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Research News

Assistant Professor of Psychology Henrike Moll, director of USC Dornsife’s Minds in Development Lab. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Understanding Suspense

April 9, 2015

Here’s a psychology experiment you can try at home: Watch a Hitchcock film with someone and observe how they respond as the story unfolds. Hitchcock’s plots are like the Swiss watches of suspense, designed to…

USC researchers have discovered that a rat’s brain has local area networks of neurons. Illustration by Holly Wilder.

Internet-like Networks Revealed

April 7, 2015

Researchers sketching out a wiring diagram for rat brains — a field known as “connectomics” — have discovered that its structure is organized like the Internet.

 For years, scientists looking for…

Their dependence on silica likely gave sea sponges an advantage in an age of climate change between the Triassic and Jurassic periods. Photo courtesy of the NOAA Ocean Explorer.

The Winner in Climate Change?

April 7, 2015

Global temperatures climb, acid levels in the Earth’s oceans spike and sea levels rise. Next come the dinosaurs. No, we are not talking about today’s climate change phenomena. Think back —way back…

Professor of Biological Sciences John Tower. Photo by Max Gerber.

New Finding May Compromise Aging Studies

April 7, 2015

Some studies on the genetic roots of aging will need a second look after the discovery that a common lab chemical can extend the life span of female fruit flies by 68 percent. For years, scientists have engineered fruit flies…

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…

First-year student Benjamin Sturgess talks with Larry Singer, professor of chemistry and faculty adviser for USC Dornsife’s Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program (PPP), at a mid-semester program meeting. Photo by Kelsey Rupp.

A Change of Heart

April 1, 2015

In 1996, John Michels’ dream came true. After graduating from USC Dornsife with a bachelor’s in religion, the former Trojans offensive tackle was a first-round NFL draft pick by the Green Bay Packers. During his…

Donal Manahan and his research group have created a more accurate picture of how the metabolism of a sea urchin changes under environmental stress.

Hidden Costs

March 30, 2015

Scientists have found a way to measure the unseen toll that environmental stress places on living creatures — showing that they can rev up their metabolism to work more than twice as hard as normal to cope with…

Internationally known Egyptologist Zahi Hawass delivers a lecture titled “Pyramids, Mummies and Cleopatra: Recent Discoveries” on USC’s University Park campus. Photos courtesy of Lynn Dodd.

Preserving Antiquity

March 27, 2015

Egyptologist Zahi Hawass will never forget the morning of Jan. 28, 2011 — three days after the first demonstrations in Egypt’s revolution — when looters broke into the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in Cairo…

Artist's rendering of an exploding Buckyball. USC/Holly Wilder.

Bucky-Balls Become Buckybombs

March 27, 2015

1996, a trio of scientists won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their discovery of Buckminsterfullerene — soccer-ball-shaped spheres of 60 joined carbon atoms that exhibit special physical properties. Now, 20 years…

Shopping while hungry may lead you to spend more than 60 percent more and buy more non-food items than less hungry customers, research by Norbert Schwarz indicates.

Binder Clip, Anyone?

March 26, 2015

It’s almost lunchtime. You are hungry, but decide to stop at an office supply store before eating to pick up a few items. New research by USC Dornsife’s Norbert Schwarz, Provost Professor of Psychology and…