Prominent examples of such programmatic efforts include:

Large-Scale Clinical Trial Centers

  • Under the leadership of Howard N. Hodis, MD, the Atherosclerosis Research Unit focuses on in vivo assessment of atherosclerosis. Using cutting-edge noninvasive technology to assess changes in intimal thickness in major arterial vessels, this Unit is conducting studies designed to assess the benefits of a wide variety of therapeutic interventions for prevention and reversal of atherosclerosis.

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  • Under the direction of Fred R. Sattler, MD, the adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) has become one of the nation’s leading centers in carrying out NIH-sponsored AIDS clinical trials in adult populations.

  • The Keck Diabetes Prevention Initiative, directed by Anne Peters, MD, is a program designed to develop treatment programs for the epidemic of obesity and type II diabetes occurring in the medically underserved populations of Los Angeles. As part of this program, the NIH-sponsored LookAHEAD Study focuses on the benefits of weight loss and exercise in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in a select type 2 diabetes population located in East Los Angeles.

  • In recognition of the importance of translational research to the improvement of medical care and health, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, which provides grants to leading universities to provide resources to support clinical and translational research and training. Dr. Thomas Buchanan led a team of Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty members who competed successfully for a CTSA in 2010 and renewed funding in 2016, for a total of $98 million. The funds support the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute (SC CTSI), based at the Keck School and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which has partnerde with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and more than 60 health-oriented community organizations. The SC CTSI provides a broad range of services and support to promote clinical and community trials, develop new methods to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of clinical research, provide training in clinical and translational research, and disseminate research findings to improve clinical care and community health.

  • The USC Gestational Diabetes (USC GDM) Study Group, which has been operating for nearly 30 years, has been the home of one of the world’s leading programs on the causes, treatment and prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes mellitus in Hispanic Americans. In a series of four large studies involving more than 1,500 individuals who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the USC GDM Study Group worked out the risk factors and mechanisms for development of gestational and type 2 diabetes, as well as effective approaches to diabetes prevention. In related studies, the group identified a novel approach to the clinical care of women with gestational diabetes, using measurements of fetal growth by ultrasound to complement and in many cases supplant difficult and labor-intensive glucose self-monitoring as the primary approach to guide treatment. Today, the work of the USC GDM Study Group forms the basis for many components of clinical care of women with gestational diabetes.

Research Areas

  • The Cardiovascular Devices Program, led by Leslie Saxon, MD, is dedicated to the development of innovative uses of new implantable device technologies. Such new technologies will allow the introduction of major preventive and/or critical therapeutic measures at the earliest stages of disease development.

  • The Center for Molecular Pathways and Drug Discovery, focuses on accelerating the pace of drug discovery and the development of less toxic and more effective therapies for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, co-directs the center with Michael Kahn, PhD from the USC School of Pharmacy.

  • The Circulating Tumor Cell Research Center, founded by Amir Goldkorn, MD, is a state-of-the-art, multi-platform facility for the capture and analysis of peripheral blood circulating tumor cells.

  • The Diabetes and Obesity Research Center was established to investigate the origin, prevention and treatment of diabetes and associated conditions (including obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis). Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, shares the leadership role in developing this important multidisciplinary research program with Michael Goran, PhD, from the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences.

  • The Gehr Family Center for Implementation Science, established by David Goldstein, MD, and led by Michael Hochman, MD, creates innovative collaborations to develop and promote sustainable, efficient, clinical quality improvement strategies. Working with partners such as Los Angeles General Medical Center, the Center identities and integrates best practices into routine health care for patients.

  • The Gehr Family Center for Rare Blood Disorders, led by Casey O’Connell, MD, conducts translational research into blood diseases such as myelodysplastic syndromes, which can lead to leukemia and AML, the most common adult acute leukemia.

  • The Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research (HCPR), under the direction of Zea Borok, MD, strives to be a leader in lung biology and disease research. HCPR scientists interact with clinicians to translate their research findings into clinical applications.

  • The Lupus Center, led by William Stohl, PhD, MD, uses information gained by laboratory bench research to serve as the basis for the development of prototype treatment strategies for a wide variety of autoimmune diseases.

  • The Research Center for Cell Therapy, led by Preet Chaudhary, MD, PhD, will strengthen and expand the existing capabilities of cell based therapies by bringing together basic, translational and clinical investigators working on developing novel cell based therapies for the treatment of hard-to-treat diseases, such as immunodeficiency disorders, autoimmune disorders, genetic diseases and in-born errors of metabolism.

  • The NIH-sponsored Research Center for Liver Diseases and core laboratories (Molecular Biology, Cell Culture and Organelle), led by Neil K. Kaplowitz, MD, is one of only four such programs in the nation. In addition to basic and translational research programs in liver disease, this center provides a major institutional resource for multidisciplinary and interdepartmental investigations, educational seminars and start-up grant funding opportunities.

  • The USC Center for Body Computing, led by Leslie Saxon, MD, is dedicated to the development of innovative uses of new implantable device technologies. Such new technologies will allow the introduction of major preventive and/or critical therapeutic measures at the earliest stages of disease development.

  • The USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center, founded by Vito Campese, MD, and led by Kenneth Hallows, MD, PhD, is dedicated to the belief that collaboration among scientists is key to understanding and eliminating chronic kidney disease (CKD). The center focuses on the research of the mechanisms of hypertension, acute kidney injury, acid regulation and its role in CKD, polycystic kidney disease and metabolomics biomarkers, and kidney cancer.