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Faculty Research News

Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello to a composition by Bruce Adolphe based on a poem by Antonio Damasio. In the background is brain activity imagery produced in Hanna Damasio’s laboratory. Photo credit Hiroyuki Ito/The New York Times/Redux.

Brains and Beauty

August 27, 2010

Mind first bloomed quietly And no one knows when, Although we know where: Within a brain that lived within a body. Sound heady? It should. This is the introduction to a poem written by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio of USC…

Susan Friedlander, professor of mathematics, is the director of the USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences (CAMS). Photo credit Laurie Moore.

USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences Turns 20

August 25, 2010

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the USC Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences (CAMS), a research unit housed in USC College's Department of Mathematics. Susan Friedlander, professor of mathematics and CAMS' fourth…

Nick Warner, professor of physics and astronomy, and mathematics at USC College, shares his love of science with students in his general education astronomy class and with fans of the ABC series <em>Lost</em>. Photo credit Max S. Gerber.

Explosives, Black Holes and Dr. Who

August 17, 2010

Nick Warner leans forward in his desk chair, his arms outstretched, hands cupping the air in front of him as if protecting a small flame. "When I was 15, I had something explode right here," he says.  For Warner, USC…

Cool Science

Cool Science

August 12, 2010

At the bottom of the Earth — the planet's coldest, driest, windiest place — the sky radiates a lavender-yellow hue in the midnight sun.  Whiter than milk, the blanket of ice seems infinite. Amid the…

New Study Examines the Brain's Wiring

New Study Examines the Brain's Wiring

August 10, 2010

The brain has been mapped to the smallest fold for at least a century, but still no one knows how all the parts talk to each other. A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences answers that question for a small…

Phytoplankton in mixed communities.

Microbes on the Menu

July 27, 2010

The functioning of marine ecosystems depends on the size and flavor of microbes at the base of the food chain. Changes to the Earth's atmosphere might rearrange that microscopic menu. Microbes that currently are the main…

Sarah Bottjer, professor of biological sciences and psychology, discovered in her latest study that the basal ganglia pathway in zebra finches has two parallel circuits, rather than a single neural circuit as previously thought. Photo credit Eric O’Connell.

A Real Tweet

July 22, 2010

Loud and lively singers, some liken the sound of finches to toy trumpets -- ka-ching, beep-beep, oi, a-ha, or da-de-da! Both male and female zebra finches sound off in chattering trills and calls. However, it is only the male…

Decoding Cancer: One Cell at a Time

Yeast Unleashed

July 21, 2010

There is good reason Susan Forsburg's laboratory smells of sourdough. The USC College biologist is among the most prominent fission yeast researchers in the country. Inside her lab are hundreds of petri dishes containing…

Lin Chen, professor of biological sciences and chemistry, aligns a protein crystal on an X-ray diffractometer. He uses X-ray crystallography to analyze the molecular details of key proteins and their complexes in physiological and disease processes. Photo credit Max S. Gerber.

Crystal Clear

July 16, 2010

Tuning out the noise of fellow passengers and the incessant hum of the turbojet engine, Lin Chen pored voraciously over the pages of James Watson's The Double Helix. The words and ideas flowed from the book's pages, drowning…

Scientists on the New Frontiers

Scientists on the New Frontiers

July 14, 2010

One scientist seeks a complete understanding of nanowire properties while another designs a solar cell that boosts high efficiency. This is just one example of how researchers in the basic and applied sciences at USC work…