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McMahon installed as chair of stem cell biology

by Imelda Valenzuela Fowler
From left, USC President C. L. Max Nikias and wife Niki C. Nikias, Andrew McMahon, Edythe and Eli Broad, and Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen A. Puliafito (Photo/Steve Cohn)
From left, USC President C. L. Max Nikias and wife Niki C. Nikias, Andrew McMahon, Edythe and Eli Broad, and Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen A. Puliafito (Photo/Steve Cohn)

Andrew McMahon, newly appointed chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, is often asked why he left the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to come here. He offered one simple word of explanation: opportunity.

“I wanted the opportunity to create something special within the emerging field of regenerative medicine,” McMahon said. “The energy and excitement of Los Angeles provides a wonderful bonus, but this was a decision deeply rooted in my training, interests and experience over 35 years and my desire to translate these things into something of great significance in a first-class university.”

McMahon was officially welcomed into his role at USC and installed as the first holder of the W.M. Keck Provost Professorship of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at a reception hosted last month by USC President C. L. Max Nikias on the Health Sciences Campus.

The endowed professorship was made possible by a gift from the W.M. Keck Foundation that renamed USC’s academic medical center and launched the $1.5 billion Keck Medicine Initiative, the largest component of The Campaign for the University of Southern California.

“It’s my great pleasure to officially welcome a scientist of the very highest caliber,” Nikias said in his introductory remarks. “A man who will lead USC boldly into the emerging biotechnology revolution and help usher in the new age of innovation and discovery. That man is Andrew McMahon.”

Eli and Edythe Broad, the namesakes and primary donors of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, gave $30 million toward the building’s development and were also in attendance among the crowd of approximately 100 people.

“Edye and I get to Cambridge often because of the Broad Institute, which is a partnership between Harvard and MIT,” said Eli Broad. “I know how sad they were to have you leave,” he told McMahon. “And I know how highly esteemed you were there. So we know that you and those that you bring with you will bring this center to even a higher level of excellence, and we thank you for all of that.”

McMahon brought most of his lab members with him to USC, including his wife, Jill, an accomplished research scientist in her own right, who is also the lab manager.

As a commemorative gift, Nikias, Broad and Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito presented McMahon with an encased replica of a chair designed by Belgian furniture designer Maarten van Severen.

“Andy is a wonderful scientist and human being,” said Puliafito, who was instrumental in recruiting McMahon to USC. “He is a fantastic addition to our scholarly community at USC.”

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