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December 2023 QCB Newsletter

e-Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 9 | December 2023


Personal Remarks by Dr. Remo Rohs


With this last Newsletter of 2023, I want to ask you to contribute with your end-of-year donations directly to the QCB Department by following this giving link


Contributions will always benefit our students. As one example, we will offer a graduate student stipend of annually $44,000 in the Ph.D. Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics beginning in the Fall 2024.


For the spring semester, we were able to add QBIO 401 “Introduction to Computational Analysis of Biological Data” and QBIO 499 “Special Topics – AI and Machine Learning in Biology and Medicine”. Registration is still open for these courses. 


With wishes for Happy Holidays to you and your families and a peaceful New Year,


Remo Rohs, Ph.D.

QCB Department Chair


Celebration of Dr. Helen Berman & Administrative Office Opening

The QCB Department opened their new Administrative Office in November. Dr. Helen Berman is seen cutting the ribbon of the new office suite, with Dr. Mike Levine (Princeton University and QCB Advisory Board) and Dr. Remo Rohs watching.


Dr. Helen Berman was honored by the QCB Department with a celebration in November for her election to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Berman is a co-founder of the Protein Data Bank. She is also the first female faculty member in USC Dornsife who was elected to the NAS.


PhD candidate Raktim Mitra and QBIO graduate Ari Cohen speak about their interactions with Dr. Helen Berman as a faculty member at the QCB Department celebration.


QCB Faculty

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Kay for being appointed to the role of Head of Convergent Research Initiatives for the Keck School of Medicine. In this role, Dr. Kay will be driving interdisciplinary collaboration and promoting convergent research within the Keck School, across units and schools of USC, and across academic institutions, industry, and government agencies.


QCB Publications

Dr. Vivian Link, an Edge Lab Postdoc, published a paper: "Tree-based QTL mapping with expected genetic relatedness matrices", in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Vivian's work takes advantage of coalescent trees, a fundamental structure for modeling the evolution of genetic variation with a long history at USC, to identify genetic loci that might contribute to trait variation. All co-authors are QCB affiliates, including researcher Josh Schraiber, PhD students Caoqi Fan and Bryan Dinh, and faculty Charleston Chiang, Nick Mancuso, and Doc Edge. Read more here.


Vardges Tserunyan from the Finley Lab published a new paper: “Information-Theoretic Analysis of a Model of CAR-4-1BB-Mediated NFκB Activation” in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. The study investigates the mechanisms of action of CAR T cells, which may help leverage their full therapeutic potential in different types of cancers. Read this study here.


QBIO Undergraduate Students

Current QBIO Sophomore Karen Lee (left) and QBIO Student Liaison/Alumni Colin Yeo (right) hosted a virtual information session for high school students interested in the QBIO Major at USC. The information session covered a number of topics, from the specific course-load of the major, to general questions about student life at USC. They plan to host another session after undergraduate admissions offers are sent out.


Each semester, the Office of the Provost awards a small number of fellowships to undergraduate students doing research in their respective academic fields. These awards are given based on the quality of applicants' research proposals and quality of research. This semester, we want to congratulate Andrew Wilk (Junior, mentor: Dr. Remo Rohs), Anika Shrivastava (Senior, mentor: Dr. Jazlyn Mooney), and Matthew Genchev (Junior, mentor: Dr. Jazlyn Mooney) for receiving this competitive fellowship honor.


Upcoming Events

January 11th @ 2pm (RRI101): Seminar by Dr. John Novembre, University of Chicago.


January 18th @ 2pm (RRI101): Seminar by Dr. Sriram Sankararaman, UCLA.


January 25th @ 2pm (RRI101): Seminar by Dr. Yun Song, UC Berkeley.



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Our mailing address is:

1050 Childs Way, RRI 201, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2019

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