Executive Committee



Andrew P. McMahon, PhD, FRS, joined USC in July 2012 after 19 years at Harvard College, where he was a chairman of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and faculty member in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, a founding member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Frank B. Baird Jr., Professor of Science. McMahon is now USC Provost Professor and W.M. Keck Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; professor of Biological Sciences in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. McMahon is an elected Fellow of Royal Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an elected Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization. The McMahon group’s research focuses on the regulatory processes that construct, maintain and repair mammalian organ systems with a principal focus on the central nervous system, skeleton and kidney.


yang-chai-cropYang Chai, DDS, PhD, is the George and MaryLou Boone Professor of Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, where he also serves as the director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology (CCMB) and associate dean of research. He is most noted for his research on the molecular regulation of cranial neural crest cells during craniofacial development and malformations. Over the years, his laboratory has developed multiple genetically engineered mouse models in order to investigate how craniofacial organs, such as tooth, palate, mandible, maxilla, tongue and calvaria, are formed and how tissue-tissue interactions control patterning and morphogenesis. He is also interested in stem cells and craniofacial tissue regeneration. More recently, his laboratory has significantly expanded their effort in linking animal models with human birth defects and has successfully rescued craniofacial malformations by manipulating signaling pathways during embryogenesis. He has authored more than 100 scientific papers and numerous book chapters. His work has earned him multiple awards, including the 2011 IADR (International Association of Dental Research) Distinguished Scientist Award, and he is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He earned a DMD degree from Peking University School of Stomatology as well as a DDS and PhD in Craniofacial Biology from USC.

Preet cropPreet M. Chaudhary, MD, PhD, is professor and chief of the Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Blood Diseases and Bloom Family Chair in Lymphoma Research. He is also the program director of the USC Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program. Chaudhary has research interests in several areas of cancer, including AIDS-associated cancers, cancer drug resistance, biology of normal and leukemic hematopoietic stem cells, programmed cell death and cellular signaling. He is also interested in molecularly targeted and biological therapies for leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myeloma and solid tumors, and novel strategies to improve the outcome of stem cell transplantation. Chaudhary holds six U.S. patents in the areas of hematopoietic stem cell purification, multi-drug resistance to cancer chemotherapy and cellular signaling. He has been the recipient of numerous honors, fellowships and awards from national and international research organizations and has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigations. After graduating from medical school in India, Chaudhary obtained his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago, performing pioneering research in the isolation and characterization of bone marrow stem cells and mechanisms of multi-drug resistance to cancer chemotherapy. He did his residency training in internal medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and fellowship training in medical oncology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle.

fraser cropScott Fraser, PhD, is Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering and the Director of Science Initiatives at USC. Fraser is a world leader in imaging the molecular signals, cell motions and tissue morphogenesis involved in embryogenesis and other complex events using advanced imaging technologies. Major journals have published approximately 200 of Fraser’s peer-reviewed scientific papers. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., and his PhD with distinction in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Maxson cropRobert E. Maxson, PhD, received his PhD in cell and developmental biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978. He did postdoctoral work on eukaryotic gene regulation at Stanford University, and moved to USC as an assistant professor of Biochemistry in 1983. Maxson has worked on several aspects of organogenesis in mouse embryos, focusing recently on craniofacial development. He has a major interest in neural crest cells, a population of stem-like cells that give rise to various tissues and cell types, including bone, muscle, cartilage and nerves. Maxson also has a strong interest in graduate education, having trained more than 20 PhD students. He was an instructor in the embryology course at Woods Hole for two summers, and taught four times in a course in adaptational physiology at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. He was the vice chair for doctoral education in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from 1989 to 1996 and was one of the founders of the Program in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS) at USC. He is principal investigator of the Training Program in Stem Cell Biology funded by CIRM.

Polk cropD. Brent Polk, MD, AGAF, is the vice dean for clinical affairs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), and a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Polk previously served as chief of the D. Brent Polk Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, director of the Digestive Disease Research Center and a tenured professor of Pediatrics and Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Ouachita University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He was recently elected to chair the American Gastroenterological Association Institute Council. He also is chairing the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Committee (2009–2011), serving on the Scientific Advisory Board for the University of California, San Francisco’s Digestive Diseases Center (2009–present) and serving as United States organizer and scientific adviser for the World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition in Brazil (2008).

Segil cropNeil Segil, PhD, received his bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and his doctoral degree in biochemistry from Columbia University in New York. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University during which he studied the regulation of transcription during the cell cycle. Segil is a professor of research at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Segil’s research is focused on development aspects of cell cycle regulation as they relate to the inner ear, hearing loss and regeneration. He has published extensively and received grants and awards from several organizations. Most recently, he and Dr. Andy Groves received a $1,250,000 grant from the National Organization for Hearing Research to study regeneration of the sensory cells of the inner ear.

Warburton cropDavid Warburton, OBE, DSc, MD, MMM, FRCP, FRCS, FRCPCH, leads the Developmental Biology, Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Program at the Saban Research Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. This program comprises more than 20 principal investigators and can accommodate more than 100 scientists at the bench. The mission of this program is to discover the molecular and genetic regulatory networks that mediate organ formation in humans as well as other organisms and, by knowing these facts, to devise and translate regenerative and reparative solutions, including cell-based therapies and tissue engineering, for under developed or damaged human organs. Warburton’s longstanding personal translational research interest in the developing lung arose from his experiences as one of the first people to be board-certified in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Other investigators have since joined in this effort, so that now the members of the program work on devising and translating regenerative solutions for the lung, heart, kidney,  liver, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, skin and brain. He also directs both a CIRM training program and a CIRM shared laboratory. Warburton has authored more than 300 medical publications, which have been cited more than 10,000 times. He is a fellow of several Royal Colleges and is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.