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

October 26, 2016


Zlokovic receives nearly $25 million to study Alzheimer’s disease
Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD, a pioneer of the theory that fixing the brain’s leaky blood vessels will prevent Alzheimer’s disease, has received four grants totaling up to $24.9 million over five years. The funding allows Zlokovic, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, to attack from different fronts the blood-brain barrier, a gatekeeper that prevents toxic substances from entering the brain. The National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health awarded Zlokovic and Arthur Toga, PhD, director of the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, $12.3 million. NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke presented Zlokovic with $3.6 million. The Alzheimer’s Association will give Zlokovic and Toga up to $3 million, and the Foundation Leducq in Paris asked Zlokovic to be the North American coordinator of a multi-institutional transatlantic program, supporting his work with up to $6 million. “Berislav Zlokovic is a very creative scientist who forges partnerships across disciplines, paving the way for innovation in varied areas ranging from basic Alzheimer’s research to clinical trials,” said Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine and director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute. “He is an internationally renowned clinician-scientist recognized for his contributions to age-related changes and diseases of the brain. Dr. Zlokovic’s work has the potential to help millions of people who have or may develop Alzheimer’s disease.” Read more

Panama summit stokes vision of health equity in the Americas
From the northern tip of Alaska to the southern coast of Chile, the Americas host some of the most diverse — and disparate — populations in the world. However, despite progress in medicine and economic development, health inequalities prevail, leading to avoidable premature illness and death among millions of disadvantaged people. With a goal of reducing disparities, researchers, policymakers and civil society members spanning 13 countries gathered in Panama Oct. 7-8 for a landmark meeting. The objective: to form partnerships and promote future research and training collaborations to further health equity—people’s attainment of their highest levels of health, regardless of who they are and whatever their circumstances may be. “We live in a time of transformation in the Americas,” said Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH, director of the new Center for Health Equity in the Americas (CenHealth) and professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, which organized the conference. “Coming together to share our vision ensures that we unify efforts on behalf of health equity in some of the most vulnerable populations in the Western hemisphere.” The summit, “Promoting Health Equity and Transnational Partnerships in Cancer Prevention and Control in the America,” presented a unique opportunity: to strengthen the bonds among partners and expand reach across 13 nations in Latin America, Canada and the United States, Baezconde-Garbanati said. Read more

Request for Pilot Proposals from ADRC and ZNI
The USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center and Zilkha Neurogenetics Institute jointly invite clinical and basic science investigators to submit letters of intent for 12-month pilot projects. New basic, clinical and psychosocial approaches are sought to the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of early cognitive impairment in humans and animal models. ADRC and ZNI 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, 2017- March 31, 2018). For more information, contact Elena Taylor-Munoz,

Welcome new clinical faculty
Please welcome the following new clinical faculty member to the Keck School of Medicine:
Timothy Floreth, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine (clinician scholar), is an expert in the fields of COPD, interstitial lung disease and cystic fibrosis. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, followed by a residency and internship in general medicine, a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine and postdoctoral research fellowship in lung transplant, all at the University of Chicago Medical Center.


Thursday, October 27

10:30 a.m. - Noon. Amgen and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. “R&D Insights from Lab Bench to Patient Bedside.” Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute Herklotz Seminar Room. Info:, RSVP:, Code: amgenlecture.

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. USC Institute of Integrative Health, USC Center for Health System Innovation Symposium. “The Role of Guided Imagery in Health and Healing,” Belleruth Naparstek, Health Journeys. Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center Auditorium. Info: Veronica Pagán, (323) 442-9259,,, RSVP: Quintilia Avila,

Friday, October 28

8:30 a.m. Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research Seminar. “Normal & Gone Awry. What is the Role for Host Defense?” Gloria S. Pryhuber, MD, University of Rochester. IRD 734. Info: Elva Rubio, (323) 409-7184,

11 a.m. Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases Grand Rounds. “Diagnostic Algorithm in the Evaluation of Immune-Mediated Neuropathy,” Said Beydoun, MD. LAC+USC Medical Center Inpatient Tower Conference Room B. Info: Carolyn Castellanos, (323) 865-3913,

11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m. Office of Research Workshop. “USC Awards to Fund Your Research,” Silvia da Costa, PhD, director of faculty research relations, Office of Research. Saban Research Building, First Floor Auditorium, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Info and RSVP: (213) 740-6709,,

Noon. Research Center for Liver Disease Seminar. “The Evolving Role of Lipid Metabolism in the Development of NAFLD,” Jay D. Horton, MD, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Hastings Auditorium. Info: Dolores Mendoza, (323) 442-1283,

Friday - Saturday, October 28 - 29

7 a.m. USC Institute of Urology. “Nightmares in Robotic & Laparoscopic Urologic Surgery: Prevention and Management of Complications,” Rene Sotelo, MD; Aron Monish, MD; Inderbir Gill, MD. Sunnyville, California. Info and RSVP: Regina Rezex, (323) 865-3594,, Physician/Surgeon: $295; Resident/Fellow: $150.

Tuesday, November 1

5:30 p.m. Department of Ophthalmology Grand Rounds. Arezu Haghighi, MD. HC4 Conference Room, 6th Floor. Info: Lina Poyzner, (323) 442-6383,,

Wednesday, November 2

Noon. Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute Seminar. “A Mesoscopic View: Connecting the Micro and Macro,” Russell Jacobs, PhD. Herklotz Seminar Room, ZNI 112. Info: Emily Chu, (323) 442-3219,,

Noon. - 2 p.m. Office of Research Workshop. “Securing Corporate Funding for Your Research,” Lawrence Lau, MBA, associate director, corporate collaborations, USC Stevens Center for Innovation. USC Norris Medical Library West Conference Room. Info and RSVP: (213) 740-6709,,

Media Mentions

An October 15 story in the Crescent-News featured a study by Stephen Gruber, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, about the potential benefits of coffee in preventing colorectal cancer. “According to Dr. Stephen Gruber, the author of the study, coffee contains many elements that contribute to overall colorectal health, which may explain coffee’s preventive properties,” the article reads.

On October 19, OncLive posted a video interview with Anthony El-Khoueiry, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, about the role of immunotherapy treatment in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. “El-Khoueiry expects that immunotherapy may be best evaluated in combination with loco-regional therapies in earlier stages of disease. Immunotherapy may also have a future role in the adjuvant setting, following resection,” the video states.

An October 20 story in the Orange County Register quoted Emily Dosset, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, about postpartum psychosis. “Dossett said there’s no credible research about whether hormonal contraceptives and postpartum psychosis are linked. Some women will experience depression when they start taking the pill, according to Dossett, but postpartum depression is wholly separate from postpartum psychosis and not an indication that the more serious condition could develop,” the article reads.

An October 20 story in Cosmopolitan quoted Sarah Twogood, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, about what causes various changes in women’s menstruation cycles. “If you’ve just had an IUD like Mirena or Skyla inserted, or if you’ve just started on birth control pills, you might see your flow slow to a trickle. In and of itself, that’s no cause for concern,” said Twogood.

An October 24 story in Fit Pregnancy quoted Richard Paulson, MD, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, about his study that showed natural IVF to be as cost-effective as conventional IVF. “We surveyed the surrounding programs in terms of how much they charge, and we argued that it is in fact cost effective to do a natural cycle,” Paulson said.

An October 24 story in the Wall Street Journal quoted Michael Johns, MD, director of the USC Voice Center, about natural aging of the vocal cords. “Anyone who has vocal changes that last more than a couple of weeks should see an ear, nose and throat doctor,” Johns said.

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