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

October 7, 2015


2015 Good Neighbors Campaign launches
The university’s Good Neighbors Campaign, USC’s annual employee-giving initiative organized by Civic Engagement, began Oct. 1 with a $1.6 million fundraising goal to support key university-community partnership programs. The campaign promotes better health and educational opportunities in the areas surrounding the Health Sciences and University Park campuses. Begun in 1994, the USC Good Neighbors Campaign encourages USC faculty and staff to contribute a portion of their paychecks to support programs that help strengthen local communities through USC Neighborhood Outreach and United Way. Students, alumni and friends can also participate. To date, the campaign has raised more than $17.7 million to support more than 600 community partnership programs. The 2015 campaign runs through the end of this month. Read more

Norris Healthcare Center celebrates milestone with placement of final beam
Construction continues to move forward across the Health Sciences Campus, moving toward a goal that hospital officials say will transform the campus into an oasis of innovative research and exceptional health care. As September ended, the last steel beam was placed atop the Norris Healthcare Center, which will stand near the corner of Alcazar and San Pablo streets. The new center will be dedicated to cancer treatment, with an ambulatory surgery center and a women’s cancer program, and it will feature several new dining options. Construction is scheduled for completion in December 2016. Work also continues on a new parking structure and improvements that will beautify the campus and improve traffic. Read more

Request for research pilot proposals issued by ADRC
The Alzheimer Disease Research Center (ADRC) invites clinical and basic science investigators to submit letters of intent for 12 month pilot projects. Please submit an NIH biosketch and 500 word structured abstract by Friday, Oct 16, 2015. Include the title of study, investigator(s), ADRC collaborator/sponsor, rationale, specific aims, methodology, study duration, and requested direct costs. Postdocs may apply with a faculty sponsor. Letters of intent will be ranked based on scientific merit and integration with ADRC research theme. The ADRC focuses on mild cognitive changes related to Alzheimer, cerebrovascular disease, and their interactions in diverse communities. We seek new basic, clinical and psychosocial approaches to the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of early cognitive impairment in humans and animal models. We encourage the development of new approaches to intervention and translational research from preclinical to early phase trials. Applicants may request direct costs up to $30,000 for one-year pilot projects (April 1, 2016- March 31, 2017). For more information, contact Elena Taylor, 323-442-7674,

USC clinical trial uses laser in treatment of bile duct cancer
A Keck Medicine of USC medical team has performed its first laser-based endoscopy for the treatment of advanced cancer of the bile duct. The procedure, known as photodynamic therapy (PDT), uses a photosensitizing agent activated by a laser introduced via endoscopy. Activation of the drug has the potential to cure superficial tumors in patients with a cancer known as unresectable cholangiocarcinoma. The procedure was initiated as part of a phase III clinical trial led by Jacques Van Dam, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the USC Digestive Health Center.


Thursday, October 8

1:30 p.m. Keck Medicine of USC Stroke Support Group Meeting. "Upper Extremity Rehabilitation After Stroke,” Linda Liang, USC. Keck Hospital, 3 North, Day Room (3261A). Info: Ozzy Obiwuru,  (323) 442-0049,

5:30 p.m. USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute Talk. “Dissolving Into Nothingness: Loss and Recovery of Consciousness After Severe Brain Injury,” Martin Monti, MD, UCLA. Hastings Auditorium. Info: Henrietta Movsessian, (323) 442-7246,,

5:30 p.m. Norris Medical Library Movie Night. “The Fault in Our Stars,” Rima Jubran, MD, USC. Aresty Auditorium. Pizza, cookies and bottled water will be served prior to the movie screening. Info: Luis Franco, (323) 442-1483,,

Friday, October 9

11 a.m. Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases Grand Rounds. “Haploidentical Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplants: Current and Future Status,” George Yaghmour, MD, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. LAC+USC Medical Center Inpatient Tower Room D. Info: Carolyn Castellanos, (323) 865-3913,

Friday, October 9 - Saturday, October 10

8 a.m. USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Symposium.California Laryngectomee Conference. Aresty Auditorium. Info: Brenda Villegas (323) 442-5790, RSVP: code: laryngectomee15

Tuesday, October 13

5:30 p.m. Ophthalmology Grand Rounds.Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. HC4 Conference Room, 3rd Floor. Info: Tyaisha Christopher, (323) 409-5233,,

Wednesday, October 14

5:30 p.m. Saban Research Institute Seminar. Samir S. Shah, MD, MSCE, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Auditorium, Saban Building, 4661 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Parking available at the main hospital garage across the street from the Saban Building. Info: Ritu Gill, (323) 361-8715,,

Media Mentions

A Sept. 30 story in the Monterey Herald featured a campaign led by Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, associate professor of preventative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, to encourage Latina women to get regular pap smears.

A Sept. 30 story on the American Cancer Society website featured Adam Leventhal, PhD, associate professor and director of the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL) at the Keck School of Medicine, on the role genetics play in tobacco addiction. "We need to have a better understanding of the biology of tobacco addiction, particularly in this high-priority population," Leventhal said.

An Oct. 1 story in Nature about brain imaging to study neural connections quoted Arthur Toga, PhD, director of the USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics and provost professor of ophthalmology, neurology, psychiatry, radiology and biomedical engineering at the Keck School of Medicine. “The days of just looking at one part of the brain are waning,” Toga said.

A, Oct. 2 story in the Los Angeles Times about the Oregon mass shooting quoted Jeff Victoroff, MD, associate professor of clinical neurology and psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine.

An Oct. 4 story on Public Radio International quoted Heather Wipfli, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Global Health and assistant professor of preventative medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, about health care access to prevent global pandemic outbreaks. "I think the world has recognized how important access to care is for the most vulnerable populations and how our connectivity has put us all dependent on each others access to quality healthcare," Wipfli said.

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