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Welcome to USC Stem Cell, a university-wide initiative connecting researchers and highlighting the latest news in regenerative medicine across USC.

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August 14, 2017

Biotech entrepreneur Min Zhou supports scientific serendipity in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Qi-Long Ying

By Cristy Lytal

“The most important discoveries that I’ve made have all come from nowhere,” said Qi-Long Ying, associate professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC. “They could not be planned.”

To foster this spirit of unexpected discovery, Chinese biotechnology entrepreneur Min Zhou has given an unrestricted gift of $500,000 to Ying’s lab, which studies how stem cells self-renew or differentiate into many specialized cell types.

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August 11, 2017

USC Stem Cell scientists obtain “how to” guide for producing hair follicles

By Cristy Lytal

How does the skin develop follicles and eventually sprout hair? A USC-led study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), addresses this question using insights gleaned from organoids, 3D assemblies of cells possessing rudimentary skin structure and function—including the ability to grow hair.

In the study, first author Mingxing Lei, a postdoctoral scholar in the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Cheng-Ming Chuong, and an international team of scientists started with dissociated skin cells from a newborn mouse. Lei then took hundreds of timelapse movies to analyze the collective cell behavior. They observed that these cells formed organoids by transitioning through six distinct phases: 1) dissociated cells; 2) aggregated cells; 3) cysts; 4) coalesced cysts; 5) layered skin; and 6) skin with follicles, which robustly produce hair after being transplanted onto the back of a host mouse.

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August 10, 2017

USC Stem Cell scientist Joanna Smeeton wins NIH Pathway to Independence Award

By Cristy Lytal

After her breakthrough discovery that zebrafish can be used to study arthritis, postdoctoral fellow Joanna Smeeton has received a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award. Known as the K99/R00, the award will help her transition from the postdoctoral to the faculty stage of her career.

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