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Graduate Research News

At times, students traveled by camel during their research trip this summer for the "Field Geology" course taught by Meghan Miller, assistant professor of earth sciences at USC Dornsife. Photo courtesy of Meghan Miller.

Shaking it up in Morocco

July 31, 2013

The dusty Land Cruiser bumped and rumbled along the Moroccan desert floor as our caravan approached the village of Merzouga under the light of a waxing moon.  A long day of travel behind us, the dunes in the distance…

Experts warn that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will suffer from Type 2 diabetes by 2050. Marcia Abbott, who earned a Ph.D. at USC Dornsife in 2010, investigates how a high fat diet affects insulin resistance in skeletal muscles — known to be a precursor of Type 2 diabetes. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Taking Aim at Diabetes

July 25, 2013

As rates of obesity-linked Type 2 diabetes soar worldwide, scientific research advancing our understanding of this potentially fatal disease is crucial. Experts warn that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will…

The protagonist in <em>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</em> was the subject of Master of Liberal Studies student Kayla Hengami's paper selected for the recent Seventh Annual Graduate Liberal Studies Joint Symposium. Topics in the paper included religion, morality, abandonment, and good and evil. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Television.

They Slayed It

July 23, 2013

Kayla Hengami was given an assignment to select writing studied in class and another work of her choosing to use as a lens to explore the concept of borders. “Going into this paper, I wasn’t quite sure where I was…

USC Dornsife graduate student Michael Tuma, seen here holding up a Mojave Desert tortoise, wants to ensure that tortoises have the space they need to thrive. Photo courtesy of Michael Tuma.

Emerging From Their Shells

July 10, 2013

The Mojave Desert tortoise can withstand as little as two inches of rain per year and temperatures in excess of 140 degrees, but human activity in their habitat has them listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.…

<em>Drosophila melanogaster</em>, or fruit fly, on an apple. Fruit flies eat rotting fruit. The flies are used by Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology, and his team to advance our understanding of whether behavior is determined by genetics or by social environment.

Lord of the Flies

July 3, 2013

A million tiny fruit flies live in the laboratory of Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology at USC Dornsife. The flies are not (thankfully) buzzing around the room, but safely contained in small glass vials —…

Scientists show that attributing every forgetful moment to getting older can actually worsen memory problems — and reveal a surprising twist. Photo by Rhoda Baer.

Aging Stereotypes and Memory

July 2, 2013

Of the many negative stereotypes that exist about older adults, perhaps the most common is that they are forgetful, senile and prone to so-called “senior moments.” In fact, while cognitive processes do decline with…

Brain activity imaged by an fMRI while participants with stroke viewed others performing an action. Blue areas show decreased activity (likely where there are lesions caused by a stroke) while red areas show increased activity (thought to be regions of the brain working harder to make up for the damaged regions). Image courtesy of Kathleen Garrison.

Exercising the Brain

June 12, 2013

A new study has found that stroke patients’ brains show strong cortical motor activity when observing others performing physical tasks — a finding that offers new insight into stroke rehabilitation. Using…

Growing up in New Jersey, Provost Fellow Edward Gauvin had no early plans to get into French literature translation; it happened gradually. Photo by Vince Passaro.

Found in Translation

May 30, 2013

In the eyes of Provost Fellow Edward Gauvin, translation is a creative activity. A busy translator of French literature for the past five years, he sees the task as more an exercise in adaptation. “I have to create a…

Earning his Ph.D. at the USC Dornsife hooding ceremony May 16, Howard Wayne Harris was lead author on several published scientific papers. All of his research papers are accompanied by online videos, which help readers visualize the experiment results. Photo by Emily Cavalcanti.

Scientist and Filmmaker

May 17, 2013

In high school, Howard Wayne Harris had a rough time in academics.  Because he had a difficult time spelling and handwriting one teacher advised him not to go to college.  How would that 9th grade teacher feel…

Clockwise from top left: Rebecca and Andrew Alonzo, Cynthia Maxwell Dillard, Michael Fritschner, America Ferrera and David Horacio Hernandez. The Alonzos, Dillard and Hernandez photos by Pamela J. Johnson; Fritschner photo by Erica Christianson; Ferrera photo by grad images.

You Did It!

May 17, 2013

Graduated Betty   Golden Globe and Emmy-winning America Ferrera stands with her mentor Steven Lamy, professor of international relations and vice dean for academic programs in USC Dornsife. Ferrera earned her…