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Faculty Research News

Suzanne Hudson, associate professor of art history at USC Dornsife, examines the staying power of painting as an art form in her new book, <em>Painting Now</em>. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Hudson.

Living Art

July 1, 2015

Art historian Suzanne Hudson can’t keep up with the tally, the number of invested observers — critics, curators and even artists themselves — who have come forward to whisper last rites. Sifting through…

Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences Basil Nafpaktitis taught at USC Dornsife from 1966-98. Photo courtesy of Mary Nafpaktitis.

In Memoriam: Basil Nafpaktitis, 85

July 1, 2015

Basil (Vasilis) George Nafpaktitis, Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife and at the University of Crete, has died. He was 85. Nafpaktitis died on May 24 in Charlottesville, Virginia, from complications…

Research by Norbert Schwarz has found that a fishy smell can boost our critical thinking. Photo courtesy of Norbert Schwarz.

The Smell of Suspicion

June 30, 2015

Around the world, from Lithuania to Lesotho, when anyone wants to describe something as suspicious they use a metaphor linked to smell.  And not a pleasant smell. In the English-speaking world we use the expression…

Individual populations of mosquitoes are likely to have evolved resistance to whatever local selection pressures are typical in their area. Photo by

Humans Push Mosquitoes to Adapt

June 25, 2015

Every time you put on bug spray this summer, you’re launching a strike in the ongoing war between humans and mosquitoes — one that is rapidly driving the evolution of the pests. Scientists studying mosquitoes in…

Josh Kun and his team weave together the threads of culinary history in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections.

What Menus Can Tell Us About Our City

June 25, 2015

Menus are ostensibly utilitarian objects, enabling patrons to figure out what dishes are available at a restaurant. But in his latest book, To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of a Modern City, author, curator and…

The stress of frequent exposure to family conflict takes a toll on the teenage brain, according to researchers in USC Dornsife's psychology department.

Parents’ yelling takes heavy toll on teens

June 22, 2015

Parents’ yelling is a turnoff for teens, but don’t mistake their emotional shutdown as a sign of ennui. It may be a sign of aggression. In a recent study, researchers at USC Dornsife explored how the stress of…

Valter Longo has previously shown how fasting can help starve out cancer cells while protecting immune and other cells from chemotherapy toxicity.

Fasting-type diet appears to slow aging

June 22, 2015

Want to lose abdominal fat, get smarter and live longer? New research led by USC’s Valter Longo shows that periodically adopting a diet that mimics the effects of fasting may yield a wide range of health benefits. In a…

Pieces such as this untitled pebble sculpture helped build Dadaist Kurt Schwitters’ reputation as the  “father of installation art.” Assistant Professor Megan Luke of art history chronicles the artist’s struggles under Nazism and in later exile.

Portrait of an Artist in Exile

June 19, 2015

A fresh look at a celebrated artist’s life and place in history has received the Robert Motherwell Book Prize — a $10,000 award from the Dedalus Foundation for the author of “an outstanding publication in the…

Image of a retina produced by the OCT-angiography process, which screens for diabetic retinopathy. Photo courtesy of the Translational Imaging Center.

A Better Way to Prevent Blindness

June 12, 2015

More than 7.7 Americans suffer from diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in American adults, according to the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. However, current diagnostic methods are…

Professor of Psychology Margaret Gatz is determined to help families of dementia sufferers recognize early symptoms of the disease. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Forgotten Memories

June 11, 2015

When aging grandfather and Mariachi musician Don Memo Valdez becomes increasingly forgetful and irritable, his family starts to worry. Don Memo’s wife expresses dismay at her husband’s memory lapses while his…