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UCLA brain drain to USC

by AirTalk®

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A statue of the school mascot, the Trojan, stands on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California. David McNew/Getty Images

USC has lured a world-renowned neuroscience lab away from UCLA. Described as perhaps the world's premier lab when it comes to finding insights about the brain in massive amounts of data from image scans and genetic tests, leading professors Arthur Toga and Paul Thompson have reportedly been pursued by USC for years with promises to expand their research, connect with other schools and disciplines like medicine and engineering, and offer them upgraded facilities. UCLA's neurology chairman said he had known for months that they were talking to USC and other universities but that the professors never divulged specifics to allow UCLA to make a counteroffer.

This isn’t the first time that USC or another private university has poached professors from the UC system, but if reports are accurate, the professors will be taking nearly 100 members of their staff with them.

Does this spell doom for UCLA’s entire neuroscience department? Will it affect other departments at their school? Is private school poaching a trend that’s been picking up in recent years, or something that has always been a factor in higher education?


Sanden Totten, KPCC Science Reporter

Dr. Paul Thompson, Professor of Neurology, starting at USC's Keck School of Medicine next fall

Robin Wilson, Senior Writer at the Chronicle of Higher Education

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