Monthly Update – August 2023

Dear Colleagues, 

At the beginning of the new school year, it is again time for me to serenade you and your research teams. Through collaboration and innovative work, you make discoveries and develop solutions across all our campuses every day. You enable USC to be a preeminent research institution and help realize President Folt’s Moonshots. 

This month’s update highlights how the Office of Research and Innovation supports your work and our institution. Thank you for reading it and for all you do. 

With gratitude, Ishwar 

FACULTY ENGAGEMENT: Congratulations to our awardees! We are happy to announce the awardees for the 2023 USC Research and Innovation (R&I) Collaborative Research and Planning Award: Professors Qifa Zhou (Viterbi) and Yingxiao Wang (Viterbi): Focused Ultrasound (FUS) Stimulation of Cells/Tissues/Animals to Diagnose and Treat Human Disease; Professors Jeffrey Klausner (Keck) and Jeiran Choupan (Keck): Resubmission of an NIH P01 Program Proposal on Long Neuro-COVID-19; Professors Howard Hu (Keck) and Neeraj Sood (Sol Price): Building a Faculty Team and Platform for Research on Health and Health Policy that Improves Population Health in a Low Resource Setting in India Known for Innovation: The State of Meghalaya; Professors Andrew Gracey (Dornsife), Rusty Lansford (Dornsife), Stephan Hass (Viterbi), Robin Craig (Gould) and Diane Kim (Dornsife): Global Center for Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal; Professors Urbashi Mitra (Viterbi), Neeraj Sood (Sol Price), Remo Rohs (Dornsife), Feifei Qian (Viterbi), Shri Narayanan (Viterbi) and Bistra Dilkina (Viterbi): Transdisciplinary Innovation in Predictive Science for Emerging Infectious Disease and Spillover; Professors Maral Mousavi (Viterbi), Evelyn Mitchell (Keck), Meisam Razaviyayn (Viterbi), Patty Pinanong (Keck), Hossein Hashemi (Viterbi) and Hangbo Zhoa (Viterbi): Accessible Tools for Redesigning Postpartum Care. 

Congratulations to Professor Mark Humayun, who was recently awarded a $12.4M grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for research, under development by USC researchers, of a stem cell patch to treat advanced dry age-related macular degeneration, which can cause blindness. USC and the USC Research and Innovation office provided $2M in funds towards the project; $7M in additional support was provided by the Marcus Foundation. The patch will soon be tested in a phase 2b clinical trial. Additional details can be found here.  

USC launches first-of-a-kind funding program: The USC internal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Planning Award aims to establish and bolster USC’s ongoing technology transfer and commercialization efforts and support faculty members in their efforts to obtain federally funded grants and pursue an entrepreneurial path. In 2023, the program awarded $1.98M in grants to 6 awardees. Additional details on the SBIR/STTR award can be found here

Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship: The USC Associates Awards are the highest honors the university can bestow on its members for their distinguished achievements. Please submit your nominations by September 25th. For program and nomination information, click here

Research and Scholarship Training Workshops: Our fall 2023 workshops are now open for registration on our website! In September, JoAnne Goodnight — former SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator for the NIH — will host a series on the SBIR and STTR programs. Goodnight will provide attendees with a general overview, cover the requisite sections of the grant application and review process, and help you write your Specific Aims and Commercialization Plan. If you’d like to be updated about upcoming Center for Excellence in Research workshops, please join our mailing list. Do you have an idea for a workshop? We’d love to hear from you

FEDERAL LANDSCAPE UPDATES: The Office of Management and Budget has outlined the White House’s priorities for the FY25 research and development areas in the President’s budget. Priorities include advance trustworthy artificial intelligence technology, global security and stability, climate crisis, health, economic competitiveness, and economic competitiveness. Additional details are available here. 

DEPARTMENT OF CONTRACTS & GRANTS: The Department of Contracts and Grants is pleased to announce some staffing updates. We would like to welcome Nicole Pasini to the DCG Team. Nicole will be the new Senior Officer for the HSC campus and brings strong skills in developing proposals and reviewing and managing grants. We would also like to announce the addition of a Principal Officer position who will serve to support all DCG teams and will be able to step in to handle and expedite complex negotiations and proposals as well as assist with individualized training and support needs of our schools, departments, and faculty. Dragana Davidovic will officially assume this new role October 1st.  

In addition, the Roles and Responsibilities Matrix posted on the DCG website has been updated. The matrix is an easy-to-follow guide for faculty and staff when trying to find the responsible department/unit to assist with different questions or issues that may arise when securing and managing research funding from extramural sponsors. This updated guide provides additional information, updated department names, and updated system references to better assist faculty and staff. 

STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION: In mid-August, Interim Director Steve Moldin and Senior Technology Licensing Manager Bonnie Phan Wolfe hosted IntelliMicro Medical Co.’s Chairman of the Board, Xiang Zhen Fei, and Director of Administration at Golden Eye Bionics, Kate Miao, at the USC Stevens Center office. IntelliMicro Medical focuses primarily on R&D and the production of neuromodulation simulators and owns Golden Eye Bionics, which has a license to USC IP including a joint one with Caltech. The two companies and the Stevens Center discussed future collaborations involving retinal implant technologies as well as the commercialization of medical devices in the current portfolio. They were impressed with the innovative technologies at USC! 

HRPP: As the 2023 academic year is starting, the HRPP has reorganized our website to make it easier to navigate. We have also added new resources for student researchers on our Student Researchers page. This page can be accessed through the Research tab or through the Getting Started tab in the banner of our website. On the Student Researchers page, students will find tools to help them submit exempt studies using interviews, focus groups, and/or secondary research. The tools include new videos and documents that will guide them through the iStar submission process. Faculty Advisor resources are also available on this page as are guidelines for conducting “research” as part of a class assignment.  

It is now a requirement that any new social behavioral or secondary research study use the new simplified Social Behavioral/Secondary Research protocol template. In addition to these updates, the Coded Specimen/Data application has been removed from iStar. When submitting a secondary research application, use the Research Protocol or Study on Human Subjects response to item 1.1 and the appropriate type of review in item 5.1.  

The IRB wait time for exempt and expedited studies to be assigned for review is down to 2 weeks. We expect it to tick up as we enter the second half of the semester so, please plan accordingly. As always, please reach out if you have questions ( 

DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL RESOURCES: Our AAALAC International Site Visit date will be finalized soon for this fall. You may notice improvements and preventive maintenance occurring in the animal facility. If you bring research animals to the lab for experimental purposes, we will be reaching out to you to schedule a conversation with the site visitors. Please prepare by talking with your lab staff about animal use protocols and reach out to a DAR vet or Animal Research Integrity Specialist if training is needed or clarity on animal care and use can be provided. 

We are improving the quality of our services. DAR has acquired new software that went live on 8/1/23 that will internally allow us to monitor and track the cleaning and maintenance of animal rooms. No longer will paper forms be used to track the care services, but rather an electronic version will be used that can be accessed by research staff and supervisors of the facilities. Through the utilization of this software, you will be able to check on the care of your animals and receive communications, if desired, about their care and health. This is an amazing upgrade of our animal care program. Training opportunities will be advertised in the animal facility this fall for access to this software. 

For all other updates including polies, procedures, and resources, please see 

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY: EH&S would like to extend a warm welcome to new PIs at USC, some of which attended the Navigating Research at USC virtual event on August 18. As a reminder, EH&S recently updated its PI onboarding process to help get labs set up safely and efficiently. 

Also, implementation of Risk and Safety Solutions (RSS), USC’s new laboratory data management system, continues to take place in lab spaces. EH&S recently began chemical inventory verification for early adopters at the UPC campus while inventory specialists make their way around labs at HSC to barcode and set up initial inventories in the system. Additionally in RSS, inspections using the Inspect module continue to ramp up. Notably, Radiation Safety began conducting their inspections at the beginning of July. 

If you have any questions about any of these items, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at   

Monthly updates are archived here