Where Curiosity Meets Ingenuity
USC Dornsife faculty and students take advantage of world-class facilities and technology to uncover new knowledge.
Our facilities include state-of-the-art labs for biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as specialized spaces for researching topics such as consciousness, music processing, nanotechnology, and more. Special collections and archives contain media and publications unavailable elsewhere.
Beyond campus, our researchers leverage resources including mountaintop telescopes, the celebrated archives housed at the Huntington Library, various collections at the Natural History Museum, and facilities providing access to SoCal’s deep water coast.
Research Facilities at a Glance
Buildings Used Primarily for Research
Square Feet of Research Space
Libraries and Information Centers
Electron microscopes in the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience
Cryo-Electron Microscopes — Among the Most Powerful in the World
Core Bioscience Facilities
USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience
From cancer to neurological disease, the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience connects a diverse network of scientists and engineers from USC Dornsife, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and the USC Keck School of Medicine to solve some of the most challenging human health issues.
With its focus on collaboration across scientific fields, it brings some of the most innovative researchers in the world together under one roof. Michelson Hall, the largest research building on campus, houses numerous cutting-edge research facilities to cultivate new methods for problem solving and a dynamic exchange of ideas.
Core Center of Excellence in Nano Imaging
The Core Center of Excellence in Nano Imaging (CNI) enables scientists to observe and manipulate matter at the nanoscale — the scale of atoms and molecules. With highly sensitive instrumentation, including electron microscopes and X-ray tools, CNI offers unparalleled opportunities to explore and visualize the building blocks of life.
Dynamic Imaging Science Center
With access to a high-performance 0.55 Tesla whole-body MRI scanner and a range of physiological monitoring systems, investigators at the Dynamic Imaging Science Center advance our understanding the intricacies of human movement.
Translational Imaging Center
The Translational Imaging Center (TIC) develops new technologies for imaging biological structures and functions. As a research center and user facility, TIC researchers leverage intravital imaging that provides live views of living tissue. This technology allows for deeper understanding of complex processes like embryo development, learning and behavior at the neuron level, and various diseases such as cardiovascular defects and Alzheimer’s.
John O’Brien Nanofabrication Laboratory
New nanofabricated materials have the potential to create everything from targeted drug delivery systems to more efficient solar cells. Equipped with advanced tools for lithography, characterization, imaging, and device integration, as well as systems for growing and depositing materials, researchers at the John O’Brien Nanofabrication Laboratory turn novel materials into game-changing, nano-scale devices.
Center for Peptide and Protein Engineering
Fundamental molecular structures necessary for various biological processes, peptide and proteins are essential areas of study for various medical sciences. The USC Center for Peptide and Protein Engineering works to revolutionize the field of biological recognition, diagnostics, and therapies by generating new peptide and protein tools.
A Cool Development in Microscopes
USC’s recent investment in a cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) facility, made possible through a partnership with biotech powerhouse Amgen, features state-of-the-art instrumentation capable of unprecedented molecular imaging. USC researchers and industry partners use these powerful tools to lead the development of new drug therapies, novel vaccines, and brand new ways of understanding cellular life.
A “Branch Campus” on Catalina Island
Twenty-two miles off the L.A. coast, the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center enables researchers and students to investigate the relationships between people and planet. Set amid the wonders of nature, numerous laboratories, robust diving facilities, housing and classrooms power exploration across a variety of ecosystems.
USC Wrigley Laboratories
The USC Wrigley research facility serves as a remarkable “living lab” that includes Catalina Island, its surrounding marine reserves, and the San Pedro Channel. Research is conducted in wet and dry labs, a greenhouse, a blue house, and at dive facilities.
George and MaryLou Boone Center
Comprising six small houses and a central house with a large meeting room, the Boone Center can accommodate up to 50 people for a variety of academic gatherings.
The USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber provides emergency medical treatment for diving accidents, as well as training for scientific divers and hyperbaric medicine specialists. Adjacent to a helipad, it works in collaboration with the L.A. County Medical Alert Center.
Greening Research Labs
Professors of chemistry Jessica Parr and Travis Williams are leading the charge to implement sustainable processes and use equipment that generates less heat. It’s part of a campus-wide effort to make our research efforts more sustainable.
Chemistry Facilities and Shops
The USC Dornsife Department of Chemistry manages several research labs and shops. A team of technical personnel oversees the maintenance and usage of highly specialized instruments such as laser spectrometers, X-ray diffractometers, and microscopes.
Your Brain at Work
Working at the intersection of art and science, the Brain and Creativity Institute researchers conduct experiments in both an advanced neuroimaging lab and a classical auditorium devoted to artistic performance and scientific presentations.
Uncovering Knowledge in Vast Collections
Encompassing 22 libraries and information centers, including specialized collections like the Hoose Library of Philosophy, the LGBTQ-focused ONE Archives, and the East Asian Library, the USC Library system is a world-class resource for researchers from every field.
A World for Discovery
With partnerships at specialized research centers and prominent cultural institutions around the world, the USC Dornsife research community makes discoveries far beyond the walls of campus.
All Aboard the Miss Christi
Every weekday USC’s passenger vessel Miss Christi provides transportation to the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island from the port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif.
One of a Kind Collections
ONE Archives at the USC Libraries is the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world. The collections are national in scope with a special focus on LGBTQ histories in the Los Angeles region.
View from the Top
USC Dornsife researchers have the opportunity to make use of the historic telescopes at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, Calif.