Monthly Update – May 2023

Congratulations to our awardees! We are happy to announce the awardees for the Office of Research & Innovation (OORI) President’s Sustainability Initiative Award (PSIA) program. We received 25 proposal applications for which six were awarded: Professors William Berelson (Dornsife) and Kelly Sanders (Viterbi): A network of air quality sensors to serve LA communities impacted by point source emissions and help develop neighborhood-scale insight into CO2 and pollutant inputs and sinks; Professors Lida Chatzi, Max Aung, Lucy Golden (Keck) and Adam Smith (Viterbi): PFAS ACT: Addressing the PFAS drinking water crisis in Southern California; Professors Megan Fieser and Barry Thompson (Dornsife): Catalytic upcycling of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to electroactive polymers; Professors Andrew Gracey and Sergey Nuzhdin (Dornsife): Establishing healthy coastal ecosystems via captive breeding of sunflower sea stars; Professors Matthew Kahn, Paulina Oliva, and Robert Metcalfe (Dornsife): The economics of climate change mitigation and adaptation; Professors Clay Wang (Pharmacy) and Travis Williams (Dornsife): Converting plastics into high values chemical using knowledge from rules of life.

Michelson & Immunology: The Michelson Philanthropies & Science Prize for Immunology honors the bold, trailblazing, and transformative research of in human immunology with trans-disease applications to accelerate vaccine and immunotherapeutic discovery. Write up your innovative research by October 1 and you can win $30,000 as well as be published in Science Magazine! Learn more.

Open Science: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosts public webinars for early researchers as a part of their Year of Open Science campaign. Here is a link to their upcoming events:

Mentoring and Training Workshops: For Fall 2023: The Center for Excellence in Research welcomes faculty and staff to lead a workshop via Zoom on research-related topics such as collaboration, funding, data management, self-promotion, professional development, resources/methods, grant writing, etc. Please submit a brief proposal by July 14, 2023.

STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION: On May 18th, the Office of Research and Innovation and the Stevens Center proudly hosted a roundtable discussion with Techstars and the Alliance for SoCal Innovation. The invite-only event convened USC leadership and SoCal’s digital transformation thought leaders. After a guided tour of the Baum Family Maker Space, Dr. Ishwar K. Puri welcomed roundtable participants including Dean Yannis Yortsos of Viterbi, Dean Amber Miller of Dornsife, and Dr. Skip Rizzo of ICT during an insightful discussion that touched on higher education’s role in innovation and industry, and the university’s research goals. The conversations continued into a networking sunset dinner at the SkyDeck at the USC Tower and featured interactive demos by the ICT team. By convening these super connectors, USC has further planted its flag in the thriving SoCal ecosystem of innovators and change makers. Andy Wilson, Executive Director for the Alliance for SoCal Innovation, recapped the day and key takeaways in his recent blog.

In early May, USC Stevens Center announced an exclusive global IP licensing agreement with NeOnc Technologies. This transaction was considered the largest IP transfer for the commercialization of chemotherapies related to brain and CNS diseases. NeOnc’s CEO, Dr. Thomas Chen, has led this biotechnology company and oversaw two decades of advanced research and development. He also serves as a professor and director of Surgical Neuro-Oncology at Keck School of Medicine. Learn more about this licensing agreement.

In late April, the Mark and Semira Moshayedi Innovation Award competition took place, which is an annual event hosted by the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Stevens Center Technology Licensing Manager, Michael Nornberg, attended and served on the esteemed judging panel, alongside Dr. Marissa Marchioni of the Chan Division, Dr. Jill Kickull of the Marshall School of Business, and Chan Adjunct Faculty, Dr. Chris Laine. The winner, Bethany A. Gruskin, and her innovative invention, “Practice Preemie,” was announced during commencement and recognized for strong potential to advance the quality of OS/OT, to be in a commercial landscape, and to have a societal impact!

HRPP: On May 3, 2023, Los Angeles County Medical Center (LAC+USC) announced that it had changed its name to Los Angeles General Medical Center. Therefore, effective immediately, all research involving people that is submitted to the USC IRBs involving Los Angeles General medical Center must use the correct name in the protocol, consents, and recruiting materials. Any new submission that does not include the correct name will be returned without review. Ongoing studies will be expected to update consent and recruiting language through the amendment process. For further information, please see the HRPP Memo dated May 31, 2023. Make sure you have subscribed to the HRPP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Human Research (#dei-in-hsr) Slack channel where you will find important educational opportunities and tools to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in research involving people. And remember, we are here to help if you have questions or concerns (

CONTRACTS & GRANTS: The Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG) would like to remind Principal Investigators and Research Administrators of the broad training opportunities offered to enhance the overall research efforts at USC. DCG offers an online Certificate in Research Administration (free to all USC faculty and staff) that ensures a standard level of expertise among those who support the research endeavor at the university. In addition, DCG also offers customized Grants Management Training for both faculty and staff as well as system-specific training with regard to proposal submission. Our training staff is available to answer more immediate questions through our Slack Channel and through our digital Office Hours (Wednesdays from 9am-10am PST).

DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL RESOURCES: The Spring DAR Insider is out and ready as an enjoyable read. You can also check it out here. Highlights include information on AAALAC, new hires, and important lab animal science updates. 

Dr. Lynlee Stevey-Rindenow will be starting as Clinical Veterinarian in July. After a rigorous search and lengthy interview process, she has been found to be the most qualified to provide the highest standards of care to all laboratory animals at USC. 

To meet the cost of operations in the animal facilities, per diem rates will be increasing 11.6% compared to last fiscal year. Letters and phone calls to each research dean have been sent out in March, communicating this change with space recharge amounts and an Istar message will be sent out to all investigators this month, notifying them that this change will go into effect on 7/1/23.  

DAR is working on exciting improvements to develop our staff in customer focus and looking into software that communicates when care has been provided to the housed animals. We will keep you informed and gain your feedback before implementation.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY: EH&S and its partners have been busy preparing programs that promote safety on the USC campus. We appreciate your continued efforts across the board and offer the following helpful information.

First, efforts to distribute complimentary nitrile gloves to all PIs who requested them are underway. Right now, a distribution event is planned for May 31, 2023, at HSC (SBA Parking Lot) and on June 7 at UPC(details to follow).

As a reminder, lab spaces and equipment are required to be decommissioned prior to leaving the University, relocating, or renovating a laboratory. Labs must be safely prepared prior to relocation or close-out and the responsible principal investigators (PIs) must ensure safe conditions during the process. EH&S has updated its guidance to assist with the process –

Additionally, we are pleased to announce the release of our latest YouTube video, How to Use the Emergency Eyewash and Safety Shower in a Lab at USC. We encourage all those who enter a lab to be familiar with this process and to not hesitate to use this equipment in the event of an incident. By acting quickly, eye injuries and chemical burns can be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Finally, as temperatures begin to rise for summer, so does the risk for heat illness. According to OSHA, thousands of individuals are affected by heat-related illnesses each year. Fortunately for our Trojan Family, heat-related issues are preventable if you take appropriate precautions. Did you know that Heat Illness can also affect those who work indoors? Regardless of whether you work indoors or out, you will benefit from EH&S’ new Heat Illness Prevention Training. For more information, visit the Heat Illness webpage. Thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of the USC community. Questions?Contact EHS at