USC Michelson Center Groundbreaking Keynote Video

USC broke ground on a new center for convergent bioscience on Thursday, October 23rd. The USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, named for philanthropic donor Gary K. Michelson, is aimed at transforming the field of biological sciences into a “quantitative and predictive” means of detecting and curing diseases faster.

Once completed in 2017, the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience will house about 25 to 30 investigators working in shared flexible lab spaces that encourage collaboration. Located at the Michelson Center will be the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, a nanofabrication facility and a suite of microscopy imaging technology. Equipped with the latest and best tools, researchers will attempt to fast-track the detection and curing of diseases.

This building and its research intent lay the foundation for a new collaboration between the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The dean of USC Dorsife, Steve Kay, said he’ll be honored to set up his lab in the building, noting he is “excited for my team to begin collaborating so closely with engineers to devise innovative diagnostic devices and treatments for diseases we now consider incurable.”

Philantropist and Retired Orthopaedic Surgeon Gary K. Michelson, USC President C.L. Max Nikias at the USC Michelson Center Groundbreaking Keynote. [2014-10-23] {#3711} (Credit: Steve Cohn)

“We have to get our government, on behalf of us collectively, to act – to invest catalytically in building out the infrastructure for a vast, medical research ecosystem that would be nucleated around the vision of this man (C.L. Max Nikias) and this university and a commitment to medical research”. Philanthropist, retired orthopaedic spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson

Already involved are former SCRIPPS scientists Raymond C. Stevens, Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, and Peter Kuhn, Dean’s Professor of Biological Sciences. Stevens, a pioneer into human cellular behavior research, has been involved in the creation of therapeutic molecules that led to breakthrough drugs aimed at curing influenza, childhood diseases, neuromuscular disorders or diabetes. Kuhn, whose efforts have cast a new light on how cancer spreads through the body, has been partnering with oncologists, engineers and has devised a method allowing detection and characterization of cancer cells with a simple blood sample.

To muster potential Dornsife and Viterbi members, the center will be nestled between facilities for both schools — just west of the Dornsife Neuroscience Pavilion and north of the Olin Hall of Engineering.

Gary K. Michelson, USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos at the USC Michelson Center groundbreaking luncheon [2014-10-23] {#4497} (Credit: Steve Cohn)

“USC Michelson will be a world-class center of the accelerating convergence between the biosciences and engineering, its outstanding faculty will conduct cutting-edge bioscience and bio-engineering research that will lead to breakthrough innovations for advancing human health”. Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of USC Viterbi.

During the USC Michelson Center groundbreaking keynote, Gary K. Michelson underscored the importance of building momentum behind discoveries in engineering and the life sciences and, with USC being an engine for entrepreneurs, the retired orthopedic surgeon and inventor predicted Los Angeles will become the next hotbed for biomedical ventures. As USC has long advocated creating biomedical research clusters that would foster new businesses and boost the economy, the USC Michelson Center is ideally located at the university.

USC Michelson Center Groundbreaking Keynote Video [MMRF]

Speakers: USC President C. L. Max Nikias; philanthropist, retired orthopaedic spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson, Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry Raymond C. Stevens; president of Karlin Asset Management David A. Cohen. Credits: Aaron Kemp, Pierre André Lowenstein/MMRF.

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