Skip to main content

Neuroscience News

Neuroscience major Adrienne Visani will be honored as one of two Class of 2016 salutatorians at USC's 133rd Commencement.

Sleep is a waste of time for salutatorian Adrienne Visani

May 12, 2016

Adrienne Visani gets very little sleep. That’s the only rational explanation for her extraordinary resume. Fortunately, her body demands only five or six hours a night. Even that small concession she makes…

Dawn Gross interviewing her first mentor, Jeffrey Mandel, a hospice and palliative medicine doctor practicing in the Bay Area, during the launch of her radio show, "Dying to Talk." Photo courtesy of Dawn Gross.

Alumna and physician transforms end-of-life conversations from dread to discovery

March 7, 2016

Dawn Gross knows how to talk about death. “I’ve asked hundreds of terminally ill patients, ‘If I had a magic wand, what would you wish for?’ And not one of them has ever answered, ‘Cure…

Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio receive Doctor Honoris Causa degrees at a formal ceremony held at the Sorbonne in Paris on Sept. 17. Photos by Julien Hay.

French Honors

October 22, 2015

Two USC Dornsife professors have received honorary degrees from the Université Paris Descartes — more widely known as the Sorbonne — for their pioneering work in psychology. University Professor Antonio…

The emotion of gratitude is important in social behavior, according to the study’s senior author. Photo courtesy of iStock.

Tracking Gratitude

October 20, 2015

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery…

Failure can be a rewarding experience if the brain is allowed to learn from mistakes. Photo by istock.

Rewards of Failure

August 26, 2015

Many political leaders, scientists, educators and parents believe that failure is the best teacher. Scientists have long understood that the brain has two ways of learning. One is avoidance learning, which is a punishing,…

USC researchers have discovered that a rat’s brain has local area networks of neurons. Illustration by Holly Wilder.

Internet-like Networks Revealed

April 7, 2015

Researchers sketching out a wiring diagram for rat brains — a field known as “connectomics” — have discovered that its structure is organized like the Internet.

 For years, scientists looking for…

Brain synapses are tiny structures only a hundredth the diameter of a human hair. Photo by Don Arnold.

The Waiting Is Over

March 18, 2015

Synapses, the links between neurons that allow them to pass information to one another, are central to all the brain’s functions. These key building blocks are believed to be where memories are stored, yet researchers…

John Monterubio, who earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from USC Dornsife in 2006, is general counsel and chief operations officer at ReefCam LLC. Photos courtesy of John Monterubio.

Hero of the Reefs

March 9, 2015

When USC Dornsife alumnus John Monterubio was six years old, his parents gave him a book about fish. “There were pictures of all these different types of fish and I still remember how the barracuda always stood out to…

Interactive Maps for the Brain

Golgi Your Brain

October 20, 2014

What’s the route between smell and memory? Where’s the connection between habits and Parkinson’s disease? How does habit detour into addiction? To answer these and other complex scientific and medical…

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,…