March 9, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Katelyn Gostic’s talk, "Rational risk assessment of emerging influenza viruses with pandemic potential."
Of the many known subtypes of influenza A virus, only three have circulated in humans within the past hundred years (H1N1, H2N2 and H3N2). Meanwhile, a greater diversity of influenza viruses has circulated in animals. Spillover of these novel, zoonotic (animal-origin) viruses into humans persistently threatens to spark the next influenza pandemic. Two key goals of influenza pandemic risk assessment are to identify which zoonotic influenza subtypes pose the greatest emergence risk, and to determine which parts of the human population will be most vulnerable when the next pandemic strikes. To address these questions, my work blends mathematical and statistical models with data to combine ideas from ecology, epidemiology and virology. 
This approach has helped...
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March 9, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Joseph Heras’ talk, "Genome meets phenome: identifying loci for complex adaptive traits in Pacific marine fishes."

Tuesday, March 21st
BioScience 113
12:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served!

February 23, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Troy Magney’s talk, "Can we see plant photosynthesis from space? Insights across leaf, tower, airborne, and satellite scales."


Tuesday, February 28th
BioScience 113
12:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served!

Troy Magney is a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. He completed his Ph.D. in the Geospatial Laboratory for Environmental Dynamics at the University of Idaho in 2015. He is interested in designing, testing, and deploying instrumentation that will enable improved monitoring of biosphere-atmosphere interactions in space and time. To accomplish this, he collects remote sensing and field data across a range of scales – from the leaf chloroplast, to canopy observation towers, to aircraft sensors, and earth-observing satellites.

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February 16, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Chris Wheeler’s talk, "Age-related killer T cells in brain malignancy, degeneration, and development."

Abnormal expansion of memory (killer) T cells is among the earliest physiological manifestations of aging. While this is known to impair pathogen susceptibility in the elderly, its impact on non-infectious diseases is less clear. This is particularly true of age-related neurological disorders. Initially focusing on brain tumors, we identified special molecular properties of age-sensitive killer T cells related to patient survival and immunotherapy success. Remarkably, reduction of these cells in young animals unmasked pathology similar to autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity, depending on sex, revealing a probable neurodevelopmental role. By contrast, inducing age-related expansion of killer T cells altered their molecular and functional properties, and ultimately promoted neurodegeneration...
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February 10, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Gage Crump’s talk, "Using Zebrafish to Model Diseases of the Human Face and Skull."

Department of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine 
Keck School of Medicine, USC
Using Zebrafish to Model Diseases of the Human Face and Skull
Tuesday, February 14th
BioScience 113
12:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served!
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February 2, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Susan Piacenza’s talk, "Fathoming Sea Turtles: How to Improve Population Assessments of Unstable Populations."

Green sea turtles have endangered and threatened populations globally, but several nesting beaches have shown substantial increases in the number of nests or nesting females. However, population monitoring must be accurate and reliable to classify population status correctly. Sea turtle biologists commonly use nesting beach surveys as a population index for assessment because nesting turtles are easily accessed and quantified. Yet, this is problematic because process and observation errors, compounded by delayed maturity, obscure the relationship between trends on the nesting beach and the population as a whole. I present an approach that addresses temporal and individual-level variability, uncertainty, and observation errors to improve the accuracy of population assessments for sea...
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January 25, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Sergio Avila’s talk, "From fur to fuzz: protecting northern jaguars while studying monarch butterflies along the US-Mexico borderla

The US-Mexico borderlands boast a great diversity of life, making it a hotspot of biodiversity in North America. The region mixes temperate and tropical species, resident and migratory, large and small, adapted to life in a biologically connected, yet politically divided ecosystem. In this talk, Sergio Avila will share personal experiences and stories from his time studying wildlife species, from jaguars and monarch butterflies, and the region they call home, from the Sonoran Desert to the Sky Islands and the Sierra Madre
Sergio Avila-Villegas has found his niche as a bridge between cultures, languages and approaches to the conservation of biodiversity in the US-Mexico border. As a Conservation Scientist with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Avila leads...
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January 19, 2017

The Spring 2017 Biology Seminar Series commences with David W. Scott's talk, "Driving CARs to BARs: The road to engineered human antigen-specific regulatory and cytotoxic T cells."

The specificity of the immune system is powerful and has been harnessed in a novel therapy for cancer, called CARs (for Chimeric Antigen Receptors).  Our lab has applied this approach to create regulatory police CARs that stop harmful immune responses in autoimmunity and hemophilia, and we have now driven them to BARs.

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November 22, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series concludes with Dr. Jamie Voyles’ talk: How does it end? Shifts in the infectious disease chytridiomycosis and the fate of frogs.

The emergence of infectious disease rarely ends in the complete extinction of host species. Frequently, the level of virulence in a severe disease system shifts such that hosts and pathogens can persist in a shared environment. However, the mechanistic underpinnings of these transitions are not well understood. The lethal fungal disease known as amphibian chytridiomyocosis provides a compelling system to investigate such shifts in infectious disease dynamics. The pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatids (commonly called "Bd"), is renown for its ability spread rapidly into amphibian communities and cause extremely high levels of mortality in many different host species. However, some host species have survived initial...

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October 24, 2016

The Fall 2016 Biology Seminar Series continues with Sharon Stranford’s talk: The MAIDS model system: IL-10 and the role of immunosuppression in susceptibility to immunodeficiency

Sharon Stranford studies factors that influence the development of acquired immune deficiency. She and the undergraduate students who work in her research lab employ a mouse model of AIDS (MAIDS) in which some strains of mice develop immune deficiency following exposure to Murine Leukemia Virus (MuLV). This allows them to compare the early immune response patterns of MAIDS-susceptible and MAIDS-resistant mice for clues to immune pathways that bias towards resolution versus immunodeficiency. This is done using a combination of techniques, including comparative gene expression, flow cytometric analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbant assays (ELISAs) and fluorescence microscopy. 



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