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

September 22, 2016


Keck School program receives national honor for correctional health services
USC Correctional Health, a Keck School of Medicine of USC program, won the 2016 Best in Category Achievement Award for Health from the National Association of Counties (NaCo). This is the second prestigious award for the program, which was recognized last year with a Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Award. The Keck School partnered with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to form the USC Correctional Health program in 2013. The program’s mission is to improve access to care for inmates while reducing overall health care costs. “The program’s mission is to provide on-site clinic care and decrease emergency room utilization,” said Erick Eiting, MD, assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine and former medical director for USC Correctional Health. “In doing so, we provide better health for inmates long-term, and we save millions of dollars in health care costs.” Read more

USC and Amgen launch two lecture series
Without collaboration between universities and pharmaceutical companies, scientists might never have developed essential medicines ranging from the antibiotic streptomycin in the 1950s to HIV medications in the 1990s. In recognition of the ever-increasing importance of these academia-industry partnerships, USC and Amgen are jointly offering two new opportunities: a 10-week biotechnology lecture series for students and postdoctoral researchers, and a monthly seminar series open to all. “Strong relationships between academia and industry are vital to accelerating our progress in medical research,” said Andy McMahon, PhD, W. M. Keck Provost Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Biological Sciences, and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, interim dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, added, “Our close connections with Amgen and other industry partners support the medical school’s larger mission of promoting education, research and clinical care in the context of a world-class research university.” The inaugural seminar will feature McMahon, who will deliver a talk at Amgen on Sept. 28. Sasha Kamb, PhD, senior vice president for Discovery Research at Amgen, will deliver the next seminar at USC on Oct. 26. Moving forward, the monthly seminars will alternate between USC speakers at Amgen and Amgen speakers at USC. Read more

Little library brings literature to community
The USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) is hoping to build a relationship with children and youth in the Boyle Heights community one book at a time. DPS and Keck Medicine of USC collaborated to bring a Little Free Library to Hazard Park Recreation Center, which sits across the street from the USC Health Sciences Campus. The Literacy Club is an organization that partners with law enforcement and community leaders to create custom-built miniature libraries in inner-city communities. The program’s mission is to cultivate community and knowledge through reading and education. Read more


Thursday, Sept. 22

2 p.m. USC Stem Cell. “California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Roadshow.” Broad CIRM Center First Floor Conference Room. Info and RSVP:

Friday, Sept. 23

Noon. USC Research Center for Liver Diseases Seminar. “Human Liver Engineering: From Safer Drugs to Regenerative Medicine,” Gary Peltz, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine. Hastings Auditorium. Info: Dolores Mendoza, (323) 442-1283,

Friday - Saturday, Sept. 23-24

7 a.m. USC Institute of Urology Symposium. “Live Surgery Symposium: A-to-Z Robotic Radical Cystectomy & Intracorporeal Diversion.” Aresty Auditorium. Info and RSVP: Regina Rezex, (323) 865-3594,,

Saturday - Sunday, Sept. 24-25

7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Department of Surgery & Department of Medicine Continuing Medical Education. “Inflammatory Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Liver & Pancreas: A State of the Art Symposium,” Dilip Parekh, MD, Jeffrey Kahn, MD, and Jacques Van Dam, MD, PhD. Westin Pasadena Hotel. Info: Anika Bobb, (323) 442-2547, RSVP: Chelsea Michel, (323) 442-2555,,

Tuesday, Sept. 27

11 a.m. USC Stem Cell Seminar. “Regeneration of adipocytes in skin scars via reprograming of myofibroblasts,” Maksim Plikus, PhD, University of California, Irvine. Broad CIRM Center First Floor Conference Room.

3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Keck School of Medicine and SC CTSI Workshop. “Writing Winning Proposals,” Bonnie Lund, The Writing Company. Harkness Auditorium. Info and RSVP: Aileen Dinkjian, (323) 442-1087,, Must submit an advanced, working draft of a federal, private or foundation grant proposal. Specific aims of grants in revision are particularly appropriate. Must submit the RFP description.

5:30 p.m. Department of Ophthalmology Grand Rounds. Karen Hong, Stanford University. HC4 Conference Room, 6th Floor. Info: Lina Poyzner, (323) 442-6383,,

Wednesday, Sept. 28

Noon - 2 p.m. Office of Research Workshop. “Developing and Submitting a Successful Mission Agency Grant,” James Murday, PhD, associate director for physical sciences, Washington, D.C., Office of Research Advancement. CUB 329, University Park Campus. Info and RSVP: (213) 740-6709,,

Noon. The Saban Research Institute. “Research Seminar: From Biology to Prevention – A Translational Science Story about Type 2 Diabetes,” Thomas Buchanan, MD. Saban Research Building Auditorium, 4661 Sunset Blvd. Info: Ritu Gill, (323) 361-8715,,

11 a.m. USC Stem Cell Seminar. Maksim Plikus, PhD, University of California, Irvine. Broad CIRM Center First Floor Conference Room.

Media Mentions

On September 12, Raj Dasgupta, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine, was interviewed by KTLA about Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis. “It’s not as contagious as you think. It’s not contagious at all,” Dasgupta said.

On September 15, Andre Abreu, MD, assistant professor of clinical urology, was interviewed by KPCC-FM about research that suggested active surveillance was as effective for prostate cancer survival as treatment. Abreu discussed technological advances in prostate cancer surgery that have greatly lowered the risks of treatment.

On September 16, the Riverside Press-Enterprise quoted Maria Ochoa, associate professor of clinical dermatology, about the importance of early detection when treating leprosy. “Sometimes it gets missed because people believe it doesn’t exist anymore,” Ochoa said.

A September 16 story in the Los Angeles Times featured research from Jon-Patrick Allem, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, about the number of people who play Pokemon Go while driving. “Mobile phone calls or text messaging spontaneously occur and can be ignored while driving, but in the case of ‘Pokemon Go,’ drivers may be getting into their car with the explicit purpose to play,” Allem said. This research was also featured in City News Service, The Daily Mirror and Fox News San Diego.

A September 19 story in Cosmopolitan quoted Michelle Pietzak, MD, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, about the effect of celiac disease in infertility. “Some studies indicate that celiac disease may occur in as many as 4 to 8 percent of women with unexplained infertility,” Pietzak said. The story was also published in Good Housekeeping.

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