Basic Science Departments

With more than $160 million in funding, basic science departments conduct research that leads to radical new understandings of the body and disease.

Our six basic science departments put a major emphasis on research into the fundamental understanding of biological systems and the biological roots of disease.

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Our Basic Science Departments

Over the years, Keck research has catalyzed broad changes in medical practice, advanced basic understandings in biomedicine and attracted international recognition and honors. Instrumental in advancing the school’s research initiatives, basic science departments explore the broad frontiers of medicine and biosciences in the pursuit to pinpoint the causes of disease, identify better methods of diagnosing and treating disease, develop strategies to prevent disease and promote health, and understand how environmental factors influence our health.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology prides itself on maintaining a broad-based approach to various aspects of biochemical and molecular biological research. Each year, the department receives more than $16 million in research funding. The department is known for its strong research, excellence in teaching and leadership in the scientific and academic community.

Department of Cell and Neurobiology

The Department of Cell and Neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine is one of the largest and most active basic science departments on the Health Sciences campus. Our interdisciplinary research mission spans two major institutes – the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. Beyond a major effort in basic and translational research focused on understanding the causes and cures of diseases and disorders, the department faculty members participate in major educational and training programs to develop the next generation of physicians and scientists. Department faculty direct and participate in preclinical courses for medical students that account for almost 40 percent of didactic teaching during the first two years of medical school.

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

The Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) faculty has diverse research interests, specializing in animal virology, microbial genetics, molecular and cellular immunology, cellular differentiation/aging, post-transcriptional regulation, and chemical carcinogenesis. Located on the Health Sciences campus in the Elaine Stevely Hoffman Medical Research Center and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, it is well equipped for research in microbial physiology and genetics, electron microscopy, virology, cellular and molecular biology, genetic toxicology and immunology.

Department of Physiology and Biophysics

The Department of Physiology and Biophysics plays a leading role in the research and teaching activities of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Our faculty have won numerous awards, both national and University-wide, in both of these areas, and they are regularly invited to present seminars and plenary lectures at universities and conferences throughout the US and overseas. Department faculty members serve on many national and international scientific committees, often in leadership roles.

Department of Preventive Medicine

The Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC has been a leader in its field since its founding in 1977 and has made many noteworthy contributions to the understanding of public health and disease etiology, treatment and prevention. These include pioneering research on the relationship between hormones and cancer, the ability of exercise to reduce breast cancer risk, demonstration of the impact of air pollution on childhood lung function development, advances in the etiology, treatment and prevention of pediatric obesity, as well as novel methodological research focusing on the interaction between genes and the environment.

Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Drawing on the new scientific knowledge of stem cells and the rapidly advancing field of regenerative medicine, the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine leads research and training in developmental and stem cell biology, human embryology, regenerative medicine and the translational and therapeutic aspects of stem cell technology. As home to one of the first graduate programs in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine in the United States, the department’s faculty and researchers will continue to revolutionize the understanding of human biology and chart the course for the medicine of the future — regenerative medicine.

Department of Translational Genomics

The Department of Translational Genomics and Institute of Translational Genomics at Keck Medicine of USC is focused on translating the molecular study of genes into individual treatment plans. The award-winning, collaborative team intends to redefine and further precision medicine to bring novel technologies and molecular insights to patients.