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The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center a five-year, $32.5 million core grant renewal to support its broad range of clinical, research and educational programs. The award is designed to reduce the impact of cancer upon the lives of people in California and beyond.

Established in 1971, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has benefited from continuous recognition and funding from the NCI since 1973 when it was named one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers in the country.

The grant renewal reaffirms the center as an “important community and regional resource,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Swanson Elected President of Society for Neuroscience

Larry Swanson, the Milo Don and Lucille Appleman Professor of Biological Sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, has been elected president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience.

During his one-year term as president between 2012 and 2013, Swanson will guide the venerable society as its members publish The Journal of Neuroscience and testify before Congress on matters of funding for the National Institutes of Health.

For Swanson, this is the latest in a series of recent accolades and honors recognizing his contributions to neuroscience. The announcement comes just months after his induction into the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that can be conferred on a scientist.

Swanson, among the society’s earliest members, attended its first meeting in 1971 as a third-year graduate student. He was one of just 1,396 attendees at that first meeting; today the annual meeting attracts more than 30,000 attendees from around the world, according to the society’s website.

Swanson’s presidential term will include officiating the society’s 2013 meeting, where he will set the tone by recruiting speakers for a series of four presidential lectures. Those lectures likely are to focus on Swanson’s passion: creating a basic wiring diagram for the brain.

Rachel Berney Tapped as Interim Director

USC School of Architecture assistant professor Rachel Berney has been appointed interim director of the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program for the 2011-12 academic year.

Berney will assume the responsibilities of Professor Emeritus Robert S. Harris, who has completed a five-year term.

She joined the USC faculty in 2007. In fall 2009, she became the first tenure-track faculty member appointed to the MLA program.

Building on the work by Harris, Berney will focus on curriculum and faculty development. She also will serve on the university’s Honorary Degrees Committee, as well as committees within the school. She currently is working on collaborations involving the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the USC School of Planning, Policy, and Development.

Berney’s research interests include sustainable urban design and development, social and cultural factors in design, and community planning and university-community partnerships. Her dissertation research focused on sustainable urban development in Latin America, where she examined development processes and projects in the public spaces of Bogotá, Colombia.

In Memoriam: Carol Nagy, 72

Carol Nagy, the first female dean of the Division of Social Sciences and Communication at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and a major force in the creation of the university’s Gender Studies Program, has died. She was 72.

Nagy, formerly Carol Jacklin, died at her home in Julian, Calif., on Aug. 8 after a bout with cancer.

The Chicago native arrived at USC in 1983 as professor of psychology and head of the Program for the Study of Women and Men in Society, since named the Gender Studies Program.

In 1990, Nagy chaired USC Dornsife’s Department of Psychology and in 1992, she was appointed the first female dean of the Division of Social Sciences and Communication, a post she held until she left USC in 1995 for a deanship at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

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