Centers and Programs

Research at the Keck School of Medicine attains a level of critical mass within its research centers and programs. Built on faculty excellence, innovation and collaboration, Keck’s research centers and programs draw upon the expertise of physicians, scientists, and engineers from across the school and the university, as well as local, national, and international affiliates.

The centers are housed within the academic departments, research institutes with departmental status, or the office of research advancement. Some have a physical presence while others are virtual centers. All are designed to leverage the full-spectrum of collegial opportunities and resources available across the schools of USC. All offer a lively intellectual environment that fosters creative, innovative approaches to research.

Alzheimer Disease Research Center (Memory and Aging)

The center provides participants with access to leading-edge studies of new medications, clinical trials and treatments that advance our knowledge of memory problems associated with aging. Over the past 30 years, USC physicians and researchers have made major contributions to our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular brain injury and memory problems.

Funding Source: NIH

Director: Helena Chui, MD

Atherosclerosis Research Unit

This research unit is recognized nationally for its research on all aspects of atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that leads to heart attacks and strokes. The unit is based within the Department of Medicine.

Funding Source: NIH, Private

Director: Howard Hodis, MD

Cancer Surveillance Program

This center compiles information on all new cancer cases — more than 30,000 a year — reported in Los Angeles County. This extensive cancer registry has led to major discoveries in cancer research. This program is based within the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and functions within the Department of Preventive Medicine.

Funding Source: NIH, State

Director: David Agus, MD

Center for Applied Molecular Medicine

This center comprises a multidisciplinary team of investigators dedicated to furthering the development and use of proteomic technologies to guide doctors in patient management decisions. The center is based within the Department of Medicine

Funding Source: Private

Director: David Agus, MD

USC Center for Body Computing

The USC Center for Body Computing (CBC) is a digital health innovation center that continues to partner with USC schools and institutes on multidisciplinary projects and research with private university sponsor to further the field of connected, wireless healthcare. Through innovative research and education, the CBC is working to create a new service model for health care delivery and patient, provider and caregiver engagement through the use of smart phone technology, wearable sensor and mobile apps. The CBC has become internationally recognized and a has launched national research studies, garnering attention from the creative boundary-pushing vision of offering borderless medical care and tailored medical content to patients at USC and beyond.

Funding Source: Private

Director: Leslie Saxon, MD

Center for Genetic Epidemiology

This new research center will continue to strengthen USC’s long-standing role as a major player in genome science. A focus of the Center will be the establishment of population-based resources as well as the development and application of genomic methods for understanding the genetic basis of disease. There will be a strong emphasis on research to define factors that may contribute to health disparities.

Funding Source: NIH, Private, Other Federal

Director: Chris Haiman, ScD

Center for Molecular Pathways and Drug Discovery

This unique center is focused on accelerating the pace of drug discovery and development of less toxic and more effective therapies for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The center is part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and is a joint center of USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital and Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, and is jointly administered by the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC.

Funding Source: NIH

Director: Michael Kahn, PhD and Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD

Childhood Obesity Research Center

The USC Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) is a collaborative effort between USC and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles that strives to maintain and further build our position as one of the nation’s leading research teams addressing childhood obesity. The center, under the direction of Dr. Michael I Goran, strives to understand childhood obesity and its related conditions, to examine its relationship to minority health, and to develop novel strategies for prevention and treatment.

Funding Source: NIH

Director: Michael Goran, PhD

Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research

This new Center serves as the focal point for pulmonary research. A major research theme is lung injury across the lifespan, including diseases of the newborn, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Center currently is recruiting new faculty members to advance state-of-the art research capabilities in basic and clinical pulmonary research.

Funding Source: NIH, Private

Director: Zea Borok, MD

Research Center for Liver Diseases

The key goal of the Research Center for Liver Diseases is the facilitation and fostering of interdisciplinary collaborative research, which leads to a better understanding of the pathobiology of diseases of the liver and digestive tract and the development of new treatments for these diseases.

Funding Source: NIH

Director: Neil Kaplowitz, MD

Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center and Children’s Environmental Health Center

This center studies the effects of the environment on human health concentrating on air quality and the multiethnic populations of California and the Pacific Rim. The center is based within the Department of Preventive Medicine.

Funding Source: NIH, Other Grants

Director: Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD

The Southern California Research Center for ALPD & Cirrhosis

This center is a collaborative effort of LA’s leading liver and pancreatic disease researchers to study how alcohol and other factors interact to leave these organs particularly vulnerable to disease. The center is based within the Department of Pathology. Funded in 1999 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Southern California Research Center for ALPD and Cirrhosis unifies 58 investigators from major academic institutions in Southern California to pursue a common mission of being a leader in research, training and outreach for the diseases.

Funding Source: NIH

Director: Hidekazu Tsukamoto, PhD

USC Neurorestoration Center

The USC Neurorestoration Center is a multi-institution collaboration for breakthrough discoveries that, for the first time, bring together neural engineering, neuroscience and neurorehabilitation to restore neurological function in the human brain. Driven by patient needs and further refined within our world-class clinical programs, strategies created by the center aim to restore an injured or diseased nervous system by developing new technologies that harness advances in basic neuroscience and neural engineering.

Funding Source: NIH, Private

Director: Charles Liu, MD