USC Michelson Center: Research for Humanity’s Sake

Gary K. Michelson – who donated $50 million dollars to fund the project – has emphasised that work conducted in the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience will be “goal oriented” and will yield “results manifested in the real world.”

The USC Michelson Center will allow the convergence of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, a collaboration which Michelson believes will result in “research for humanity’s sake.” (5)

Dr Michelson claims that by focusing on the real-world applications of research, and developing outputs that have a positive, observable impact on society, work conducted at the Center will benefit humanity as a whole. (1)

Hopes that the Center will become a goal orientated institution are driven by Dr Michelson’s personal experience of having known “individuals who spent their entire lives peering down the tubes of microscopes but who never changed the world” (2), as well as his own “sense of impatience” at institutions conducting “science for science’s sake.” (1)

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (Artist Rendering)

A $50 million gift from pioneering surgeon Gary K. Michelson will fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience.

The Center aims to transform how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life & biomedical sciences.

Numerous prolific USC researchers have already confirmed they will be moving their research groups into the Center when it opens in 2017.

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (Artist Rendering)

A $50 million gift from pioneering surgeon Gary K. Michelson will fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience.

The Center aims to transform how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life & biomedical sciences.

Numerous prolific USC researchers have already confirmed they will be moving their research groups into the Center when it opens in 2017.

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (Artist Rendering)

A $50 million gift from pioneering surgeon Gary K. Michelson will fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience.

The Center aims to transform how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life & biomedical sciences.

Numerous prolific USC researchers have already confirmed they will be moving their research groups into the Center when it opens in 2017.

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (Artist Rendering)

A $50 million gift from pioneering surgeon Gary K. Michelson will fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience.

The Center aims to transform how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life & biomedical sciences.

Numerous prolific USC researchers have already confirmed they will be moving their research groups into the Center when it opens in 2017.

The adoption of a product-centric approach is expected to result in developments that not only benefit society as a whole, but also directly benefit the institution; by focusing on practical developments and creating useful products, the Center can generate funding for future research.

Academic institutions are known for having difficulty turning research advancements into useful and profitable outputs, with the vast majority of Universities actually losing money in attempts to efficiently monetize research developments.

In a paper published last year, Walter D. Valdivia, a fellow in the Center for Technology Innovation at The Brookings Institution, summarized the inability of Universities to efficiently utilize their own research developments:

…of the 155 universities reporting to the AUTM [Association of University Technology Managers] survey, 130 did not generate enough licensing income in 2012 to cover the wages of their technology transfer staff and the legal costs for the patents they file. What is more, with 84% universities operating technology transfer in the red, 2012 was a good year because over the last 20 years, on average, 87% did not break even.”

It is hoped that by adopting a “goal orientated” perspective, the Center will make progress towards creating a more sustainable and profitable model for converting scientific progress into marketable technology in academic institutions. (5)

This scientific progress could come in any number of areas, as the Center will house multiple research groups from various fields. Dr Michelson has acknowledged that the interdisciplinary convergence of these fields will be a key aspect of the Center, claiming that his donation is “all about the promise of this convergent scientific method.” (5)

The University of Southern California has shown support for this interdisciplinary convergence, with USC President C. L. Max Nikias claiming that the new Center will “bridge USC’s strengths in a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, medicine, mathematics, and computer science.” (1)

USC Michelson Center Announcement on January 13th, 2014: Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias (Credit: Steve Cohn).

Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias.

“Dr. Michelson’s generous gift is truly visionary, as it will bridge USC’s strengths in a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, medicine, mathematics and computer science,” says USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

USC Michelson Center Announcement on January 13th, 2014: Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias (Credit: Steve Cohn).

Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias.

“Dr. Michelson’s generous gift is truly visionary, as it will bridge USC’s strengths in a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, medicine, mathematics and computer science,” says USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

USC Michelson Center Announcement on January 13th, 2014: Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias (Credit: Steve Cohn).

Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias.

“Dr. Michelson’s generous gift is truly visionary, as it will bridge USC’s strengths in a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, medicine, mathematics and computer science,” says USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

USC Michelson Center Announcement on January 13th, 2014: Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias (Credit: Steve Cohn).

Gary Michelson (center left) and his wife, Alya Michelson (left), together with C. L. Max Nikias and Mrs. Niki C. Nikias.

“Dr. Michelson’s generous gift is truly visionary, as it will bridge USC’s strengths in a broad range of disciplines, including the sciences, engineering, medicine, mathematics and computer science,” says USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times Dr Michelson claimed that the focus of USC researchers on interdisciplinary convergence is why he first became interested in the University. It is now hoped that by fully adopting this perspective, the real-world benefits of research conducted at the USC Michelson Center will be maximised.

Numerous prolific USC researchers with varying research interests have already confirmed they will be moving their research groups into the Center when it opens in 2017, raising hopes that the Center will quickly become a prolific and influential source of technology and innovation.

Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias;
USC Michelson Center Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias;
USC Michelson Center Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias;
USC Michelson Center Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias;
USC Michelson Center Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

References:

  1. Convergence: Man with a Plan [Summer 2014; Katharine Gammon, USC Trojan Family]
  2. $50-Million Gift to Establish Bioscience Center at University of Southern California [2014-01-13; Don Troop, The Chronicle of Higher Education]
  3. University Start-Ups: Critical for Improving Technology Transfer [2013-11-20; Walter D. Valdivia, Brookings]
  4. $50 million gift funds convergent bioscience research at USC [2014-01-13; Robert Perkins, USC News]
  5. Surgeon and inventor gives $50 million for USC building [2014-01-13; Larry Gordon, L.A. Times]
  6. Coloring Outside the Lines [2014-04-28; Pamela J. Johnson, USC Dornsife]
  7. USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience [2014-01-13; Katie McKissick, USC Viterbi]

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Christopher Edward Jones is a biochemist and writer currently affiliated with Queen Mary University of London, where he is part of a research group focusing on the restriction factors of HIV. In the past he has worked with multiple biomedical research groups in both industry and academia. He has a research interest in the biochemical mechanisms of virus restriction and a general interest in all areas of science.

Christopher Edward Jones is a biochemist and writer currently affiliated with Queen Mary University of London, where he is part of a research group focusing on the restriction factors of HIV. In the past he has worked with multiple biomedical research groups in both industry and academia. He has a research interest in the biochemical mechanisms of virus restriction and a general interest in all areas of science.

Christopher Edward Jones is a biochemist and writer currently affiliated with Queen Mary University of London, where he is part of a research group focusing on the restriction factors of HIV. In the past he has worked with multiple biomedical research groups in both industry and academia. He has a research interest in the biochemical mechanisms of virus restriction and a general interest in all areas of science.

Christopher Edward Jones is a biochemist and writer currently affiliated with Queen Mary University of London, where he is part of a research group focusing on the restriction factors of HIV. In the past he has worked with multiple biomedical research groups in both industry and academia. He has a research interest in the biochemical mechanisms of virus restriction and a general interest in all areas of science.