Department of Physiology and Biophysics
About the Department
The Department of Physiology and Biophysics plays a leading role in the research and teaching activities of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Department faculty members have won numerous awards, both national and University-wide, in both physiology and biophysics, 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.
Study: A glitch in ‘gatekeeper cells’ slowly suffocates the brainAbnormality with special cells that wrap around blood vessels in the brain leads to neuron deterioration, possibly affecting the development of Alzheimer’s disease, a USC-led study reveals. “Gatekeeper cells” called pericytes surround blood vessels, contracting and dilating to control blood flow to active parts of the brain. “Pericyte degeneration may be ground zero for neurodegenerative