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Graduate Research News

USC Dornsife assistant professor Sarah Feakins served as lead author of a study that recently appeared online in <em>Geology</em>. The study provides insights about the development of hominins and the landscape that herbivores (horses, hippos and antelopes) grazed many million years ago. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

Bipedaling Toward Truth

January 31, 2013

What came first: the bipedal human ancestor or the grassland encroaching on the forest? A new analysis of vegetation change in the cradle of humanity over the past 12 million years is challenging long-held beliefs about the…

Kate Flint, Provost Professor of English and Art History and chair of art history in USC Dornsife, arrived in 2011 from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. An expert on the art and culture of the Victorian era and the early 20th century, she has also taught at Bristol and Oxford universities. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

In Like Flint

January 30, 2013

Growing up in the United Kingdom, Kate Flint became fascinated with all things Victorian from an early age. For her, the inescapable presence of the Victorian world lived on in the country’s cities, buildings,…

A paper appearing online recently in <em>NeuroImage</em> indicates that the brain works overtime to comprehend and empathize with people who have physical abnormalities. The lead author was Sook-Lei Liew who conducted the research while at USC Dornsife's Brain and Creativity Institute.

Is The Bachelor on the Right Track?

January 25, 2013

A new USC Dornsife study has found evidence suggesting that the brain works hard to understand those who have different bodies when watching them in action. According to the study’s lead author, the finding supports…

Great Apes such as chimpanzees share remarkable similarities with humans. Their complex patterns of communication are one example. "These skills underscore the importance of conserving this endangered species before it is too late,” says USC Dornsife Ph.D. student Maureen McCarthy. Photo by Craig Stanford.

Hey, I’m Talking to You!

January 24, 2013

A team led by USC Dornsife Ph.D. student Maureen McCarthy found evidence that chimpanzees are aware of the attention and responsiveness of the chimp they’re communicating with, modifying their method of communication to…

Candy Hwang, chemistry doctoral student in USC Dornsife, is depicted in a video she created with USC School of Cinematic Arts animators, which picked up two awards in a recent National Science Foundation competition. Titled, <em>The Secrets of Nitrogenase</em>, the video breaks down the complex science behind the nitrogenase enzyme.

The Little Enzyme That Could

December 12, 2012

The cute kiddie cartoon shows an animated Candy Hwang wearing a white lab coat jotting down data on her clipboard. But the 90-second video is not child’s play. Called The Secrets of Nitrogenase, it clearly and concisely…

For his thesis determining Los Angeles' city center, USC Dornsife alumnus Samuel Krueger has been named first place winner of the UNIGIS 2012 Academic Excellence Prize and of the North American Regional Science Council's 2012 Graduate Student-Author Paper Competition. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

L.A. Has a Heart

November 20, 2012

Writer Dorothy Parker once haughtily dismissed Los Angeles as “72 suburbs in search of a city.” But USC Dornsife alumnus Samuel Krueger’s research shows that the City of Angels actually does have a focal…

Humans and songbirds are both matching their own early vocalizations to the neural representation of vocal auditory memory. This encoding and integration process is very likely to be disrupted in people with disordered speech and we can begin to understand this by studying the songbird brain.

A Little Bird Told Me

November 9, 2012

Although less than half the size of a walnut and weighing one gram, the brain of a songbird is fully capable of generating complex learned behaviors. Songbirds are one of the few groups of animals other than humans that…

Colored rendering showing feather extent in <em>Microraptor gui</em>. Drawing by David Krentz.

Look! Up in the Sky!

November 2, 2012

The mystery of how dinosaurs first began to fly may have finally been cracked by a USC Dornsife-led team of scientists whose groundbreaking study has been honored by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP). The…

George Sanchez, USC Dornsife’s vice dean for diversity, (middle) stands with past and present USC Dornsife students at a recent Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Seattle, Wash. Everett Salas is far left, Cynthia Joseph is in the back row far right and Yadira Ibarra stands in the front row second from the right. Photo courtesy of Yadira Ibarra.

Supporting Diversity in Science

October 31, 2012

As a first-generation college student pursuing a degree in geological sciences, Yadira Ibarra felt like the proverbial stranger in a strange land. At Brown University, there were few women studying earth sciences. And even…

For a National Science Foundation competition, USC Dornsife doctoral student Candy Hwang and her team have created a 90-second video-animated presentation of their research on nitrogen.

Jumping Off the Page

October 29, 2012

Candy Hwang, a second-year doctoral candidate in chemistry and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow, has swapped the written page for animation. Hwang of USC Dornsife entered “Creating the…