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Biology News

Lab technician and USC College graduate Morgan Hawkins works with Susan Forsburg, professor of molecular and computational biology. Photo credit Dietmar Quistorf.

Life Is Looking Up

September 18, 2009

The federal stimulus package came too late to help Morgan Hawkins -- his own strength of character had already set him back on his feet -- but a stimulus-funded research job will let him take the next step. The 23-year-old…

Frank Alber of molecular and computational biology in USC College has been named 2009 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

Solving the Nuclear Pore Puzzle

August 18, 2009

Computational biochemist Frank Alber compares determining the architecture of a macromolecular machine to solving a jigsaw puzzle. "Let's say the jigsaw puzzle has thousands of pieces," said Alber, assistant professor of…

The <em>Dendrobium nobile</em> orchid as illustrated by John Nugent Fitch in <em>The Orchid Album</em> (1886).

Beauty & Good Taste

June 25, 2009

The origin of Joseph Arditti's orchid fascination is a simple one. It all began when he was an undergraduate and found a job helping a wealthy Bel Air resident cultivate his orchids. He repotted and did other tasks at first,…

The Neuroscience Era

The Chatter of Neurons

April 23, 2009

Close your eyes. Extend your arms and let your fingertips explore your surroundings. What textures and shapes do you feel? What can you infer about your immediate environment simply through touch? Just as your hands glide…

USC College associate professor of molecular biology Steven Finkel. Photo credit Philip Channing.

Biofilms: Even Stickier Than Suspected

March 12, 2009

Biofilms are everywhere — in dental plaque and ear canals, on contact lenses and in water pipelines — and the bacteria that make them get more resilient with age, finds a new study in FEMS Microbiology…

What Makes Life Go in the Tropics?

What Makes Life Go in the Tropics?

July 1, 2008

What causes tropical life to thrive: temperature or sunlight? The answer is not necessarily “both.” According to a study published online in PNAS Early Edition, the explosion of species at the tropics has much…

Not a Magic Bullet, But a Magic Shield

March 1, 2008

  Fasting for two days protects healthy cells against chemotherapy, according to a study appearing online the week of March 31 in PNAS Early Edition. Mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting continued to…

Fast-Tracking Lifesaving Discoveries

Fast-Tracking Lifesaving Discoveries

October 1, 2007

Impatience can be a virtue. Just ask USC College alumnus Raymond Stevens (Ph.D., chemistry, ’88). As a young professor at UC Berkeley, Stevens’ frustration with the slow pace of research in his field drove him to…

Bugs on Bugs

Bugs on Bugs

August 1, 2007

Bacteria — you can live without ’em, but it won’t do you any good, according to a study of fruit flies by USC College biologists. Fruit flies scrubbed clean of bacteria did not outlive their grubby siblings,…

The Sex Life of Plants

The Sex Life of Plants

August 1, 2007

The ability of plants to self-pollinate — a big factor in the spread of weeds — is much older than previously thought in one widely studied species, leading biologists say. The findings show that at least in plant…