Skip to main content

Graduate Research News

Jennifer Achiro, a neuroscience doctoral student in Bottjer’s laboratory, is first author in the study examining the activity of neurons in songbirds’ brains using electrodes to record the activity of individual neurons. Photo by Amy Garrison.

Worth Crowing About

September 6, 2013

USC Dornsife scientists have discovered a population of neurons in the brains of juvenile songbirds that are necessary for allowing the birds to recognize the vocal sounds they are learning to imitate. These neurons encode a…

World renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (left) and University Professor Antonio Damasio engage in a spontaneous discussion about music's role in reducing personal pain and increasing joy. Photo by Steve Cohn.

Edge Effect

September 3, 2013

Strumming the cello strings with his thumb, American cellist and virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma played a simple, ascending chromatic scale. “What emotion is this?” he asked the audience at Cammilleri…

About 30 million Twitter users share data about their location. They choose whether to release their city and state, their address or their precise latitude and longitude. Their tweet text may also reveal a user’s location as illustrated here, in which a young woman says she is at home. Image courtesy of Chris Weidemann.

Mapping the Twitterverse

August 27, 2013

You start your day at your favorite breakfast spot. When your order of strawberry waffles with extra whipped cream arrives, it’s too delectable not to share with your Twitter followers. You snap a photo with your…

Ivan Krylov and Melissa Williams, chemistry researchers at USC Dornsife, were honored by the International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR) for excellence in scientific poster presentations. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Fourfold Excellence

August 22, 2013

Postdoctoral research associate Ivan Krylov and Ph.D. chemistry students Melissa Williams, Candy Hwang and Elena Ferri have more than one thing in common. They all work in the laboratory of Charles McKenna, vice dean for…

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…