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Biological Sciences News

USC Dornsife’s Richard F. Thompson was the first neuroscientist to identify and map the neural circuits responsible for classical conditioning — a form of learning. Photo by Philip Channing.

In Memoriam: Richard F. Thompson, 84

September 20, 2014

University Professor Emeritus Richard F. Thompson, William M. Keck Chair Emeritus in Psychology and Biological Sciences at USC Dornsife, a pioneer in the field of neuroscience, has died. He was 84. Thompson of Nipomo,…

Karla Heidelberg aboard a research vessel in Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Karla Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Steers the Ship

September 15, 2014

As director of the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program, Karla Heidelberg plans to develop new opportunities for students to gain real-world experience through hands-on internships and training with corporations,…

Matthew Dean of biological sciences, (left), and Jim Dines searched through more than 10,000 boxes of unsorted cetacean bones in search of pelvic bones. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Whale Mating: In the Hips

September 10, 2014

Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly…

Freshman Newal Osman shows off her scarf collection. Photos by David Sprague.

Islamic Faith Gives Her Heart

August 26, 2014

USC Dornsife freshman Newal Osman wraps a colorful hijab on her head, steps back and considers her reflection in the mirror. She likes what she sees. “Hijab goes beyond the head scarf,” she said. “You become…

Incoming psychology freshman Jessica Wynn (left) gives her younger sister, Jada Combs, who traveled from their home in Washington, D.C., to help her move in, a squeeze. Photo by Pamela J. Johnson.

Never Routine — Class of ’18

August 22, 2014

Smoothing a hand over the comforter and propping up a few pillows, Shermayne Hughes stood back. The bed was made. Her only child was officially moved into her new home at Fluor Tower. “I can’t believe my…

Marine biologist Gerald Bakus undertook 24 expeditions and cruises throughout the globe to study coral reefs and Komodo dragons. Photo by Irene Fertik, courtesy of USC University Archives.

In Memoriam: Gerald Bakus, 79

August 21, 2014

Professor of Marine Biology Gerald “Jerry” Bakus, an expert on the ecology of coral reefs and their natural products chemistry  who taught at USC Dornsife’s Department of Biological Sciences for 51…

“I have never been happier about being wrong,” said El-Naggar, corresponding author of a new study in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em> that shows the key feature in bacterial nanowires are not hair-like features, or pili. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Bacterial Nanowires Not Pili

August 20, 2014

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of…

USC Dornsife's Donal Manahan (left), who served as chief scientist for many research expeditions to the Antarctic, has been awarded an honorary fellowship by Bangor University in Wales. Here, he stands with Bangor University Vice Chancellor John Hughes during the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Bangor University.

Manahan Named Honorary Fellow

July 22, 2014

Donal Manahan, professor of biological sciences and vice dean for students at USC Dornsife, has been appointed an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University in Wales. Manahan was honored for his contributions to science and in…

USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay, Hashem Pesaran, Kenneth Nealson and Ray Stevens are among those deemed by Thomson Reuters to have the most scientifically influential minds in the world.

World’s Most Influential Scientists

July 17, 2014

Four researchers at USC Dornsife have been named by Thomson Reuters as having “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2014. Based in New York City, the multinational media and information firm…

The Moore Foundation study includes computational expert Zhenfeng "Jay" Liu (left), who joined the project after earning his Ph.D. from Penn State, and USC Dornsife postdoctoral researcher Ramon Terrado, a Ph.D. from Université Laval (Québec, Canada). Photo by Richard Hoops.

Venus Flytrap of the Sea

June 19, 2014

A team of USC Dornsife biologists affiliated with the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies is working on a $1.2 million study of marine organisms that are the microscopic equivalent of the Venus…