Research collaborations

Team of researchers in Jean Shih’s laboratory

This team of researchers in Jean Shih’s laboratory belong to an international community of scientists who are working on questions related to MAO. Learn how they become scientists and what they have discovered.

Bottom row from left (sitting): 1-Jason Wu, 2-Sean Godar, 3-Anna Scott, 4-Kate Revill

Top row from left: 1-Kevin Chen, 2-Tim Gallaher, 3-Igor Rebrin, 4-Weihua Wu, 5-Jean Shih, 6-Bin Qian, 7-Xiaoming Ou, 8-Jane Radaza, 9-Joanne Lee, 10-Pia Rios

Jeff Andresen, PhD
Associate Director Pharmacology, Hematology Research
Amgen, Inc.

I received my PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1984 from the School of Pharmacy at USC.  Of course, Dr. Jean Shih was my Thesis Advisor, mentor, and friend.  With her recommendation and guidance I was able to obtain a post-doctoral fellowship in Ferid Murad’s lab at Stanford University School of Medicine where I was technically a Postdoctoral Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology and also a Research Associate in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford.  In 1988 I joined Amgen (then a small biotechnology company) as a Research Scientist I in the Pharmacology Department.  My career has developed as Amgen has grown, and I have progressed from RS I through RS V, and am now Associate Director  of Pharmacology in the Department of Hematology.  My development path has been much more convoluted than a straight progression.  I have had a variety of roles and responsibilities in a variety of departments including Pharmacology, Product Development, Pharmacology and Pathology, Preclinical Research, and Hematology and Oncology Research.  I have led or participated as a team member in the development of successful therapeutics, and have also had the same roles on projects that were not ultimately successful.  I currently supervise a group of twelve scientists and associates who are working on a diverse range of therapeutic targets in Hematology and Oncology.

Things that I enjoyed or were important to me as a graduate student remain important to me now.  I love discovery.  I enjoy learning how things work, whether it is a research technique or technology, a biological or biochemical process, or a mechanism of disease.  I have always been excited about those moments when my colleagues and I have completed an experiment that leads to a new understanding and knowledge.  As a graduate student I quickly learned how much I enjoy collaborations and realized most scientists must form alliances and share ideas, information, and honest criticism in order to accomplish anything of significance.  The friendships and collaborations that I have developed over the years continue to be very important to me.  I have always celebrated the successes of my colleagues and am pleased if I made any contribution to their success.  Now, as a supervisor and member of the senior research staff, one of my major responsibilities is to mentor, facilitate, and guide the career development of the talented scientists whom I supervise.

My colleagues who continue to be successful are not afraid of taking risks, and they are capable of identifying and correcting their mistakes as soon as possible.  They enjoy challenges, stretching their limits, and taking themselves out of their comfort zone.  They do not focus all of their efforts on their strengths, but instead they identify and develop skills that they do not already possess.  They have a desire and need to grow and develop. Graduate school challenges students with opportunities for professional growth and development; successful scientists never allow the process to stop.

I continue to enjoy my profession immensely and I am very excited about future opportunities.  I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity to go to graduate school, to follow my interests, and to have had many great teachers, advisors, mentors and colleagues along the way.

August 16, 2005


Yuen-Ling Chan
Research Associate Professor
University of Chicago
received PhD from USC in 1978

In science, one of the best pieces of advice I got is: “Don’t waste clean thinking on dirty data!”

It was great fun hanging out with fellow students and sharing my “BIG” ideas on science and life. Believe it or not, no one would say that you were wrong; they just said that you are a “DREAMER”!

Often, after a drought of no meaningful data in my experiments, suddenly I got some that seem to point in the right direction. Wow, that was exciting and encouraging! What a relief!

In science, to me, thinking right is more important than thinking big. When things go wrong, stay calm and be suspicious of what you see in your data and see if you can approach the same problem from different angles. The light may go on the moment you shift gears!


Kevin Chen , Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor in Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California.


Dr. Chen obtained his Bachelor of.Science from The National Taiwan University and his Ph.D. from UCLA in Biology. He was a Postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, worked at Enzo Biochem, Inc. and joined USC in 1988.

His research interests focus on the role of serotonin in gene regulation and behavior. Recently he generated a series of MAO A Lox P mice, which exhibit various phenotypes including paralysis, abnormal
hair growth, tremors and aggression.

The mouse with a chimeric coat color has a long history as a pet (fancy mouse). The distinct color pattern might be caused by genes involved in the serotonin pathway. The color of the mouse’s coat can be a useful marker for genetic analysis.

The loss of hair on the face presents an interesting compulsive behavior call barbaring, one example of compulsive behavior. The presence of one mouse in a cage can cause all the cage mates to lose facial hair including the whiskers. If a male mouse loses his whiskers, he may lose social ranking.


Mei-Chich Hsu
Graduate Institute of Sports Science
National College of Physical Education & Sports
Received PhD in December of 1987

Our work has shown that low concentrations of 4-fluoro-3-nitrophenyl azide (FNPA)(0.01-1 uM) photodependently inhibited only the type B monoamine oxidase in rat brain. Moreover, higher concentrations of FNPA (15 uM) photodependently inhibited type A monoamine oxidase (MAO A) from human placenta. FNPA is a suitable photoaffinity labeling probe for human placental MAO A. This is the first photoaffinity label for MAO A, which may be useful for characterizing the substrate binding-site of this enzyme.

Everything is a great experience, including those days I worked exhaustively with Professor Shih and the stages of my research career I have now. Dr. Shih had a great influence on me. She not only showed me how to transform knowledge into actions, but also led me to be independent in research. I am currently a professor in the National College of Physical Education and Sports. I have many students who are working with me in the laboratory. Leading those students to explore new experiences and knowledge is the best part in my life. The enjoyment and excitement of exploring new knowledge are impossible to describe. One who has been through these experiences can never forget them.

“Nothing is impossible. We set and achieve our goals!.”


Xiao-Ming Ou
Research Assistant Professor in Dr. Jean Shih’s lab
University of Southern California

Started working with Dr. Shih as a Research Associate in January 7, 2002.
Received Ph.D. in 1998 from Antwerp University, Antwerp, Belgium.

My first paper (as a coauthor) in Dr. Shih’s lab was published on line by The Journal of Biological Chemistry in April 15, 2002.


Igor Rebrin
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Southern California
received PhD in 1990 at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University,
Greifswald, Germany.


I was working in Jean Shih’s Lab from 1998 to 2000 on projects involving baculovirus mediated expression of human MAO A and-MAO B in insect cells, catalytic characterization of MAO point and truncation mutants, MAO-transgenic and MAO knockout mice.

Results of the work were published in:
1. Geha R.M., Rebrin I., Chen K., and Shih J.C. “Substrate and Inhibitor Specificities for Human Monoamine Oxidase A and MAO B Are Influenced by a Single Amino Acid.” J.Biol.Chem. (2000) 276: 9877-9882.

2. Rebrin I., Geha R.M., Chen K., and Shih J.C. Effects of carboxy-terminal truncation on human monoamine oxidase (2001) J.Biol.Chem. 276: 29499-29506.

3. Chen, K., Holschneider, D.P., Wu, W., Rebrin I., and Shih J.C. “A Spontaneous Point Mutation Produces Monoamine Oxidase A/B Knockout Mice with Greatly Elevated Monoamine and Anxiety-like Behavior” J.Biol.Chem. (2003) 279: 39645-39652.


Waikeong Patrick Wong
Associate Research Scientist
Columbia University
received Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Southern California

A little conversation between father and son on a sunny afternoon:

Son: Papa, what were you doing before I was born?

Father: I was a graduate student at USC. I was learning how our little cells talk to each other and change our feelings and behaviors.

Son: Ummm…are they always good boys like me?

Father: No, not always. They sometimes have problems and go out of control. So it is important to understand how they communicate with each other.

Son: So, is it fun to be a graduate student?

Father: Sure, you got to learn how things work. There are unlimited things to learn in science. But you have to be patient; otherwise, your little cells would go out of control too.

Son: Papa, I want to learn science…

Father: Sure, you can find and learn science everywhere you go. Nature is beautiful and wonderful, let’s go explore science and learn how everything works…


Weihua Wu
Research Associate
recevied Ph.D. in 1993 from West China University of Medical Sciences, Chengdu, China.

The Secret of MAO A/MAO B Knockout Mice: Nonsense mutation on Exon 8 of MAO A gene.

It’s funny, only one base change in DNA makes MAO A/B KO mice the “EXTRAORDINARY”.

TAA to ABKO mice: I have changed your life.

It was very exciting for me in 1981 when I read a paper about the technique of how to kick out the nucleus from the cell and transfer one isolated from the others. In the following several months, I traced the papers in this field. One night, I “predicted” that the human being would be produced like other factory products, one button one baby if needed. Do you know the response from my roommates? They only said one sentence, “You are crazy”.