CancerBase will create a map based on responses to basic questions that could help patients understand the progression of their treatment and cancer. (Illustration/Yang Liu)

The most daunting health problems of our time deserve our urgent attention, whether they be the specter of emerging infectious diseases, the challenges of an aging population or the sad loss of a loved one succumbing to cancer. USC is creating a foundry for innovative new research committed to providing solutions to these, and other, complex problems.

The Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (MCCB) brings together faculty from diverse fields to aggressively address new ways of merging the life and physical sciences. The dynamic nature of biological systems can now be described quantitatively, rather than the static views of the past. Convergence is moving us into a predictive era where mathematical models are combined with massive data collection and precision measurements to provide a deeper, scalable view of life. We are creating knowledge bases that greatly expand our ability to identify new entry points for treating disease. In parallel, engineering approaches can be used as a platform for unanticipated discoveries, providing a fresh perspective on disease states in addition to the design of therapeutic and diagnostic devices.

Our MCCB faculty and students understand their responsibilities in forging a “heads up” environment, where intentional and accidental collisions with colleagues can bring a completely fresh perspective to a biomedical problem. We have broad and deep capabilities in areas such as nanofabrication, cutting-edge imaging platforms and high throughput protein crystallography. Genome editing, single-cell genomics and live animal reporter technologies are constantly being improved upon and applied to major biomedical questions that require completely novel approaches to solve. We work from the atomic level to the human patient, from the computational model to the animal model of disease, from the synthesis of novel drug-like molecules to the transformation of your smart phone into a medical device. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary science, medicine and engineering so that convergence becomes a critical component in the new lexicon of improved healthcare.