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Faculty Research News

An article written by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang titled “Musings on the Neurobiological and Evolutionary Origins of Creativity” will appear this month in <em>LEARNing Landscapes</em>.

An Inspirational Look at Poetry

December 14, 2011

Like it or not, most people take work home with them. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a neuroscientist and educational psychologist at USC, takes inspiration from home to work. Dissecting four poems written by her daughter Nora…

Remo Rohs of USC Dornsife studies the different shapes of two Hox-DNA binding sites. Photo by Jie Gu.

The Shape of Things to Come

December 8, 2011

A USC Dornsife scientist has developed an innovative method of predicting the shape of DNA, for the first time making it expedient to do so on a genomic scale. “DNA can have variations in shape, which are read by…

In recent years in southern California, there has been an increase of shellfish including clams pictured here becoming poisoned due to toxin events in the ocean. USC researchers are working on early detection of harmful algal blooms.

Curtailing Poisonous Shellfish

December 8, 2011

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has granted $4 million to a team including USC scientists for a five-year project to investigate early detection of potentially deadly algal blooms — known as…

USC Dornsife professsor Katrina Edwards spent two months in the Mid-Atlantic. Photo by Phil Channing.

From Deep Sea to Dry Dock

November 23, 2011

This week a USC scientist who spent 65 days at sea in search of life hidden beneath the seafloor returns from a successful expedition, which she chronicled in regular blog posts from her ship. Katrina Edwards of USC Dornsife…

USC Dornsife professor Kenneth Nealson is working on an atmospheric monitor that will search for signs of life on Mars. Photo by Phil Channing.

Is the 'Dead Planet' Full of Life?

November 22, 2011

David Bowie asked it best in his 1971 song “Life on Mars?” But when it comes to the question of whether there’s currently life on the Red Planet, USC Dornsife professor Kenneth Nealson is fairly confident…

Laura Baker's Southern California Twin Project investigates the roles heredity and environment play in producing different behaviors in fraternal and identical twins.

Twin Study Offers Insight into Antisocial Behavior

November 16, 2011

There is good reason students and faculty walking the halls of the Seeley G. Mudd building think they are seeing double — they are. For the past 11 years, hundreds of sets of twins have visited the lab of Laura Baker,…

Duncan Ryûken Williams is the new director of the USC School of Religion, and the founder and co-director of the newly created USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

Enlightening the West

November 16, 2011

Born in Tokyo to a Japanese Buddhist mother and a British Christian father, Duncan Ryûken Williams believes it is his destiny to serve as a bridge between the religions and cultures of his upbringing. “I’ve…

Antonio and Hanna Damasio, University Professors in USC Dornsife, receive their honorary degrees Oct. 15 from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Here, Hanna addresses the audience. Photo courtesy of the Damasios.

Antonio and Hanna Damasio Honored

November 11, 2011

University Professors Antonio and Hanna Damasio — who together have challenged dominant 20th-century views about brain function and demonstrated how emotions play a critical role in high-level cognition — have been…

Dennis Hedgecock's 1986 article in <em>Bulletin of Marine Science</em> was one of the most cited articles in the journal's 60-year history. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

Academic Journal Honors USC Professor's Contributions

November 9, 2011

Early in his career, USC marine biologist Dennis Hedgecock explored a pair of hypotheses that since have significantly influenced science’s understanding of how marine animals pass genes on to future generations. In…

The world's oil and gas reserves are expected to run dry this century. USC Dornsife's George Olah and G.K. Surya Prakash's methanol economy has emerged as an alternative.

Sun Sets on Oil Wells

November 9, 2011

For more than 20 years, George Olah and G.K. Surya Prakash have quietly and consistently worked toward saving the world. The USC Dornsife professors’ solutions were recently featured in the Journal of the American…