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Graduate Research News

The study findings may offer a tasty salvo against rising obesity rates and health care costs. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

A Gift for Better Eating

July 28, 2015

It’s not easy to lose weight in our “super-sized” nation, but researchers at USC Dornsife and the USC Marshall School of Business have found that even modest incentives to eat smaller portions work in a big…

Graduate student Melina Butuci and Matthew Michael, professor of biological sciences, study genome instability in primordial germ cells using special fluorescent dyes to help them visualize damage to DNA. Photo courtesy of Melina Butuci.

Germ Cell Genomics Discovery

July 23, 2015

The environment within a cell is a paradoxical balance of order and chaos. Proteins, DNA and countless other biological molecules tumble together in a wildly turbulent system that somehow holds together to engender life. In…

Individual populations of mosquitoes are likely to have evolved resistance to whatever local selection pressures are typical in their area. Photo by Vectorbase.org.

Humans Push Mosquitoes to Adapt

June 25, 2015

Every time you put on bug spray this summer, you’re launching a strike in the ongoing war between humans and mosquitoes — one that is rapidly driving the evolution of the pests. Scientists studying mosquitoes in…

Professor of Psychology Margaret Gatz is determined to help families of dementia sufferers recognize early symptoms of the disease. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Forgotten Memories

June 11, 2015

When aging grandfather and Mariachi musician Don Memo Valdez becomes increasingly forgetful and irritable, his family starts to worry. Don Memo’s wife expresses dismay at her husband’s memory lapses while his…

On the Banks of the Yalu River

On the Banks of the Yalu River

June 1, 2015

Two years ago, I stood on the easternmost section of China’s Great Wall looking across a narrow sliver of the Yalu River. There it was: North Korea — an empty landscape of white-capped mountains and snow-covered…

Illustration by Bryan Christie Design for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

Layer By Layer

June 1, 2015

Part meticulous study, part eloquent homage, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is considered not only a seminal work of art, but the very embodiment of the boundary-breaking, outward-looking curiosity of the Renaissance…

Keith Pluymers and Zhe Zhang have both secured postdoctoral positions for the Fall. Pluymers is bound for the California Institute of Technology, and Zhang will further her research at the Weill Cornell Medical College. Photos by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Guided by ‘What If?’

May 13, 2015

Doctoral researchers Keith Pluymers and Zhe Zhang followed very different paths to USC Dornsife — however, their motivations were essentially the same. As children, both dared to imagine that they could make a…

Eric Webb, associate professor of biological sciences and corresponding author of a study on this finding. Photo courtesy of Eric Webb.

Enigmatic Organism

April 23, 2015

Scientists have found something they can’t quite explain in one of the most barren environments on Earth: a bacterium whose DNA sequence contains elements usually only found in a much higher organism. Trichodesmium is a…

<em>The Cat and the Coup</em>, a documentary video game in which gamers play the role of the cat of the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, exemplifies the relationship between Iranian culture and politics. Illustration by Kurosh ValaNejad.

New Horizons

April 16, 2015

Neda Maghbouleh began her presentation at the inaugural USC Dornsife-Farhang Foundation Iranian Studies Initiative Conference quoting an interview she had conducted with an Iranian American teenager named Soraya. “I…

Remo Rohs, assistant professor of biological sciences, chemistry, physics and computer science, is a corresponding author of two recent papers published in <em>Cell</em> and <em>PNAS</em>. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Patterns and Shapes

April 2, 2015

Remo Rohs is looking for some deep connections. He is integrating genomics and structural biology to uncover some significant insights into how proteins recognize DNA. While genomics deciphers DNA by studying the sequences of…