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Natural Sciences News

Artist Julie Selan’s reconstruction of Zanda fauna from the Pliocene epoch. Image courtesy of Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Arctic Fox, Woolly Rhino and Three-toed Horse

June 17, 2014

For the past 2.5 million years, the Earth has experienced millennia-long cold and warm cycles that collectively have become known as the Ice Age. During cold periods, continental-scale ice sheets blanketed large tracts of the…

On-set shot of Frank Baxter, a professor of English at USC Dornsife who garnered Emmys for his TV shows in the 1950s and 60s. Photo courtesy of Wesleyan Cinema Archives.

Hats Off to Dr. Research

June 12, 2014

Frank Baxter was one of the most popular and genuinely charismatic professors ever to teach at USC. The bald, bespectacled Baxter, a professor of English literature, had such a great reputation that the Daily Trojan once…

Screening methods at Calibr include the use of sophisticated robotics seen here — making it possible to process thousands of experiments daily. Photo courtesy of Calibr.

Industry and Academe Team Up

May 22, 2014

The California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), a nonprofit organization founded by renowned chemical biologist Peter Schultz, has launched a research collaboration with USC Dornsife. The partnership will expedite…

USC Dornsife's Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay, both of biological sciences, traveled to Saudi Arabia to spearhead a collaborative research project with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Here they are pictured aboard a KAUST research vessel. Photos courtesy of Doug Capone and Linda Duguay.

Plunging into the Red Sea

May 22, 2014

Sailing across the Red Sea, USC Dornsife’s Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay hoped to get an up-close view of the reddish blooms created by cyanobacteria, which give the water its distinctive, eponymous hue. “The…

In a story published recently in <em>PLOS Genetics</em>, Matthew Taylor, Ph.D. student in molecular and computational biology (left), and Ian Ehrenreich, assistant professor of molecular biology, found that genetic variants can collectively affect physical characteristics. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Breaking the Genetic Code

May 7, 2014

Scientists at USC Dornsife have definitively demonstrated that large sets of variations in the genetic code that do not individually appear to have much effect can collectively produce significant changes in an…

Doug Capone's research looks at the role and importance of marine microbes in major biogeochemical cycles, particularly those of nitrogen and carbon. In particular, he has shown nitrogen fixation — the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia — to be a key biogeochemical process in several marine ecosystems. Photo by by Taylor Faust.

Capone to Receive Top Biosciences Award

May 5, 2014

Doug Capone, William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies and professor and chair of biological sciences, has been honored with the 2014 DuPont Industrial Biosciences Award in Applied and Environmental…

Dr. Gary K. Michelson is a retired orthopedic spinal surgeon whose inventions have generated nearly 1,000 issued or pending patents worldwide. He has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Inventors. Here he is sitting with his wife, Alya. Photo by John Livzey.

Coloring Outside the Lines

April 28, 2014

For Dr. Gary K. Michelson, the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, made possible after his and his wife Alya’s $50 million donation, has never been about a name on a building. “I never named anything…

Physics and mathematics junior Luke Bouma earns the nation's highest undergraduate science award — the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Photo by Susan Bell.

Golden Opportunity

April 23, 2014

Budding physicist Luke Bouma, whose research interests include sustainable energy and quantum optics, hardly dared believe his good fortune when he recently learned he won the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Bouma…

Renowned ecologist William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., spoke to a packed audience of faculty and students at Joyce J. Cammilleri Hall inside the Dornsife Neuroscience Pavilion. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Averting the Apocalypse

April 21, 2014

In 1944, the United States Coast Guard released a herd of reindeer on St. Matthew Island off the coast of Alaska so top naval personnel could hunt them for recreation. The reindeer population grew exponentially. From the 29…

From left: Casey Donovan, professor of biological sciences; post-doctoral scholars and lead authors MaryAnn Bohland-Matveyenko and Anne Jokiaho; and Alan Watts, professor of neurobiology. The research team's work on how the body detects hypoglycemia could have far reaching implications for the development of insulin therapies to treat diabetes. Photo courtesy of Casey Donovan.

The Diabetes Detectives

April 17, 2014

To the casual observer, the 14-year-old kicking a ball around in the park with his friends looked like he had energy to burn. But the boy has Type 1 diabetes, a chronic debilitating autoimmune disorder that commonly manifests…