Dean Carmen A. Puliafito
One of the greatest things about working in academic medicine is the opportunity for discovery. Our faculty, their trainees and students are in
constant pursuit of new knowledge that will unravel the mystery of disease, clarify the disease process or create new therapies to treat or prevent disease.
With the quest for new scientific discovery comes the opportunity to compete for federal research funding. At the Keck School of Medicine, our research dollars
are soaring, with more than $60 million in grants received since July 1. This surge continues an exciting trend in growing National Institutes of Health (NIH) support for our school.
Some $34 million in Keck research grants has come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), legislation recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Part of the legislation’s funding was given to the NIH in order to fund research projects that will stimulate the economy, create or retain jobs, and have the potential for making scientific progress in two years. Our Keck faculty have competed well for this funding, and we expect to see more of it.
Also in recent months, our USC Epigenome Center, affiliated with the Keck School and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, received an impressive NIH grant for $10.4 million. Another $16.4 million was awarded to the Center for Applied
Molecular Medicine, a research unit affiliated with the USC Institute for Genetic
Medicine and the Department of Medicine. Both grants are expected to pave the way for more effective treatment and diagnosis for cancer patients. A $10.5 million grant was recently awarded to Jae Jung for studies related to influenza. You’ll read more about that research project in this issue of Keck Medicine magazine, along with features on several philanthropic gifts that serve to support our research and clinical programs.
Our clinical focus for this issue is the field of neurosurgery – an arena that sees
patients with chronic back pain as well as individuals with threatening brain and spinal cord issues. Our talented neurosurgery faculty work as a team, caring for patients and pioneering new clinical techniques to expedite recovery and a return to normal activity. Among those patients is actor Stacy Keach, who shares his story of returning to the stage following an innovative procedure performed by USC’s interventional neuroradiologists.
You also will read about strategies to curb childhood obesity and diabetes – two important areas of clinical medicine rooted in research.
Another area of renewed focus at the Keck School of Medicine is our Women’s Cancer Program. In these pages you’ll meet Dr. Debu Tripathy, the new co-director of this important program. He is a national figure in breast cancer research who enthusiastically joined the Keck School in August.
As we move through this winter season, we remain dedicated to our efforts to recruit outstanding faculty leaders, train the next generation of physicians, provide the very best in innovative patient care and discover new scientific knowledge to benefit us all. As always, I welcome your input and support.