Shared research core facilities and resources provide for centralized support of technologies essential to modern biomedical research, offering a wide variety of instrumentation, services, and expertise. Here is a listing of all Keck School of Medicine core facilities.

Department of Animal Resources

The Department of Animal Resources and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee assist faculty in preparing proposals and carrying out animal-based research and teaching activities at USC. The department offers training in animal care and handling and services including, clinical, surgical, diagnostic laboratory, ordering drugs and supplies, transfers, and rodent euthanasia.

Core Director: Donald Casebolt

Core Contact: Donald Casebolt,

The Integrative Liver Cell Core

The Integrative Liver Cell Core (ILLC) strives to serve the scientific community of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and cirrhosis via specialized services of isolation of 6 different liver cell types (hepatocytes, HC; hepatic macrophages, HM; hepatic stellate cells, HSC; liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, LSEC; liver mesothelial cells, MC; and CD133+ liver progenitor cells) from normal rodents and rodent models of ALD and liver fibrosis. In addition to the routine and customized cell isolation services, ILCC also have a Cell Bank Program, which includes a collection of small aliquots of isolated cells or RNA from normal and diseased rodent livers for nominal fees, ideal for pilot analysis.

Core Director: Hide Tsukamoto

Core Contact: Felicia Owusu,
Ellyn Deng,

Animal Core

The Animal Core aims to catalyze research on in vivo genetic analysis and synergism between alcohol and risk factors for the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver and pancreatic diseases (ALPD). The prime feature of the Core is its ability to provide different versions of the mouse intragastric (iG) and ad lib ethanol feeding models which produce clinically relevant pathologic spectra of ALPD resulting from alcohol and second or multiple hits commonly associated with ALPD patients.

Core Director: Hide Tsukamoto

Core Contact: Felicia Owusu,
Ellyn Deng,

Genome Modification Facility

The Genome Modification Facility produces transgenic and knockout mice and rats, and increases the use of mouse and rat technology through education and consultation to the scientific research community. The facility also offers CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in mice.

Core Director: Andy McMahon

Core Contact: Nancy Wu,

Translational Research in Vivo Core

The Translational Research In Vivo Core Facility is a center dedicated to state-of-the-art research through offering multidisciplinary translational research to test novel medical devices and therapies. The Translational Research in Vivo Core offers unique access to specialized surgical microscopes and general anesthesia equipment, as well as histology services.

Core Director: Mark Humayun

Core Contact: Doris Lee,
Rachel Spencer,

The Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute (DORI) Metabolic Assay Core

The Metabolic Assay Core offers solutions for measurement of hormones, cytokines, lipids and carbohydrates in human and animal biologic fluids, using modern instrumentation run by experienced assay technician(s) in a reliable, quality-controlled environment. Our equipment includes an ELISA plate reader, YSI glucose analyzer, and Luminex technology.

Core Director: Joyce Richey

Core Contact: Lilit Baronikian,

Cancer Center PharmacoAnalytical Core

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center PharmacoAnalytical Core Facility was established to serve the USC community, more specifically clinicians and scientist who are interested in translational science. Using precise and sensitive instrumentation, the Core develops, validates and performs qualitative and quantitative drug assays and their metabolites in various biological matrices. In addition, the analytical laboratory is developing insights to factors that may influence drug absorption, distribution, and metabolism, which may lead to improved clinical outcomes. This can translate into elimination of the cancer while minimizing the adverse effects that has been associated with cancer therapy. Other supportive roles of this laboratory include developing insights into potential pharmacological interaction(s) between the various components of a chemotherapeutic regimen.

Core Director: Stan G. Louie

Core Contact: Al Barrientos,

Immune Monitoring Core

The Immune Monitoring Core offers advice, technical support and equipment for all Immune Monitoring needs. The services include apheresis and blood/serum processing, ELISPOT assay, Tetramer analysis, flow cytometry, cytokine measurements, lymphocyte functional assays, and molecular assays.

Core Director: Martin Kast

Core Contact: Diane da Silva,,

Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories – The Hastings Foundation & Wright Foundation Laboratories

The Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories Hastings Foundation and Wright Foundation Laboratories are a university-wide state-of-the-art facility located on the USC Health Sciences Campus. The laboratories serve basic and clinical scientists seeking to study emerging infectious diseases and ongoing public health agents in the fields of molecular biology, pathology, immunology and marine biology.

Core Director: Lucio Comai

Core Contact: Jill Henley,

Chang Stem Cell Engineering Core

By combining the power of genome editing and stem cell technology, the Chang Stem Cell Engineering Facility provides a versatile and efficient platform to create genetically modified human embryonic stem cell (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines for investigators from USC and beyond. The services include supply of human ESC lines and human ESC culture media, human iPSC derivation and characterization, and generation of genome edited human ESC and iPSC lines.

Core Director: Qilong Ying

Core Contact: Qilong Ying,

Circulating Tumor Cell / Liquid Biopsy Research Core

The USC Norris CTC (Circulating Tumor Cell) / Liquid Biopsy Research Core is a state-of-the-art, multi-platform facility for the capture and analysis of peripheral blood CTCs. The Core employs a variety of technologies that enrich CTCs and matche plasma for enumeration or molecular characterization.

Core Director: Amir Goldkorn

Core Contact: Gareth Morrison,

The Research Center for Liver Disease Cell Separation and Culture (CSC) Core

The combined Cell Separation and Culture Core provides two major types of services: 1) cell separation to allow functional analysis of different cell types; and 2) isolation and culture of primary hepatocytes from normal and diseased rodents. Some of the additional services they provide include: 1) 4-8 parameter flow cytometric analyses by BD FACSCalibur and BD FACSVerse cell analyzers; 2) Positive or negative cell separation by Miltenyi AutoMACS Pro instrument. This Core is only open to the Research Center for Liver Disease members.

Core Director: Bangyan Stiles and Zhang-Xu Liu

Core Contact: Bangyan Stiles,

Bioinformatics Service

The Norris Medical Library Bioinformatics Service provides consulting services and training on the effective application of bioinformatics tools for specific research problems, such as visualizing, analyzing, manipulating and/or interpreting molecular data. They also engage in collaborative bioinformatics data analysis and provides grant application support for faculty members. They also provide workshops related to the proper selection and use of bioinformatics resources and databases.

Core Director: Yibu Chen

Core Contact: Yibu Chen,

Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) Core

Through training and direct consultation, the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design group provides high quality, easy-to-access biostatistics service and guidance to investigator-initiated clinical studies and trials from concept to close-out.

Core Director: Wendy Mack

Core Contact: Wendy Mack,

Clinical Research Informatics Core

The Clinical Research Informatics group provides expertise in data integration, data sharing, and data security to help drive the integration of clinical care and clinical research. Through the use of research applications such as i2b2, TriNetX and REDCap, CRI facilitates compliant access to EHR data, both identified and de-identified, from Keck and Los Angeles County. They can also provide regional patient data access through the Los Angeles Data Resource (LADR) as well as national patient data via Cerner Health Fact, pSCANNER and PCOrnet.

Core Director: Neil Bahroos

Core Contact: Neil Bahroos,

Data Science Core

The mission of the Data Science Core (DSC) of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USC Norris) is to provide integrated state-of-the-art biostatistics and informatics support to USC Norris investigators working on all aspects of cancer research from basic science to translational and clinical studies, and cancer etiology to cancer control. The Data Science Core members work with USC Norris investigators on the planning, design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of cancer research studies. Core members also play a key role in clinical trials protocol review and study monitoring at USC Norris.

Core Director: Ming Li

Core Contact: Ming Li,

Neuroimaging and Informatics Computing Center (NICC)

The USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (INI) data center, which currently stores more than 4,800 terabytes of information, is one of the world’s largest archives of neuroimaging data. The facility boasts cutting-edge networking, storage and computational capabilities to ensure data is secure yet easy for researchers to access and share. In order to guarantee reliable data access and reasonable download speeds, the institute also maintains a top-of-the-line supercomputing system specifically designed for big data applications. An onsite high-performance computing (HPC) cluster contains 4.096 processor cores and 38,912 gigabytes of memory.

Core Director: Arthur Toga

Core Contact: Grace-Liang Franco,

Flow Cytometry Core

The Flow Cytometry Facility provides the research community with state-of-the-art technology to selectively phenotype and isolate specific populations of cells. Using fluorescent probes and transgenic proteins, researchers monitor several aspects of their cell populations, including phenotype, cell viability, proliferation, cell cycle and cell activation. Additionally, cell purification by electrostatic cell sorting enables cutting-edge research on low frequency cells. This essential resource aids investigators performing research in cancer, cancer-related areas, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at USC and in the Los Angeles region.

Core Director: Rong Lu

Core Contact: Jeffrey Boyd,

Bioreagent and Cell Culture Core

The Bioreagent and Cell Culture 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.

Core Director: Robert Maxon

Core Contact: John Johnson,

Molecular and Cell Biology Support Core

The Molecular/Cell Biology (MCB) Support Core provides services and supplies that support molecular biology/cell biology experiments of Cancer Center/KSOM Principal Investigators (PIs) on a charge-back basis. These services and supplies include: 1) washing/sterilization of glassware from PIs’ laboratories; 2) supervision/maintenance of Cancer Center/KSOM equipment, including autoclaves, glassware washers, equipment used to prepare high quality deionized, distilled water, and service contracts for widely used, shared large pieces of equipment (ultracentrifuges/liquid scintillation counters; and 3) purchase of laboratory supplies (carbon dioxide, liquid nitrogen, and dry ice) and preparation of deionized, distilled water, and provision of these supplies to Cancer Center/KSOM PIs.

Core Director: Joseph Landolph,

Core Contact: Alfred Ascensio

Workforce Development Core

The Workforce Development Core group provides expertise in education, training and career development with special focus on research in diverse populations. Their broad target audience includes career clinical researchers, clinicians, research staff, clinical partners and community members. Workforce Development’s various educational offerings is provided in various formats emphasizing topics in clinical translational research methodology, team science, community-engaged research, research in diverse populations, research ethics, use of digital tools in research, and mentorship.

Core Director: Cecilia Patino-Sutton

Core Contact: Jeanne Dzekov McKean,

Keck Genomics Platform

Established in 2017, Keck Genomics Platform (KGP) is a service platform designed to support the Keck School of Medicine, USC, and its affiliates with a high throughput next generation sequencing ecosystem to help translate the basic code of life. KGP’s mission is to build a collaborative environment and provide a team-driven research platform by implementing the next generation technologies. Our ultimate goal is to drive advances in translational genomics and to pave a way towards innovation and personalized medicine. The platform is equipped with the state-of-the-art NovaSeq sequencer and liquid-handling robotics. Researchers perform genomic studies faster and more affordably by using these tools.

Core Director: Zarko Maojlovic

Core Contact: Alex Wong,

Molecular Genomics Core (MGC)

The Molecular Genomics Core (MGC) is a service facility that utilizes state of the art equipments and cutting-edge technologies. The MGC is committed to providing genetic, epigenetic and transcriptomic services such as RNA expression profiling, DNA genotyping, and high-throughput sequencing. MGC provides a comprehensive suite of molecular services throughout the continuum from project planning to data generation. Some of our services includes Next-Generation Sequencing on the Illumina Nextseq500 and Miseq platforms, Single Cell sequencing preparation on the 10x Genomics instrument, Illumina Infinium Microarray Genotyping and Methylation Array and Gene profiling on the Nanostring nCounter.

Core Director: David Craig

Core Contact: Stephanie Tring,

The Immunohistochemistry Laboratory

The Immunohistochemistry Laboratory in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine provides histology and immunohistochemistry services on human biospecimen and animal tissues, including both fresh/frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue. Histology services include processing, sectioning and staining. The immunohistochemistry services include titration, validation and staining. The core also provides whole slide scanning services, as well as professional pathology consultations.

Core Director: Kyle Hurth

Core Contact: Lillian Young,

The Research Center for Liver Disease Liver Histology (LH) Core

The Liver Histology Core provides basic histology services to the members of the Research Center for Liver Disease members. We do processing, sectioning and staining for animal tissues of formalin fixed specimens, which need to be submitted in 70% alcohol. (We can do processing and embedding of such tissues for nonmember investigators, but not sectioning.) We also provide frozen sectioning of animal tissue for our members only.

Core Director: Gary C. Kanel

Core Contact: Michelle MacVeigh-Aloni,

Translational Pathology Adult Tissue Core

The Translational Pathology Core Facility – Adult Tissue Arm provides a single point of access for tissue procurement and banking services for funded HSC and UPC investigators. We procure, bank, process, track and distribute both fresh/frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin embedded normal and pathologic human tissue biospecimens for investigators with IRB approved studies. We also provide histology services for both human biospecimens and animal tissues, including embedding, sectioning, and histologic staining and design and construction of tissue microarrays to support translational and basic research studies and we process blood/fluid specimens for translational research studies.

Core Director: Sue Ellen Martin

Core Contact: Mo-Li Chen,

Translational Pathology Core – Population Based Tissue Arm

The Transnational Pathology Core – Population Based Tissue Arm procures, maintains, and tracks discarded FFPE tumor tissue blocks from local regional hospitals identified through the Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP) for the population-based LA Residual Tissue Repository (RTR), which corresponds directly to the Los Angeles County catchment area. The key strengths of tissue available to researchers from the RTR is the availability of all cancer types including rare cancers; the ethnic and racial diversity of the catchment area; and the availability of tumor tissue from as far back as the 1980s.

Core Director: Wendy Cozen

Core Contact: Jose Aparicio,

4D Quantitative Imaging Lab

USC 4D Quantitative Imaging Lab offers service for patient care and research that provides state of the art digital image processing and quantitation. This facility at the Keck Medical Center of USC and Keck School of Medicine enables 3D and 4D (time resolved dynamics) reconstruction of Ultrasound, CT and MR images. This application of technology provides sophisticated and quantitative evaluation of imaging data. The 4D Lab offers image processing, volumetrics, radiomics, and 3D model generation. As a hybrid clinical/research lab, we work with a variety of data sources from pre-clinical animal data to multi-modal clinical images.

Core Director: Darryl Hwang

Core Contact: Darryl Hwang,

The Cell and Tissue Imaging Core

The Cell and Tissue Imaging Core Facility provides support for research projects that require specialized microscopic imaging. Training and assistance in the use of the instruments and associated technical procedures are provided by appointment and scheduled in-service training sessions. The primary function of the Cell and Tissue Imaging Core Facility is to provide assistance and training in the operation of equipment for transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, spinning disk confocal microscopy, Digital Scan Scope Microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and quantitation of immunocytochemical procedures. The Core Facility offers support for specimen preparation, thin sectioning techniques, embedding procedures, and cryosectioning techniques.

Core Director: David Hinton

Core Contact: Anthony Rodriguez,

Center for Image Acquisition (CIA)

The Center for Image Acquisition (CIA) combines two of the world’s most advanced MRI scanners with dedicated supercomputing systems, cutting-edge analysis techniques, and industry-leading expertise to image, map and model the structure and function of the living human brain with unprecedented detail. As a part of the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging & Informatics Institute (INI), and located on the campus of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the CIA provides high-resolution high-field imaging capabilities for both neuroscientific research and clinical applications.

Core Director: Arthur Toga

Core Contact: Grace Liang-Franco,

Functional Biological Imaging (FBI) Core

The Functional Biological Imaging Center is a pre-clinical imaging resource at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. The FBI core houses state-of-the-art preclinical MRI/PET instrumentation from MR Solutions that enables simultaneous acquisition of PET and MR images.

Core Director: Russell Jacobs

Core Contact: Sharon Lin,

Optical Imaging Facility

The Optical Imaging Facility provides access to a variety of fluorescence and confocal microscopes as well as training to enable users to acquire high-resolution images. Imaging systems include capabilities for imaging of fixed and live cells as well as time-lapse videos. Additional facilities are available for slide scanning and digital image analysis capabilities.

Core Director: Andrew McMahon

Core Contact: Seth Ruffins,

Molecular Imaging Center – Small Animal Imaging Core

The USC Molecular Imaging Center (USC MIC) offers accessibility to a wide variety of state-of-the-art imaging instrumentation. As an integral part of the Department of Radiology’s mission to promote Interdisciplinary research in oncology, neurology, cardiology and other disciplines, our goal is to Increase awareness and accessibility for all scientists, as well as assist investigators with imaging research projects.

Core Director: Peter Conti

Core Contact: Ryan Park,

Multi-Photon Microscopy Core

The Multi-Photon Microscopy Core provides in vivo imaging of intact organs in small animals with high temporal and subcellular resolution, ideal for studying (patho)physiological processes in health and disease. Two microscopes – a Leica SP8 DIVE, and a Leica TCS SP5 AOBS Multiphoton Confocal Microscope – enable USC investigators to perform ultra-sensitive, quantitative imaging of organ functions in vivo.

Core Director: Janos Peti-Peterdi

Core Contact: Anne Riquier-Brison,

The Research Center for Liver Disease Cell & Tissue Imaging Core

The Cell and Tissue Imaging (CTI) Core of the Research Center for Liver Diseases provides confocal and fluorescence microscopy systems available for usage. The CTI core also offers assisted imaging services, as needed by Center members. In addition, a stand-alone workstation supports imaging software for imaging systems, and other general-purpose packages. This core is only open to members of the Research Center for Liver Diseases.

Core Director: Neil Kaplowitz

Core Contact: Heather Johnson,
Dolores Mendoza

The Choi Family Therapeutic Screening Facility

The Choi Family Therapeutic Screening Facility (CFTSF) enables investigators from USC and beyond to improve their understanding of diseases and accelerate the discovery of potential therapeutic drugs. Researchers will have access to high content imaging systems for image based screening (HCS), to a multi-mode microplate reader for traditional high throughput screening (HTS), and to over 3,000 chemical compounds. These chemical compounds are biologically active and structurally diverse. The CFTSF is managed by faculty and staff with drug discovery backgrounds to help support investigators.

Core Director: Justin Ichida

Core Contact: Mickey Huang,

Clinical Investigations Support Office (CISO)

The Clinical Investigations Support Office (CISO) serves as a centralized unit to oversee the clinical research infrastructure and assist investigators in their conduct of clinical trials and translational research projects. CISO has three main operational units: 1) Protocol Administration; 2) Protocol Implementation; and 3) Administrative/Business Management.

Core Director: Anthony El-Khoueiry

Core Contact: Joyce Tull,

Clinical Research Support

The Clinical Research Support group promotes and supports efficient, safe and high-quality investigator-initiated clinical trials. Teams at two locations – one on the USC Health Sciences Campus and the other at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – assist research teams with protocol development, activation, conduct and close-out, leveraging extensive resources within the SC CTSI and across USC, CHLA, and our clinical and community partners.

Core Director: April Armstrong

Core Contact: Nicki Karimipour,

Clinical Trials Office (CTO)

USC’s Clinical Trials Office (CTO) serves patients, researchers and sponsors by expediting clinical trials for novel and promising therapies. The CTO supports budgeting, contracting and sponsor relations for clinical trials, cooperating with the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Keck Medical Center of USC and LA County/USC Hospital to expand USC’s achievements as an internationally renowned center for innovative patient care.

Core Director: Melissa Archer

Core Contact: Melissa Archer,

Clinical Trials Unit (CTU)

The USC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) provides a broad range of services to assist in the initiation and conduct of human studies. The CTU can facilitate study visits ranging from low to high complexity, and specializes in medium to high complexity human studies. The CTU provides consultation services to assist investigators and study teams with all operational aspects of coordinating a study. As part of the protocol assessment consultation, the CTU can assist with: protocol review for feasibility, service pricing, budget development, hospital credentialing for medical and research staff, providing a letter of support for grant applications, providing IRB support, invoicing, developing a data safety and monitoring plan, and any other logistical needs.

Core Director: April Armstrong

Core Contact: Yolanda Gutierrez

The Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute (DORI) Clinical Services Core

The objective of the DORI Clinical Services Core is to provide expert, convenient, and affordable obesity- and diabetes- related clinical services to investigators at the USC Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute (DORI) and external diabetes and obesity researchers. The Core will offer a series of scans and analyses including DEXA, BodPod, MRI, Oral Glucose Tolerance Testing (OGTT), and Fasting Blood Draws. In addition, the Core is home to a fully equipped metabolic kitchen and gym that can be rented for studies, meetings, exercise analyses, etc. All scans and analyses are run by experienced technicians in a reliable, quality-controlled environment.

Core Director: Katie Page

Core Contact: Christina Ayala

Digital Innovations & Communication Service

The Digital Communication Research Services offers support for digital projects with a clear focus on digital communication to assist investigators with clinical and community research projects. This may include but is not limited to: phone texting applications to help facilitate data collection or study participant recruitment by doing X or Y, website and blog development, implementation of measurement tools such as Google Analytics or ClickMeter, social media applications, related content development.

Core Director: April Armstrong

Core Contact: Nicki Karimipour,