Keck School of Medicine News and Notes
For faculty and staff of the Keck School of Medicine of USC

November 25, 2015


Goals of new Kidney Research Center are outlined at reception
Supporters of the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center learned more about the pioneering efforts underway at the newly launched research hub at Keck Medicine of USC during a Nov. 14 reception at the California Club. The founder of the University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), Kenneth Kleinberg, talked about his personal battle with kidney disease and introduced the various academic and scientific leaders who will carry out his vision to create the country’s top facility focused on kidney research. Among the featured speakers was Kenneth Hallows, director of the Kidney Research Center, who noted that government support for biomedical research tends to favor “safe” studies that provide mainly incremental advances in knowledge. That approach tends to limit innovative research. Read more

National AYA program honors Stuart Siegel with Trailblazer Award
Professor Stuart Siegel, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine of USC was recently awarded the Archie Bleyer AYA Trailblazer Award by Critical Mass, a leading organization supporting the cause of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Siegel’s involvement in the AYA movement has been long and productive. In the 1980s, he championed the development of a program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles called Teen Impact, which was one of the nation’s first support group-based programs focusing on the needs of AYAs and their families. A professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and the director of the Center for Global Health at CHLA, Siegel is also the founding director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Center for International Health at CHLA. In addition, he serves as co-medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program at USC (AYA@USC). Read more

All the global health news that’s fit to print — for kids, by kids
“Do the Write Thing” is a phrase often associated with the idea that words have the potential to bring about a sort of social justice. For student mentors at the Global Health Symposium for Kids on Nov. 14, it served as a guiding theme. Working with PressFriends, a nonprofit designed to help elementary school students hone their writing skills, graduate students from the Master of Science in Global Medicine program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC hosted 140 youngsters on the Health Sciences Campus. PressFriends volunteers from local high schools and USC undergraduates mentored the third- and fourth-graders who learned how to combine the tenets of good journalism with in-depth investigations into multiple health topics here and around the world. Graduate students focused on pollution and the environment, disability, food and water security, infection care/hand hygiene, human rights, oral health, refugees and the effects of culture on nutrition, diet and exercise. Elementary students not only received an education about global health disparities, but they also learned about the importance of good research, asking questions, making comparisons and connections, and effective communication as they completed article-writing exercises throughout the day. Read more

USC Eye Institute patient is first to receive retinal implants in each eye
USC Eye Institute patient Terry Byland recently became the first person in the world to have two retinal prostheses – one in each eye – and his progress regaining some sight signals hope for people going blind from retinitis pigmentosa. The reason: the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis system, the first FDA-approved implanted device to reestablish some sight in blind patients, giving them the ability to perceive images and movement. Like most people with retinitis pigmentosa, Byland experienced gradual loss of sight, going completely blind at age 45, when his youngest son was 5. Byland was part of the clinical trial for the original prosthesis, Argus I, from 2004 to 2010. His right eye was implanted with a 16-electrode retinal prosthesis on June 23, 2004. Byland’s left eye was implanted with the new 60-electrode Argus II on June 22 — almost 11 years to the day from the first implant — by Lisa Olmos de Koo, MD, MBA, of the USC Eye Institute. The Argus II helps patients recognize large letters, locate the position of objects and more. It restores some visual capabilities for patients whose blindness is caused by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited retinal degenerative disease that affects about 100,000 people nationwide. Read more


Monday, November 30

Noon. KSOM Office of Diversity and Inclusion Seminar. “Racism in a Medically Segregated World: Challenges and Implications for Social Justice,” Antonia Darder, PhD, Loyola Marymount University. Lunch will be served. Mayer Auditorium. Info and RSVP: Olga Rios, (323) 442-1051,,, ESVP code: Darder

Tuesday, December 1

5:30 p.m. Ophthalmology Grand Rounds. Steven Schallhorn, MD, UCSF, USC. HC4 Conference Room, 3rd Floor. Info: Tyaisha Christopher, (323) 409-5233,,

6 p.m. HTE@USC and Health Technology Forum (HTF) Discussion. “How the Internet of Things Is Revolutionizing Health Care,” Sajjad Yacoob, MD, CMIO of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and assistant dean for innovation and technology, Keck School of Medicine, with Hector Rodriguez, national director, U.S. Health and Life Sciences Industry Technology Unit at Microsoft. Harlyne Norris Research Tower, Room 503. Info: Nadine Afari, (310) 999-4029,

Wednesday, December 2

Noon. Saban Research Institute Seminar. “Fetal Personalized Medicine: Developing Novel Prenatal Treatments to Address Genetic Disorders,” Diana W. Bianchi, MD, Tufts Medical Center. Auditorium, Saban Building, 4661 Sunset Blvd. Parking is available at the main hospital garage. Info: Ritu Gill,,

Media Mentions

A Nov. 18 story in US News & World Report quoted Michael Johns, MD, director of the USC Voice Center and professor of clinical otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine, about findings from a new study on vocal cord scarring.

A Nov. 18 story on KPCC featured research by Seth Seabury, PhD, associate professor of research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, that found that the practice of defensive medicine leads to fewer malpractice suits.

A Nov. 20 story on CBC News quoted David Agus, MD, director of the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine and professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, about the benefits of eating fish rather than taking fish oil supplements.

A Nov. 20 story in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune quoted Carol Koprowski, PhD, assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine, discussing the proper amount of food to serve at Thanksgiving.

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