Institute and Centers

Bridge Institute

As part of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, the Bridge Institute was formed to build the first atomic resolution structure of the human body. Development of this dynamic model will accelerate the creation and implementation of novel therapies and cures for a host of intractable diseases and conditions. The institute, led by Raymond C. Stevens, a Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, also seeks to train the next generation of scientists.


CSI-Cancer was founded by Dr. Peter Kuhn, Dean’s Professor of biological sciences, professor of medicine, biomedical engineering and aerospace and mechanical engineering. Dr. Kuhn’s approach starts by describing the wicked problem of cancer as a research challenge of the time-space continuum where the lethality of the disease increases with the spread through the body and with its adaptation to therapeutic pressure over time. CSI-Cancer built a set of pilot projects that explore the time-space continuum in every patient through a) a blood based liquid biopsy with single cell proteogenomics capabilities (HD-SCA), b) a suite of analytical tools for the objective measurement of human performance (AtomHP) to understand the patient’s health status and c) traffic patterns of cancers across large numbers of patients (CancerBase). In 2016 alone a first product of the blood liquid biopsy became available for patient care in patients with prostate cancer and each of the three projects above were singled out as a priority in Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot. Most recently in the report to President Obama, the HD-SCA joined forces with other technologies to build the Blood Profiling Atlas Commons (Blood PAC) and the AtomHP was put forward as a key approach to understand the physical, physiological, psychological and environmental stressor that affect a cancer patient during treatment. Each project in CSI-Cancer involves faculty and students across the USC core competencies in medicine, science and engineering. Dr. Kuhn joined President Obama’s SXSL festival at the White House in October of 2016 to demonstrate the AtomHP for which he was joined by a student from USC’s Iovine and Young Academy where the human research is taking place, faculty members from the Academy, from USC’s Dornsife Department of Psychology to quantitate patient reported outcomes, from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering to quantitate motion, posture and expressions, and from the Keck School of Medicine  of USC to lead the oncologic patient care. It is USC’s deep expertise in all of these areas that enable CSI-Cancer to solve some of the hardest problems facing society today.

Center for Discovery Informatics

The Center for Discovery Informatics (CDI), will be led by Professor Carl Kesselman, Dean’s Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and an Information Sciences Institute Fellow. The center will create transformative new methods and infrastructure for data-driven discovery with a focus on convergent bioscience —complex, multidisciplinary research tackling the most intractable problems in bioscience and medicine.  The goal is to transform how knowledge is created, explored and translated into benefits for humankind.The Center’s intellectual agenda is driven by a unique, highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach spanning engineering, computer science, social sciences, and biomedical research.  Situated in Michelson Hall with significant physical presence at the Information Sciences Institute and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the Center will create a dynamic living laboratory by building a shared research infrastructure to be used on a daily basis by collaborating scientists.  The Center will create the fundamental abstractions, methods, tools, and infrastructure to enable transformative, data-driven discovery in complex, multi-scale biological systems. The Center will not only address issues of how to better capture, organize and share data as part of the discovery process (already significant and challenging), but also seek to understand how the resulting intertwining of technology with the daily practice of science can create opportunities to develop and integrate advanced analysis, data mining, visualization and interaction methods. The result will be to position USC as a global leader in methods of data-driven science and clinical translation.