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USC professors Sean Curran and Kai Wang have been nominated for consideration as a 2011 Searle Scholar, an annual program that awards 15 tenure-track assistant professors with $100,000 per year for a three-year period.

Curran came to the USC Davis School of Gerontology in August as an assistant professor in the division of biogerontology. He said he was drawn to the school for its multidisciplinary approach to the study of aging.

In 2009, he was a recipient of the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. He used those funds to lay the groundwork for the Curran Lab, a USC Davis-based research group that seeks to understand the molecules, genes and cells that impact aging and age-related diseases.

Wang, an assistant professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, teaches in the psychiatry and behavioral sciences and preventive medicine departments.

He also is a member of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, an organized research unit within the Keck School of Medicine that studies the genetic basis of neurological disease and behavioral disorders.

Past Searle Scholars from USC include Keck School professors Li I. Zhang (2005) and Alan L. Epstein (1982).

Obesity Study Receives NIH Support

Sebastien G. Bouret of The Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been awarded $1.68 million to support investigation into the role of leptin, a hormone derived from fat cells, in the development of neurological structures that regulate matabolism and body weight throughout life.

The grant for the study was presented by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Tambe Receives Homeland Security Award

USC Viterbi School of Engineering professor Milind Tambe received a Homeland Security Award from the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and AgustaWestland North America on Oct. 5.

Kezar Looks at Student Activists

The September/October 2010 issue of the Journal of College Student Development features an article by USC Rossier School of Education associate professor Adrianna Kezar titled “Faculty and Staff Partnering With Student Activists: Unexplored Terrains of Interaction and Development.”

In the article, Kezar explores faculty and staff work with student activists, why and how they partner with students, the impact of institutional context and what role it might play in student development.

USC Annenberg Student Wins Newswriting Award

Evan Pondel, a student in the specialized journalism master’s program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, has won first place in a nationwide religion reporting competition.

Pondel received the Chandler Student Religion Reporter of the Year award at the annual meeting of the Religion Newswriters Association in Denver.

The award is named after Russell Chandler, the former longtime Los Angeles Times religion reporter.

Pondel is a Los Angeles native who worked at the online Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News before enrolling in the program for mid-career professionals at USC Annenberg.

He was honored for work that he completed for a USC Annenberg course led by Diane Winston, who holds the Knight Chair in Media and Religion. The capstone of the course was a 10-day reporting trip to Israel and the West Bank.

Pondel’s winning stories explored the housing crisis in East Jerusalem, surrogate births among Israeli gays and Scottish-Jewish fusion cooking in Los Angeles.

Book Recounts a Mother’s Emotional Ordeal

Meg Tipper, the mother of Maggie Feiss ’08, who died unexpectedly that same year of epilepsy, has written Standing at the Edge: A Year of Days After Sudden Death, a book about the year after her daughter’s death.

Feiss was an active volunteer in nonprofits, both at USC and in her home city of Baltimore, and Tipper is donating all profits from the book to the Baltimore Community Foundation.

A book signing open to the public will be held Sunday, Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m. at a private home in Downey. For more information, call (562) 927-1323.

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