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William Berelson, chair of the Department of Earth Sciences at USC Dornsife, collaborates at the high-vacuum line in his laboratory with Maria Prokopenko, who was lead author of a recent paper appearing in <em>Nature</em>. Photo by Erica Christianson.

The Nitrogen Cycle Intensified

August 14, 2013

In a discovery that further demonstrates just how unexpected and unusual nature can be, scientists have found two strains of bacteria whose symbiotic relationship is unlike anything seen before. Working with William Berelson,…

Experts warn that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will suffer from Type 2 diabetes by 2050. Marcia Abbott, who earned a Ph.D. at USC Dornsife in 2010, investigates how a high fat diet affects insulin resistance in skeletal muscles — known to be a precursor of Type 2 diabetes. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Taking Aim at Diabetes

July 25, 2013

As rates of obesity-linked Type 2 diabetes soar worldwide, scientific research advancing our understanding of this potentially fatal disease is crucial. Experts warn that if current trends continue, one in three Americans will…

<em>Drosophila melanogaster</em>, or fruit fly, on an apple. Fruit flies eat rotting fruit. The flies are used by Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology, and his team to advance our understanding of whether behavior is determined by genetics or by social environment.

Lord of the Flies

July 3, 2013

A million tiny fruit flies live in the laboratory of Sergey Nuzhdin, professor of molecular biology at USC Dornsife. The flies are not (thankfully) buzzing around the room, but safely contained in small glass vials —…

Shown is a colony of Trichodesmium bacteria roughly the size of the head of a pin. David Hutchins and his team studied the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria as well as Crocosphaera. Photo by Eric Webb.

The Ocean of Tomorrow

July 3, 2013

Climate change may be weeding out the bacteria that form the base of the ocean’s food chain, selecting certain strains for survival, according to a new USC study. In climate change, as in everything, there are winners…

Scientists show that attributing every forgetful moment to getting older can actually worsen memory problems — and reveal a surprising twist. Photo by Rhoda Baer.

Aging Stereotypes and Memory

July 2, 2013

Of the many negative stereotypes that exist about older adults, perhaps the most common is that they are forgetful, senile and prone to so-called “senior moments.” In fact, while cognitive processes do decline with…

A living neuron in culture: Green dots indicate excitatory synapses and red dots indicate inhibitory synapses. Photo courtesy of Don Arnold.

Memories Illuminated

June 19, 2013

Oscar Wilde called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.” Now a team of USC Dornsife scientists has developed a way to see where and how that diary is written. Led by Don Arnold and Richard Roberts,…

Brain activity imaged by an fMRI while participants with stroke viewed others performing an action. Blue areas show decreased activity (likely where there are lesions caused by a stroke) while red areas show increased activity (thought to be regions of the brain working harder to make up for the damaged regions). Image courtesy of Kathleen Garrison.

Exercising the Brain

June 12, 2013

A new study has found that stroke patients’ brains show strong cortical motor activity when observing others performing physical tasks — a finding that offers new insight into stroke rehabilitation. Using…

Growing up in New Jersey, Provost Fellow Edward Gauvin had no early plans to get into French literature translation; it happened gradually. Photo by Vince Passaro.

Found in Translation

May 30, 2013

In the eyes of Provost Fellow Edward Gauvin, translation is a creative activity. A busy translator of French literature for the past five years, he sees the task as more an exercise in adaptation. “I have to create a…

In times of stress, people are just as likely to default to positive habits, such as eating a healthy breakfast, as they are to self-sabotage. Photo courtesy of  Daderot.

Healthy Habits Die Hard

May 29, 2013

Stress and exhaustion may turn us into zombies, but a novel study by USC researchers shows that mindless behavior doesn’t just lead to overeating and shopping sprees — it can also cause us to stick with behaviors…

Historian Deborah Harkness breathes life into the mysteries of the past by embroidering fiction onto gaps in the historical record. At the centerpiece of her <em>All Souls Trilogy</em> of books is the perplexing, real-life manuscript Ashmole 782, originally donated to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in 1858. Photo by John Livzey.

The Dark of Harkness

May 7, 2013

Deborah Harkness believes the pages of centuries-old manuscripts are enchanted. Like clues to a mystery, they hold the key to unraveling the chronology, ambitions, failures and successes of those who lived before us. And…