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

May 25, 2016


New eye pathology lab opens on campus
One of the few dedicated eye pathology labs in the country has opened at the Keck School of Medicine, providing an important resource for clinical applications, education, and researchers to study the delicate, sometimes very small tissue samples that are common in ophthalmology. The Ophthalmic Molecular and Immuno-Pathology Lab at the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, under the direction of Narsing A. Rao, MD, professor of ophthalmology and pathology, opened April 8 on the USC Health Sciences Campus. “General pathologists are not exposed to these kinds of material,” Rao explained. “That’s one reason that the eye pathology lab is needed. Eye pathologists are trained ophthalmologists, as well as trained pathologists.” Read more

Sidgmore Family Foundation gift to help hearing loss research
Neil Segil, PhD, professor of research in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, hopes that the research going on in his laboratory could provide real solutions for people with hearing loss, whether it be from aging, a genetic predisposition, or as a result of treatment with antibiotics or chemotherapy. Collaborating with the Ichida lab from USC Stem Cell, the team has been able to reprogram skin cells to develop into sensory hair cells. This scientific feat not only is creating new understanding of how they develop and why they die, but also creating new possibilities for finding treatments that will prevent hearing loss and to restore it after it is lost. Getting to this point took a major scientific effort that was made possible because of an unusual gift from the Sidgmore Family Foundation. The family made a contribution to the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, but earmarked the funds for cutting edge research, which has supported the efforts of the Segil lab. Read more

Daughter of immigrants creates scholarship fund for the Keck School
Betty Schreiner, MD, ’61, who established of the Joseph and Mariette Schreiner Scholarship Fund at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, learned a long time ago that hard work can lead to great success. Her parents, who immigrated to the United States separately in the early 1900s, instilled this idea in her from a young age, and inspired her to strive for lofty goals. The scholarship fund was established with an initial gift of $1.22 million to support the full tuition of one Keck School of Medicine of USC student in perpetuity. Read more


Thursday, May 26

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Department of Neurology and Roxanna Todd Hodges Foundation. “Stroke Health Fair,” Nerses Sanossian, MD. Aresty Auditorium. Info and RSVP: Leslie Tarlow, (323) 442-0049, Bilingual lectures will address stroke awareness and prevention.

3 p.m. - 6 p.m. HTE@USC, Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, and mHealth Collaboratory Mixathon. Seaver Science Library 150. Info:

Friday, May 27

6:30 a.m. Department of Anesthesiology Grand Rounds. “Percutaneous Valve Surgery,” Tawfik Ayoub, MD. McKibben Lecture Hall, Room 256.

Noon. Department of Medical Education. “Faculty Development Seminar — Teaching in the Clinical Setting When Time Is Limited,” Julie Nyquist, PhD. KAM 206. Info and RSVP: Cris Argosino, (323) 442-2746,

Tuesday, May 31

12:15 p.m. Department of Radiology Grand Rounds. “Emergency Medicine.” NRT LG503/4-Harlyne Tower. Info: Rosy Diaz, (323) 442-7469,

Wednesday, June 1

5 p.m. USC Research Center for Liver Diseases. Letters of intent due for pilot project funding. Info: Maria Vidrio, (323) 442-5571,

Media Mentions

A May 19 story on Univision profiled Rene Sotelo, MD, professor of clinical urology, Keck Medicine of USC. The clip, which is in Spanish, profiles Sotelo as a world-renowned urologist with advanced skills in robotic surgery.

A May 19 story on KABC-TV featured a study from Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine and director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, about the future of eye health in America. “The number of individuals that have vision loss or go blind is going to double by the year 2050 … We need to do these specialized screenings so that we can find these individuals who are losing vision,” Varma said. The story was also covered in Medical News Today, MedIndia, Counsel and Heal and the Imperial Valley News.

A May 20 story on CBS News featured a study by Chengyu Liang, MD, PhD, associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Keck School of Medicine, about a “sunscreen gene” that could potentially guard against skin cancer. “Our study suggests that the UV-resistant gene may serve as a biomarker for skin cancer prevention,” Liang said. The story was also covered in the Sacramento Bee, the Tampa Bay ABC affiliate, Headlines and Global News, the Daily Mail, KPCC and KSWB-TV.

On May 23, Ocular Surgery News announced that Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD, university professor of ophthalmology, biomedical engineering, cell & neurobiology and co-director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama. “Humayun, of USC Roski Eye Institute, was recognized for his role in developing the Argus II retinal prosthesis (Second Sight), which restores functional vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa,” the article reads. Humayun was also named as one of the winners in an article in the New York Times on May 19. Video footage from the ceremony was televised on KABC-TV.

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