University of Southern California


2014 Collaboration Fund Projects

Neuroplasticity and Repair in Degenerative Disorders

The adult brain possesses a tremendous capacity for change in response to its environment through processes termed experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Recently this has been demonstrated to occur in neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disease as well as traumatic brain injury. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of neuroplasticity in the aging and diseased brain could provide a new innovative direction and novel insights towards the identification of new therapeutic targets for treating neurological disorders. This collaboration seeks to foster collaborative research among investigators interested in neuroplasticity. The goals of this initiative are to better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders, and to carryout translational studies that include both applications of basic research findings to the clinic, as well as using clinical observations to better design studies within the lab.

Michael Jakowec, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Neurology
Giselle Petzinger, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Neurology
John Walsh, Davis School of Gerontology, Bio-Gerontology/Striatal Synaptic Research
Beth Fisher, Ostrow School of Dentistry, Department of Biokinesiology

Institute for Integrative Health Collaborative Research Group

In the past 3 years, there has been a 20% increase in the number of academic institutions (from 51 to 62; USC, represented by the IIH, was #51) belonging to the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (the “Consortium”). The increasing science of mind-body medicine includes an explosion in the number of peer-reviewed publications showing the effectiveness and the neuroscience of mindfulness practices on multiple health conditions. The fact that therapies and practices previously considered “alternative” by conventional medicine has now undergone a paradigm shift is emphasized by the recent change in name of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The USC-Institute for Integrative Health is thus fully aligned with this national trend in the philosophy, science, and practice of integrative health. The impact of achieving the specific aims identified below would propel USC into a national research leadership role in the rapidly growing field of integrative health.

Marc Weigensberg, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Pediatrics/County Hospital
Geaorge Salem, Ostrow School of Dentistry
Charles Kaplan, School of Social Work