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Keck School pathologist elected to prestigious Taiwanese academy

Keck School of Medicine researcher Cheng-Ming Chuong has been elected to the Academica Sinica, a prestigious academic institution based in Taiwan, for his pioneering research into how stem cells are organized into tissues and organs.

Election to the organization is the highest honor the scientific community of the Republic of China bestows upon the most accomplished investigators in and outside of Taiwan.

Chuong, professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine, was recently elected to the institution’s Life Sciences division. In its nomination, the organization noted Chuong’s “creative, multi-disciplinary approach” to the study of stem cells and organ regeneration.

“I’m very honored to be included among scientists and researchers of this caliber,” Chuong said. “It shows that our work is highly appreciated on an international level.”

Chuong’s innovative research has included studies into the molecular process that shapes organs, using avian beaks and feathers as models. The work may contribute to understanding the mechanism for repairing or regenerating tissues and organs. In January, his research team published a paper in the journal Nature identifying a novel cyclic signaling in the dermis that coordinates stem cell activity and regulates regenerative behavior of large populations of hairs using the mouse model. During the past six years, Chuong’s research team has produced six papers published in the journals Nature and Science, including four research papers and two commentaries.

Chuong said he is pleased that the significance of his basic research is appreciated by these top scientific journals, and grateful to the dedicated work of his research team members.

“In the long run, fundamental research has long-lasting impacts,” he said. “It is important to balance basic and translational research.”

Martin Pera, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, congratulated Chuong on “an outstanding and well-deserved honor.”

“Dr. Chuong, using the model system of the chick feather development, has made very important contributions to our understanding of morphogenesis, or the process in which cells are assembled to form tissues and organs,” Pera said.

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