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Natural Sciences News

Chemistry alumnus Dave Chapman operates on an injured goose. Photo courtesy of Dave Chapman.

Trusting His Animal Instincts

August 14, 2015

Alumnus Dave Chapman recalls traveling through Bali, Indonesia, with a group of veterinarians. They stopped in different villages, setting up make-shift animal clinics and spaying and neutering hundreds of stray dogs. As a…

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Clifford V. Johnson.

Phantastic Physics?

August 14, 2015

Despite being much anticipated, particularly by Marvel fans, the newest Fantastic Four feature is failing to live up to its name, appearing to flame out at the box office. And as far as critics are concerned, it’s…

Detail of the stamp honoring Arieh Warshel and his fellow 2013 Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry, which will be released Oct. 10. Courtesy of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Stamp of Approval

August 6, 2015

On a recent trip to accept an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Nobel Laureate Arieh Warshel was also honored with a commemorative Israeli postage stamp. The imprint, which…

USC Dornsife scientists created a mutant form of yeast that fails to completely duplicate its DNA before dividing, yet still survives.

Zombie Cells

August 6, 2015

When cells divide normally, they duplicate their DNA so that each of the two new cells has a full and complete copy of the original genetic message.  But some cells don’t play by the rules — and the results…

Material from landslides is filling up riverbeds with sediment. Photo by Greg Willis.

Quakes, Landslides, Now Floods?

July 28, 2015

For Nepal, the hits just keep coming. It started with a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April, which led to aftershocks that are ongoing even now. All of the shaking triggered what are estimated to be more than 5,000 landslides,…

We spend a third of our lives in slumber — or we should — and USC researchers are studying the phenomenon and learning ways we can all improve our sleep habits.

Science of Sleep

July 24, 2015

In the classic fairy tale, Snow White bites into an apple and slips into a state ofsuspended animation. For her fellow figment of fiction, man-about-the-Catskills character Rip Van Winkle, a sip of moonshine affords the luxury…

Eleven postdoctoral fellows are joining USC as part of a collaboration with Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexico’s equivalent of the United States’ National Science Foundation.

Mexican Postdocs Welcomed

July 17, 2015

USC and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) have announced the selection of 11 researchers from Mexico who will join USC this fall as part of a new initiative to jointly fund them as postdoctoral…

The tiny fossil sponge was just 1.2 millimeters in width, seen here in a high-resolution scanning electron microscope image. Photo courtesy of Zongjun Yin/Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology.

Fossil Upsets Evolutionary Model

July 7, 2015

Researchers have unearthed a fossil of a sponge, no bigger than a grain of sand, that existed 60 million years earlier than many expected. This is the first time paleontologists have found a convincing fossil sponge specimen…

Sharks may get all the attention, but there wouldn't be any without the microorganisms that USC Dornsife researchers study. USC photo illustration.

Shark Week Indebted to More Than Sharks

July 6, 2015

Between Shark Week on Discovery this week and SyFy’s upcoming Sharknado 3, sharks are getting plenty of love on TV this summer — but what about the little guys? “The small things are where it’s at in…

Individual populations of mosquitoes are likely to have evolved resistance to whatever local selection pressures are typical in their area. Photo by Vectorbase.org.

Humans Push Mosquitoes to Adapt

June 25, 2015

Every time you put on bug spray this summer, you’re launching a strike in the ongoing war between humans and mosquitoes — one that is rapidly driving the evolution of the pests. Scientists studying mosquitoes in…