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Faculty Research News

USC Dornsife researchers found that watching someone we dislike in motion affects brain activity leading to "differential processing" -- for example, thinking the person is moving more slowly than he or she actually is.

Do You Like Me Now?

October 9, 2012

Hate the Lakers? Do the Celtics make you want to hurl? Whether you like someone can affect how your brain processes their actions, according to new research from the Brain and Creativity Institute (BCI), housed in USC…

USC Dornsife's Laura Pulido stands near the gravesite of Owen Brown in the hills of Altadena, Calif., one of the sites in her new guidebook, <em>A People's Guide to Los Angeles</em>. Photo by Laura Paisley.

L.A.’s Vernacular Landscapes

October 8, 2012

There is a tendency among my friends in Chicago, where I lived for the past eight years, to not see a Los Angeles beyond the Hollywood glitz and the tales of horrible traffic and bodily artificiality. And before making L.A.…

USC Dornsife's Valter Longo's latest study published in <em>PLOS One</em> shows that short-term fasting in mice appears to improve the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy in treating gliomas. Here Longo works in his laboratory. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

Fasting and Radiation Therapy

October 1, 2012

A new study from USC Dornsife researchers is the first to show that controlled fasting improves the effectiveness of radiation therapy in cancer treatments, extending life expectancy in mice with aggressive brain…

The Arch of Sorrow marking the entrance to the museum built on the site of The Akmolinsk Camp for the Wives of the Traitors of the Fatherland (ALZHIR). Photo by Azade-Ayse Rorlich.

Steppes Ahead

October 1, 2012

Descending from the upholstered comfort of their van into the vast, windswept steppe of Northern Kazakhstan, six USC Dornsife students gazed about them at an abandoned guard tower and the futuristic-looking Arch of Sorrow…

Charles McKenna, professor of chemistry and vice dean for natural sciences in USC Dornsife (third from left), wears his decoration recognizing him as a <em>Chevalier</em> (Knight) in the <em>Ordre des Palmes Académiques</em> (Order of Academic Palms), with (from left) incoming USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay; USC Executive Vice Provost Michael Quick; and Chi Mak, professor and chair of chemistry in USC Dornsife. Photo courtesy of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles.

Academic Accolades from France

September 28, 2012

Charles McKenna, professor of chemistry and vice dean for natural sciences in USC Dornsife, has been named a Chevalier, or Knight, in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) by the prime minister of…

Last year, eight short films were entered in USC's first science-themed movie competition, organized by Clifford Johnson, professor of physics and astronomy in USC Dornsife. Shown here are stills from the films. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson.

Cinematic Science

September 25, 2012

Looking for an innovative, interdisciplinary classroom project? Now is the time for professors in all USC schools to motivate their students to enter the 2012 Science Film Competition. The deadline for competition…

Thomas Ward, a USC Dornsife anthropologist, documents his life with MS-13 members in <em>Gangsters Without Borders: An Ethnography of a Salvadoran Street Gang</em> recently published by Oxford University Press. Photo by Eddie North-Hager.

One of the Gang

September 24, 2012

During his fieldwork one evening in Los Angeles, Thomas Ward found himself staring down the barrel of a gang member’s gun. His brush with death was a promise and a threat — Ward better pass the gang’s…

Susumu Takahashi, assistant professor of chemistry in USC Dornsife, was lead author of the recent <em>Nature</em> paper describing how he and his multiuniversity team developed the world’s first free-electron laser-powered EPR spectrometer. The laser (shown here) is based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Photo by Susumu Takahashi.

Laser-ing in on Molecules

September 24, 2012

By using this high-powered laser, which is based at the University of Californa, Santa Barbara, scientists were able to dramatically boost the effectiveness of EPR spectroscopy. Led by USC Dornsife, a multiuniversity team has…

Quantum magnets and other occurrences in quantum mechanics could set the stage for the next big breakthroughs in computing, alternative energy and transportation technologies such as magnetic levitating trains. USC Dornsife's Stephan Haas has co-authored a study in <em>Nature</em> that moves the research forward. iStockphoto by Nick Schlax.

Breaking the Rules

September 21, 2012

Former and current USC Dornsife physicists have led a study that represents the first, quantitative account of the universal features of disordered bosons — or quantum particles — in magnetic materials. The study…

Jan Amend, professor of earth sciences and biological sciences in USC Dornsife, will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers in an investigation into what life teems within Earth's subsurface biosphere. Their approach could become a template for collecting evidence of life or past life on extraterrestrial planetary bodies such as Mars. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Detecting Life Beyond Earth

September 21, 2012

A team of researchers led by Jan Amend, professor of earth sciences and biological sciences in USC Dornsife, has been selected to join the prestigious NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), an organization of competitively…