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The destructive power of volcanoes was captured by William Morgan in 1840 in a hand-colored lithograph. Ancient volcanic activity could serve as a model for modern-day climate change studies. Image courtesy of the USC Libraries Special Collections.

Ancient volcanoes could be key to predicting the impact of climate change

April 14, 2016

Just over 200 million years ago, long before the demise of the dinosaurs, a cataclysm killed off a significant chunk of the planet’s animal life. The leading theory implicates massive volcanic eruptions, triggered when…

Researchers labeled sensory neurons that are found in the skin. Green indicates protein receptors involved in cold sensation, those involved with pain are in red, and GFRα3, involved in heightening cold sensitization, is marked by blue. Photomicrograph courtesy of David McKemy.

Biology researchers find single gatekeeper guarding path to cold-induced pain

April 8, 2016

Cold can hurt. The onset of inflammation following an injury or as a result of disease can heighten pain response to cold, just as it can for pressure and heat sensitivity. Researchers at USC Dornsife have found that…

A microscopic image shows the type of phytoplankton and bacteria observed by USC researchers during a study of algal blooms. Photo courtesy of David Needham and Jed Fuhrman.

Microorganisms battle it out within algal blooms

March 8, 2016

An unseen war raging among the ocean’s tiniest organisms has significant implications for understanding the ocean’s role in climate change, according to a new study. USC Dornsife researchers David Needham and Jed…

Functional MRI scanners provide maps of signals in the brain, but scientists know these maps may be slightly inaccurate. Photo by Janne Moren.

Rare eye condition gives scientists a chance to improve brain scan studies

March 3, 2016

There is an elephant in the room each time scientists conduct a brain scan study. Functional MRI scans provide colorful maps of signals in the brain, but scientists know these maps may be slightly inaccurate. That’s…

Richard Brutchey of chemistry and his colleagues have created a parallel reactor to improve the manufacture of nanoparticles. Image courtesy of Richard Brutchey.

Researchers find way to produce nanomaterials on a larger scale

March 1, 2016

Nanoparticles — tiny particles 100,000 times smaller than the width of a strand of hair — can be found in everything from drug delivery formulations to pollution controls on cars to high-definition TV sets. With…

Ange-Marie Hancock of political science, gender studies and sociology has written a new book on intersectionality, which looks at the relationship between power and race, gender, class and sexuality.

To better understand how society works, take a closer look at the intersections

February 26, 2016

The United States, though led by an African American president, has witnessed the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. In Scandinavia, largely a progressive, socially oriented and egalitarian region, violence against women…

Alumnus and USC Dornsife professor Jonathan Kellerman is the best-selling author of 47 books. Photo by Joan Allen.

Novelist Jonathan Kellerman explains how his psychology training informs his writing

February 22, 2016

In 1974, Jonathan Kellerman, then a graduate student in psychology at USC Dornsife, was driving to work at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles, where he was interning, when he passed a sign in the window of an antique store…

John Tower and his colleagues found that treating flies with a steroid hormone decreased egg production in females while increasing longevity. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Some aging treatments have opposite effects on males and females

February 19, 2016

What helps her live longer might be harmful to him, according to a new study that may shed light on how and why organisms age. Analyzing years of previous research on dietary and pharmaceutical tests on flies and mice,…

Blue indicates the location of the tiny locus coeruleus within the brainstem. Photo from Shutterstock.com.

Researchers pinpoint brain region as ‘ground zero’ of Alzheimer’s disease

February 17, 2016

A critical but vulnerable region in the brain appears to be the first place affected by late onset Alzheimer’s disease and may be more important for maintaining cognitive function in later life than previously…

The carbon dioxide-to-methanol process. Illustration courtesy of Surya Prakash.

Turning air into fuel: USC chemists convert carbon dioxide into methanol

February 1, 2016

They’re making fuel from thin air at the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. For the first time, researchers there have directly converted carbon dioxide from the air into methanol at relatively low…