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Natural Sciences News

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…

A new master’s program at USC will train students from the disciplines of social sciences and computer science to navigate the fields of data analytics and spatial informatics.

New master’s in spatial sciences focuses on big data

November 30, 2015

It’s difficult to refute: Big data is revolutionizing all industries, from health care and security to environmental sustainability and transportation. As companies grapple with the challenges and anticipate the…

Scientists must reconcile the fundamental components of reality if humankind is ever to comprehend the cosmos.

The Universe As We Know It

November 25, 2015

Sitting in a small French bistro across from Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, Clifford Johnson held the pumpkin-hued drinking straw parallel to the table. “Essentially, this straw has two dimensions to it. I can…

Undergraduate students from the environmental studies program at USC Dornsife take their first foray into grant writing and find success.

Students pen winning environmental grant proposals

November 23, 2015

Being that California is in the midst of a historic four-year drought, the impending El Niño is welcome news. Though it’s highly unlikely that the climate system will end the state’s water woes, this…

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…

Alzheimer’s disease can affect men and women differently. Photo by Mark Spearman.

Men with Alzheimer’s gene at risk of brain bleeding

November 16, 2015

A common genetic variation that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease greatly raises the likelihood of tiny brain bleeds in some men, scientists have found. These “microbleeds” leave small points of damage…

Life on the Holodeck

Life on the Holodeck

November 16, 2015

When Albert Einstein published his  general theory of relativity 100 years ago, he revolutionized the way scientists perceived the physical world. Redefining the force of gravity as a curvature in the combined fabric of…

<em>Eotiaris guadalupensis</em> fossil discovered by Jeffrey Thompson in the Smithsonian collections. Image courtesy of David Bottjer.

Oldest Urchin

November 9, 2015

Researchers have uncovered a sea urchin fossil that pushes back a fork in its family tree by 10 million years, according to a new study. A team from USC Dornsife found the fossil — Eotiaris guadalupensis — in…

James Moffett, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences, served as chief scientific officer for a recent ocean expedition that was the first to find dissolved iron as far as 2,500 miles from its source in hydrothermal vents. Photo by Darrin S. Joy.

Deep Sea Surprise

November 6, 2015

Iron is the single most abundant element on Earth. It’s also one of the most important for living organisms, which use it for myriad biological processes. An expedition in the South East Pacific Ocean may have found the…

Earthquakes and other disasters — both natural and man-made — pose a significant threat to lives and economies around the Pacific Rim. Photo courtesy of Walter D. Mooney/USGS.

Pacific Preparedness

October 23, 2015

Not far from Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, an alarm pierces the air. At a nearby elementary school, hundreds of children drop to the floor, scramble beneath their desks and hold on for dear life. It’s March 9, 2012, two…