of the Week,” in the top 1 percent of manuscripts they will review in a year in significance and overall importance from the more than 6,600 they publish each year.
Mar 2010: Michel Baudry, Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering and neuroscience graduate student Sohila Zadran discovered that calpain is activated by a protein called MAP kinase, which regulates several types of cellular activities. MAP kinase itself, they also found, is activated by estrogen. See USC News for details.
Mar 2010: Richard F. Thompson, William M. Keck Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences in USC College, is the recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation. This award recognizes a distinguished career and enduring contribution to advancing psychological science.
Feb 2010: Linda Duguay, director of the USC Sea Grant program, has been selected to participate in a National Science Foundation workshop in China to discuss a foundation-supported ocean science education project and its possible application to outreach efforts by Chinese scientists and educators.
Feb 2010: Katrina Edwards (MEB / Earth Sciences) has been awarded a 25 Million award from the National Science Foundation to establish the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations. A little-known fact is that nearly half of the total biomass on earth resides in sub-surface habitats that include mines, aquifers, soils on the continents and sediments and rocks below the ocean floor. This massive area is what Edwards and her research partners plan to explore in three main field projects at North Pond, Juan de Fuca and South Pacific Gyre.
Feb 2010: Michael Quick was recognized by Miss California 2009, Kristen Cavinder, for his class "The Biological Basis of Neurological Diseases" that helped strengthen her love for medicine.
Feb 2010: Katrina Edwards (MEB) was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
Feb 2010: We are very pleased to announce the promotions of John Tower of MCB to Professor, and of Mihail Bota of Neurobiology to Research Associate Professor. We extend our hearty congratulation to both of these deserving and accomplished colleagues.
Jan 2010: David Hutchins, a marine ecologist in the USC College Department of Biological Sciences, is examining the way CO2 in the atmosphere controls nitrogen fixation at sea and how this process might change as concentrations of airborne CO2 continue to rise. Hutchins is the principal investigator on a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation that began in 2007. NSF recently awarded Hutchins a “Special Creativity Extension” that will support his lab’s work on this study for an additional two years. See USC News for details.
Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology at USC College, has been awarded a $563,000 stimulus grant to purchase an Illumina/Solexa Genome Sequencer. The money also will cover the salaries of technical and bioinformatics employees, likely postdoctoral scientists, to operate the technology. http://uscnews.usc.edu/science_technology/sergey_nuzhdin_awarded_stimulus_grant.html
The Goodman Lab had a major research article in Nature reporting in the 16 July issue (460:359) resolving a long standing question on the role of RecA in SOS mutagenesis. doi:10.1038/nature08178. (07/09)
The College of Letters, Arts and Sciences departments of biological sciences and mathematics and the Viterbi School of Engineering departments of computer sciences and biomedical engineering jointly offer the cross-departmental minor in computational biology and bioinformatics. This minor provides essential training in using quantitative skills to solve fundamental biological problems as well as problems related to public health, neuroscience, and environment. The cross-departmental minor includes four different tracks according to the background of the students in biology, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. (07/09)
Frank Alber (Molecular & Computational Biology) has been selected as one of seventeen 2009 Pew Scholars in the Biological Sciences. He received his doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1998. He conducted his postdoctoral work in computational structural biology at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, and then did further postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University and the University of California, San Francisco. In 2008, he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Alber’s research is focused on the three-dimensional structure that occurs when the long strands of DNA are tightly packed to fit into the cell nucleus by nucleosomes, the repeating complexes that wind the DNA. When nucleosomes interact and fold, they form extremely compact structures that regulate expression of genes by allowing or blocking access to the DNA. This dynamic also makes it a difficult region to access in order to characterize it. Dr. Alber has developed a computational model for generating a structural description of this highly ordered DNA by merging multiple datasets from a range of experimental methodologies. His work will bridge the gap between genome sequencing, gene regulation and structural biology, and will provide insights to better understand many human diseases. (07/09)
Michael Waterman (Molecular & Computational Biology) has been named a 2009 fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). This fellowship is an honorific designation conferred on members distinguished for their outstanding contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science.
Simon Tavaré, holder of the George and Louise Kawamoto Chair in Biological Sciences and professor of biological sciences, preventive medicine and mathematics, has been named a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is among 40 of the United Kingdom’s leading doctors and medical researchers recognized for excellence in medical science this year. In addition to his research with USC College's Molecular and Computational Biology program, Simon also holds several appointments at the University of Cambridge including professor of cancer research (bioinformatics) in the Department of Oncology and senior group leader in the new Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, the latest cancer research initiative in the UK. A member of USC College's faculty since 1989, Simon's contributions to his field are remarkable and far-reaching. He studies the evolutionary genetics of primates with anthropologists, DNA chip and sequencing technology with molecular biologists, and the vagaries of cancer with medical scientists - all while advancing his own field of computational biology. One of the field's pioneers, he has made key contributions in statistical bioinformatics and is perhaps best known for his work on the use of DNA sequence to trace the lineage of a cell, an individual or a species, back through time.
Pao-Chen Li (Molecular & Computational Biology) was one of three to receive the university-wide Center for Excellence in Teaching Outstanding TA Award.
Sarah Bottjer, Myron Goodman, and Michael Arbib, Professors of Biological Sciences, were elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Sarah Bottjer, section head of the Neurobiology Section of BISC, was chosen for her outstanding research in neuronal development and plasticity, which shows an exemplary combination of breadth and depth.
Myron Goodman, section head of the Molecular & Computational Biology section of BISC was chosen for distinguished contributions to biological sciences by studies on biochemical mutagenesis and DNA repair, including discovery of an "error-prone" DNA polymerase.
Michel Baudry (Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering) spoke at the July meeting of the Blue Brain Project in Geneva. A collaboration between IBM and Switzerland's Ecoles Polytechniques Federale de Lausanne, the project aims "to create a biologically accurate, functional model of the brain using IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer."
Susan Forsburg (MCB) was appointed to the American Cancer Society's Council for Extramural Grants.
Work by Doug Capone (MEB) and his fellow researchers on the Amazon River was featured by the National Science Foundation.
See also http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111904&org=NSF
Work by Katrina Edwards (MEB) and her group was featured in the 29 May issue of Nature (doi:10.1038/nature06899) (including an interview with Katrina for “Abstractions” on p. xi).
See also http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/
Your fearless leader, Doug Capone, was inducted as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union at a ceremony at the AGU Spring meeting in Ft. Lauderdale on 29 May. He was also elected to the California Academy of Sciences.
A 2008-2009 Zumberge Interdisciplinary Award was made to Steven Finkel and Katrina Edwards, biological sciences along with Steven Goodman, School of Dentistry to develop an Interdisciplinary Program on Microbiology.
Wiebke Ziebis of biological sciences received a 2008–09 individual award from USC’s James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund for her project “Animal-Sediment-Microbe Interactions at Pacific Methane Seeps.”
Michael Waterman, University Professor, holder of the USC Associates Chair in Natural Sciences in USC College and professor of biological sciences, computer science and mathematics, received the Presidential Medallion, USC’s highest honor, at the Academic Honors Convocation April 7. In the citation presented to him at the event, Waterman was lauded for “interdisciplinary insights and talent [that] have been instrumental in placing USC in the vanguard of genomics research.”
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