Research Infrastructure and Environment Keck Medicine of USC is

Research Infrastructure and Environment
Keck Medicine of USC is located on the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus, a
30.8 acre site, consisting of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the Keck Medical Center of USC.
The Keck Medical Center of USC includes the Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Norris Cancer
Hospital. The campus also includes the USC School of Pharmacy, the Center for Craniofacial Molecular
Biology (CCMB) and the Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy Division of the Herman Ostrow School
of Dentistry and the Doheny Eye Institute.
Directly adjacent is the brand new Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, a 600 bed teaching hospital
(replacement of old hospital). The medical school campus has several major research enterprises which
are mentioned here so as to emphasize the rich intellectual environment.
USC Norris Comprehensive
Cancer Center
Keck Hospital of USC
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute &
Broad Center
Figure 1. USC Health Sciences Campus
The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is an NIH supported Comprehensive Cancer Center with
a variety of Core facilities including transgenic animals, DNA sequencing, microarray/genomics and flow
cytometry cores described below.
Keck School of Medicine of USC hosts the centralized location of the Southern California Clinical
Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI).This is a significant NIH supported institute focused on
translational research and education.
The Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute (ZNI) is an integral part of a broader USC neuroscience initiative
promoting collaboration between researchers from diverse disciplines. Scientists at the Institute reach
across boundaries to embrace methods and techniques from other fields of study, identifying new
approaches to examine nervous system function so we may all better understand the underlying causes
of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC focuses on
embryonic stem cell biology, developmental mechanisms related to stem cell regulation, tissue
regeneration and repair, tissue stem cells, and chemical genomics applied to stem cell research. One
entire floor of this facility will be devoted to training, core laboratories, and the provision of space and
facilities for workers from outside the Center to develop pilot projects and undertake collaborations with
Center researchers. The Broad Center is now turning efforts to further development of regenerative
medicine in four therapeutic focus areas of excellence in translational and clinical medicine at the Keck
School. These areas of particular research strength at USC include ophthalmology, cardiovascular
medicine, hematology and oncology, and liver/gastrointestinal diseases.
USC has established the first dedicated USC Epigenome Center in the nation, occupying an entire floor
of the new Harlyne Norris Research Tower of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Center
is well-equipped and has outstanding bioinformatic capabilities and is a great resource for
multidisciplinary research, education and training in genomics, epigenomics, bioinformatics and
translational medicine. Peter Laird who pioneered the demonstration of a causal relationship between
DNA methylation and mouse tumorigenesis, and Michel Stallcup who was the first scientist to
demonstrate a causal link between histone modification and gene expression.
Cellular Analysis Cores
Bioreagents & Cell Culture Core Facility
This core facility supports cancer related research that requires in vitro experiments, provides reagents for
cell culture and prepares bioreagents that are produced by cells grown in the facility. The core grows
suspension cultures of hybridoma cells in large quantities and produces purified monoclonal antibodies
using a New Brunswick BioReactor, providing for substantial savings to the investigator. The core is in the
process of developing and evaluating lipofectin preparations for cell transfection at highly reduced costs.
Additional available services include the preparations of specialized serum products, LB medium, matrix
coated culture dishes, and AmpicillinR plates. Studies will be conducted to evaluate the feasibility of
producing recombinant proteins, cytokines and growth factors. This facility is housed within the Norris
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Flow Cytometry and Immune Monitoring Core
This core offers advice, technical support and equipment for performing flow cytometry and immune
monitoring. The facility is housed within the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The Non-Parenchymal Liver Cell Core
This core provides freshly isolated or cultured Kupffer, hepatic and sinusoidal endothelial cells (KC:
hepatic macrophages), hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and sinusoidal endothelial cells (SEC) from normal
rats or rat models of liver injury. This facility is housed within the department of pathology and managed
by the Southern California Research Center for ALPD & Cirrhosis.
Molecular Analysis Cores
CHLA Vector Core
The CHLA Vector Core, re-established in January 2010, provides assistance in the design and
construction viral vectors, as well as in the production of viral particles for gene-modified in vitro as well as
in vivo animal studies. The Vector Core also provides consulting services to help researchers identify their
gene transfer needs, determine the best way to produce gene-modified cells, and to assist in
experimental troubleshooting. The CHLA Vector Core is located at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles
campus at 4650 Sunset Blvd.
DNA Core Facility
This core provides DNA sequencing, oligonucleotide synthesis, protein sequencing and peptide synthesis
services to researchers at USC and other institutions. The facility is housed within the Norris
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Genomics Core Facility
This core performs high throughput analyses of genetic (polymorphism/mutation) and epigenetic
variations (DNA methylation) that underlie predisposition and progression to cancer. The facility is housed
within the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Proteomics Core Facility
Established in 2008, this core facility provides services associated with the technologies of high-sensitivity
and high-resolution mass spectrometry for protein and peptide analysis. The facility is housed in
department of molecular microbiology & immunology space and is administered by the department of
Transgenic/Knockout Mouse Core Facility
This facility was established in 1993 to provide high-quality embryo and stem cell manipulation,
microinjection and related services to the USC community, as well as outside researchers. The core
handles the production of transgenics, gene targeting and the production of knockouts, construction of
targeting vector design, preparation of DNA for injection and in vitro fertilization, re-derivation, as well as
USC Epigenome Center
USC has established the first dedicated Epigenome Center in the nation, occupying an entire floor of the
newly constructed Harlyne Norris Research Tower of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
This 8,500-square-foot facility encompasses a state-of-the-art laboratory (4,800 square feet) and
expansive dedicated bioinformatics facilities, including office space for 30 staff programmers,
computational biologists, statisticians, and bioinformatics faculty. The Epigenome Center currently has
one operational Illumina Genome Analyzer, a second Genome Analyzer version 2 with paired-end read
capability on order, and Univesity funds dedicated for the establishment of the Illumina BeadLab, which
will be moved to the Center.
Imaging Facilities
Cell and Tissue Imaging Core Facility
The primary function of this core facility is to provide assistance and training in the operation of a wide
variety of instrumentation for cell and tissue imaging. The core facility also offers support for specimen
preparation, thin sectioning techniques, embedding procedures, cryosectioning techniques, photography,
digital photomicroscopy and photomicrography and computer aided graphics. This facility is housed within
the Department of Ophthalmology and the Doheny Eye Institute and is co-administered by the Norris
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Molecular Imaging Center
The USC Molecular Imaging Center offers accessibility to a wide variety of state-of-the-art imaging
instrumentation. The core’s mission is to increase awareness and accessibility for all scientists, as well as
assist investigators with imaging research projects. This facility is administered by the department of
Data Analysis & Management
Bioinformatics Services
The Norris Medical Library provides bioinformatics support services for USC investigators. Services range
from consultation to workshops to support for software licenses, to email alerts.
Division of Bioinformatics
The Division of Bioinformatics was recently formed to address the increasingly critical role of genomics
data in biomedical research. Division researchers are involved in development of new bioinformatics
methodologies, as well as in collaborative research projects with other faculty inside and outside of USC.
The Biostatistics Core Services
This resource provides statistical support to clinical, basic science and cancer cause and prevention
investigators. This support may range from simple advice, to participating in the design of the research
project, to carrying out aspects of the data management and statistical analysis of a project. This
resource is housed within the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Statistical Consultation & Research Center
The Statistical Consultation and Research Center (SCRC) is an Organized Research Unit at the
University of Southern California which integrates statistical, epidemiological and computing resources
and offers them to professionals conducting clinical, biomedical and translational research. The SCRC
consists of a team of statisticians, epidemiologists, database developers, programmers, project
coordinators and data managers that provides an optimal structure to assist both the public and private
sectors in carrying out clinical and prevention trials, observational and retrospective studies, crosssectional and longitudinal surveys and translational research. Members of the SCRC are co- investigators
on a range of studies in atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, neuroscience, ophthalmology, stroke
rehabilitation interventions, lifestyle redesign interventions and alternative medicine.
Human Studies Support
Clinical Investigations Support Office
This office provides centralized administration for protocol development, review, prioritization, regulatory
compliance, study conduct and monitoring, and quality assurance. It is comprised of a centralized
Protocol Administration Unit and a Research Nursing/Data Management Unit. The resource is housed
within the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Clinical Trials Unit
The Los Angeles Basin Clinical Translational Science Institute (LAB CTSI) Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)
provides research services and support for a variety of clinical investigations – from diabetes to seizure
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