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Biological Sciences News

Robert Bils in 1968. Photo courtesy of USC University Archives.

In Memoriam: Robert Bils, 85

April 22, 2016

Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences Robert Bils has died. He was 85. Bils died at his home on March 26 in Montebello, Calif., after a long struggle with lymphoma. Before his retirement in 1996, Bils taught and…

The destructive power of volcanoes was captured by William Morgan in 1840 in a hand-colored lithograph. Ancient volcanic activity could serve as a model for modern-day climate change studies. Image courtesy of the USC Libraries Special Collections.

Ancient volcanoes could be key to predicting the impact of climate change

April 14, 2016

Just over 200 million years ago, long before the demise of the dinosaurs, a cataclysm killed off a significant chunk of the planet’s animal life. The leading theory implicates massive volcanic eruptions, triggered when…

Researchers labeled sensory neurons that are found in the skin. Green indicates protein receptors involved in cold sensation, those involved with pain are in red, and GFRα3, involved in heightening cold sensitization, is marked by blue. Photomicrograph courtesy of David McKemy.

Biology researchers find single gatekeeper guarding path to cold-induced pain

April 8, 2016

Cold can hurt. The onset of inflammation following an injury or as a result of disease can heighten pain response to cold, just as it can for pressure and heat sensitivity. Researchers at USC Dornsife have found that…

USC Dornsife student Stephanie Brito, a senior majoring in biological sciences and winner of the John R. Hubbard Award, speaks at the USC Latino Alumni Association gala on March 4. Photo by Ron Murray/ImageActive Photography.

USC Latino Alumni Association honors USC Dornsife first-generation students

March 18, 2016

Over the past 42 years, the USC Latino Alumni Association has helped more than 8,000 Latino students fulfill their dreams of a USC education, awarding more than $15 million in scholarships. The story of Stephanie Ashley…

A microscopic image shows the type of phytoplankton and bacteria observed by USC researchers during a study of algal blooms. Photo courtesy of David Needham and Jed Fuhrman.

Microorganisms battle it out within algal blooms

March 8, 2016

An unseen war raging among the ocean’s tiniest organisms has significant implications for understanding the ocean’s role in climate change, according to a new study. USC Dornsife researchers David Needham and Jed…

A MERIT applicant presents her poster on health care disparity to Tyler Mains and other applicants during the Medical Leadership Course — MERIT's selection process — in January 2014. Photos courtesy of Tyler Mains.

USC Dornsife alumnus aims to eradicate educational and health-care inequalities

February 24, 2016

Assigned to teach biology in a Baltimore, Md., high school, Teach For America corps member and USC Dornsife alumnus Tyler Mains was shocked by how far many of his students were trailing academically and angry about the…

John Tower and his colleagues found that treating flies with a steroid hormone decreased egg production in females while increasing longevity. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Some aging treatments have opposite effects on males and females

February 19, 2016

What helps her live longer might be harmful to him, according to a new study that may shed light on how and why organisms age. Analyzing years of previous research on dietary and pharmaceutical tests on flies and mice,…

USC Dornsife's Scott Kanoski studies the way the brain controls how and why we eat. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

‘Hunger hormone’ turns eating less into eating more

December 15, 2015

Looking to avoid overeating during those big holiday meals? You might want to avoid fasting in the days beforehand. Cycles of food restriction unleash a “hunger hormone” that increases the capacity to eat more…

The nuclear membrane previously was thought to be mostly just a protective bubble around the nuclear material. Illustration by Taeyhun Ryu, Brett Spatola, Laetitia Delebaere and Irene Chiolo.

Nuclear membrane repairs the ‘dark matter’ of DNA

November 30, 2015

Scientists have found a new function of the nuclear membrane, the envelope that encases and protects DNA in the nucleus of a cell — it fixes potentially fatal breaks in DNA strands. The nuclear membrane previously was…

USC Dornsife’s Moh El-Nagger is installed as the inaugural holder of the Robert D. Beyer (’81) Early Career Chair in Natural Sciences at a Nov. 10 ceremony. From left: USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay; Robert Beyer; Catherine Beyer (wife of Robert Beyer); Elizabeth Cochran (wife of Moh El-Naggar); Moh El-Naggar; Provost Michael Quick. Photo by Steve Cohn.

El-Naggar installed as first holder of Beyer Chair

November 18, 2015

USC Provost Michael Quick praised Moh El-Naggar, assistant professor of physics, biological sciences, and chemistry, as a “great contributor” to USC Dornsife for both his research and his teaching. The remarks came…