City of Hope/Beckman Research Inst and Univ of Southern California

Institution TypeNon-Profit Research Institute
Is there a medical school?Yes (USC)
Is this a land-grant institution?No (USC)
Vivarium DirectorRichard Ermel (COH/BRI)/Ari N. Aycock-Williams (USC)
Program DirectorRichard Ermel (COH/BRI)/Ari N. Aycock-Williams (USC)
Who to ContactRichard Ermel (COH/BRI)/Ari N. Aycock-Williams (USC)


Center for Comparative Medicine, City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA, 91010-3000


Department of Animal Resources, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar Street, CHP234, Los Angeles, CA 90033

(626) 218-3385 (COH/BRI)

(213) 304-2946 (USC)

(626) 218-8804 (COH/BRI)

(323) 442-2768 (USC) or

Vivarium Information

Vivarium NameCenter for Comparative Medicine (COH/BRI)/Department of Animal Resources (USC)
Is the facility AAALAC accredited?Yes
Describe management structure2-5 Administratively distinct vivaria
Describe the extent to which your facilities are centralizedAnimals housed in 2-5 separate locations
Vivarium Square Feet100,000
Summarize the nature of the animal population and the predominant types of clinical activities

The Residency and Graduate Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine provides clinical services and veterinary care to the centrally administered support service for animal research and teaching programs at the City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute (COH/BRI) Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) and University of California (USC) Department of Animal Resources (DAR) animal facilities.

The COH/BRI animal care and use program supports approximately 120 principal investigators and 330 approved protocols involving the use of animals.  The major types of studies include:

  • Cancer biology (mice, rats, chickens, and zebrafish)
  • Cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology (mice and rats)
  • Clinical and molecular pharmacology (mice and rats)
  • Comparative Medicine (mice, rats, rabbits, and chickens)
  • Diabetes and metabolic diseases research (mice and rats)
  • Gene regulation and drug discovery (mice, rats, chickens, and zebrafish)
  • Hematopoietic stem cell and leukemia research (mice)
  • Immunology (mice and rabbits)
  • Molecular and cellular biology (mice, rabbits, and chickens)
  • Molecular medicine (mice and rats)
  • Neurosciences (mice and rats)
  • Radiation biology (mice)
  • Transgenics, knockouts, and gene therapy (mice)
  • Virology (mice)

The USC animal care and use program supports 230 principal investigators with approximately 750 approved protocols involving the use of animals. Research and teaching programs include the following disciplines:

  • Cancer and cancer therapeutics (mice and rats)
  • Cardiovascular disease and surgery (mice and rats)
  • Diabetes and obesity (mice, rats, and swine)
  • Alcoholism and liver disease (mice and rats)
  • Ophthalmology (mice, rats, rabbits, and dogs)
  • Genetics and gene therapy (mice, rats, and fish)
  • Immunology (mice and rats)
  • Biochemistry and metabolism (mice, rats, chickens, quail, alligators, and anole lizards, geckos)
  • Neuroscience and behavior (mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, Xenopus frogs, and zebra finches)
  • Gerontology (mice and rats)
  • Craniofacial development and molecular biology (mice, rats, and zebrafish)
  • Pharmacology (mice, rats, rabbits, and Xenopus frogs)
  • Exercise physiology (mice and rats)
  • Gastrointestinal surgery and liver (mice, rats, and swine)
  • Orthopedic surgery (mice, rats, and rabbits)
  • Obstetrics and gynecology (mice, rats, rabbits, and swine)
  • Pulmonary disease (rats and mice)
  • Medical devices and laparoscopic surgery (swine)
  • Advanced trauma life support (swine)
  • Radiology (mice)
  • Marine biology (fish)
Number of Veterinarians in program7
Number of ACLAM Diplomates in program5
Number of Boarded Pathologists1
Number of Other Boarded Veterinary Specialists0
Number of necropsies/week in the veterinary unit40
Number of surgical cases/week in the veterinary unit2

Training Program Details

Is this program recognized by ACLAM?Yes
Does this program participate in the Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP)?No
Number of concurrent residents5
How many residents/trainees have completed this program?15
Of these, how many have subsequently become ACLAM Diplomates?7
In what year did the program accept its first trainee?2003
How many years are required to complete this program (residency only)?

3 years - residency program

5 years - combined residency and PhD program
Is formal coursework offered?Yes
Is a degree program associated with this residency?Yes - combined residency and PhD program
If yes, what degree(s)?PhD
Which departments most commonly grant degree(s)?COH/BRI Graduate School of Biological Sciences
Give an overview of this program, describing its particular strengths and any unique aspects that are not addressed in any of the other sections

The City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute (COH/BRI) and University of Southern California (USC) Residency and Graduate Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine is a 3-year residency training component (primarily at USC – laboratory animal medicine resident) and 5-year combined residency and graduate training component (primarily at COH/BRI – laboratory animal medicine fellow) program designed to support preparation toward American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) board certification and to prepare individuals for academic careers in the biomedical sciences, laboratory animal science, and comparative medicine.  The training program includes a full spectrum of clinical rounds, seminars, special projects pertaining to laboratory animal medicine, diagnostics, animal care and use, and teaching assignments.  Laboratory animal medicine residents/fellows provide clinical services and veterinary care to the centrally administered support service for animal research and teaching programs at the COH/BRI Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) Animal Care Program (ACP) and USC Department of Animal Resources (DAR) facilities.  The training program provides postdoctoral (DVM) laboratory animal medicine residents/fellows with the intellectual depth and breadth, and appropriate clinical and research training in laboratory animal medicine, laboratory animal/comparative pathology, and comparative medicine.

Training includes a research component that involves the application of the scientific method as applied to a basic or clinical research project.  The laboratory animal medicine residents/fellows may fulfill this requirement through the conduct of an independent, original project or as a collaborator working within the laboratory of an established investigator.  Preparation of a manuscript for presentation/publication in a refereed journal in an appropriate discipline is required for successful completion of the training program.  The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biological Sciences is utilized as the graduate degree component of the 5-year combined residency and graduate training program and provides ample opportunities for specific training in the development of biomedical models and research methodology as well as in other areas important for specialty board certification by the ACLAM.

Describe any unique research interests of your faculty


The City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute (COH/BRI), an innovative biomedical research, treatment, and educational institution, is dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer and other life-threatening diseases, guided by a compassionate patient-centered philosophy, and supported by a national foundation of humanitarian philanthropy.  The City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics, and one of the world’s leading research and treatment centers for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS.  The COH/BRI Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences grants a PhD degree in Biological Sciences with emphasis in chemical, molecular, and cellular biology.  Research being conducted spans the range from the most fundamental studies of molecular structure and biology through patient care and treatment.


The University of Southern California (USC) is a private educational and research institution.  USC has two campuses: the University Park Campus (UPC) and the Health Sciences Campus (HSC).  USC has over 35,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled in its two campuses.  Research and teaching programs using animals are in the School of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Gerontology, and the School of Dentistry on the UPC and in the Keck School of Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Dentistry on the HSC.

Give a few literature citations of publications completed by trainees during their tenure in this program

Publications since 2020 with trainee bold font

Haber, T., Cornejo, Y.R., Aramburo, S., Flores, L., Cao, P., Liu, A.T., Mooney, R., Gilchrist, M., Tirughana, R., Nwokafor, U., Abidi, W., Han, E., Dellinger, T., Wakabayashi, M., Aboody, K.S., and Berlin, J.M.  Specific targeting of ovarian tumor associated macrophages by large, anionic nanoparticles.  PNAS. 2020.  doi:10.1073/pnas.1917424117

Hammad M, Cornejo YR, Batalla-Covello J, Abdul Majid A, Burke C, Liu Z, Yuan Y-C, Li M, Dellinger TH, Lu J, Chen NG, Fong Y, Aboody KS, Mooney R., Neural Stem Cells Improve the Delivery of Oncolytic Chimeric Orthopoxvirus in a Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Model, Molecular Therapy: Oncolytics (2020), doi:

Hammad M, Cornejo Y, Flore L, Hyde C, Ngai H, Li M, Dellinger T, Lu J, Chen N, Mooney R, Aboody K, Fong Y. Novel chimeric poxvirus CF17 improves survival in a murine model of intraperitoneal ovarian cancer metastasis. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics (2020) 19:278-282.

Zhang Y, Lui A, Cornejo Y, Van Haute D, Berlin J. A systemic comparison of in vitro cell uptake and in vivo biodistribution for three classes of gold nanoparticles with saturated PEG catings. PLOS One (2020).

Cornejo Y, Li M, Dellinger T, Mooney R, Rahman M, McFadden G, Aboody K, Hammad M. NSCs are permissive to oncolytic Myxoma virus and provide a delivery method for targeted ovarian cancer therapy. Oncotarget (2020) 11(51):4693-4698.

Kang Y, Flores L, Ngai H, Cornejo Y, Haber T, McDonald M, Moreira D, Gonzaga J, Abidi W, Zhang Y, Hammad M, Kortylewski M, Aboody K, Berlin J. Lagre, anionic liposomes enable targeted intraperitoneal delivery of a TLR 7/8 agonist to repolarize ovarian tumors’ microenvironment.

Bioconjugate Chem. (2021) 32(8):1581-1592.

Bianchi L, Mooney R, Cornejo Y, Schena E, Berlin J, Aboody K. Thermal analysis of laser irradiation-gold nanorod combinations at 808 nm, 940 nm, 975 nm and 1064 nm wavelengths in breast cancer model. International Journal of Hyperthermia (2021) 1099-1110.

Guo, F., S. Xu, Y. Zhu, X. Zheng, Y. Lu, J. Tu, Y. He, L. Jin, and Y. Li. (2020) "PPARg Transcription Deficiency Exacerbates High-Fat Diet-Induced Adipocyte Hypertrophy and Insulin Resistance in Mice." Front. Pharmacol 11: 1285. doi: 10.3389/fphar (2020).

Huang, L. A., Huang, K. X., Tu, J., Kandeel, F., & Li, J. (2021). Ramatroban-Based Analogues Containing Fluorine Group as Potential 18F-Labeled Positron Emission Tomography (PET) G-Protein Coupled Receptor 44 (GPR44) Tracers. Molecules26(5), 1433.

Ding L, Zhang E, Yang Q, Jin L, Sousa KM, Dong B, Wang Y, Tu J, Ma X, Tian J, Zhang H. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy confers metabolic improvements by reducing intestinal bile acids and lipid absorption in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2021 Feb 9;118(6).

Xue H, Huang L, Tu J, Ding L, Huang W. Bile acids and metabolic surgery. Liver Research (2021) 5(3):164-170.

Shrivastava S, Ray R, Holguin L, Echavarria L, Grepo N, Scott T, Burnett J, Morris K. Exosome-mediated stable epigenetic repression of HIV-1. Nature Communications 12, 5541 (2021).

Holguin L, Echavarria L, Burnett J. Novel humanized-PMBC mouse model with delayed onset of GVHD for preclinical HIV research. J Virol (2021)

Chaturvedi S, Vasen G, Pablo M, Beutler N, Kumar A, Tanner E, Illouz S, Rahgoshay D, Burnett J, Holguin L, Chen P, Ndjamen B, Ott M, Rodick R, Rogers T, Smith D, Weinberger L. Identification of a therapeutic interfering particle-A single-dose SARS-CoV-2 antiviral intervention with a high barrier to resistance. Cell (2021) 184(25):6022-6036.

Li S, Holguin L, Burnett J. CRISP/Cas9-mediated gene disruption of endogenous co-receptors confers broad resistance to HIV-1 in human primary cells and humanized mice. Molecular Therapy (2022).

Where will vacancies be advertised?JAVMA; ASLAP; ACLAM
What month does the program begin?July (COH/BRI)/August (USC)

Living and Working

Starting Annual Salary$62,400
To what extent is travel to meetings, etc. paid for?AALAS annual meeting; Southern California Branch AALAS annual meeting: California Laboratory Animal Medicine Society annual meeting
Is individual health insurance provided?Yes
Is family health insurance provided?Yes
Describe any fees or tuitionTuition waived/$75 registration fee per semester (COH/BRI)
Describe the residents' responsibilities for night, weekend, and holiday coverageLaboratory Animal Medicine Fellows/Residents participate in the rotational veterinarian on-call night, weekend, and holiday coverage.
How many annual vacation days are given?17
How many annual sick days are given?10
Briefly describe the community

City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute (COH/BRI) is located in Duarte, California, a residential community of 22,000 in the San Gabriel Valley. Duarte is just 10 miles east of Pasadena and 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles, where the University of Southern California (USC) is located.

Nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, Duarte is a serene community in which to live and work. Within proximity to a variety of recreational activities, you can enjoy a day at the beach and skiing in the mountains in a single weekend. The subtropical and semi-arid climate offers year-round outdoor activity.

In this ethnically diverse Southern California region, one can explore the food and culture of peoples from different countries.  The COH/BRI and USC campuses have an international, cosmopolitan atmosphere, attracting talented scientists from all over the world.  Additionally, Southern California is home to many great universities, and COH/BRI and USC scientists collaborate with their colleagues at nearby institutions including Caltech, Loma Linda, UCLA, and UC Riverside.

Living in Southern California places you at the center of the local tourism and the entertainment industry, where each year millions of tourists visit Disneyland, Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios, and/or a major motion picture studio.  Southern California is a thriving cultural center with wonderful museums including the Getty Center, Norton Simon Museum, Huntington Library, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the California Science Center.  Nearby Pasadena hosts the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day and exciting street life in Old Town Pasadena.

Sports fans can enjoy professional baseball (Dodgers and Angels), basketball (Lakers and Clippers), football (Rams and Chargers), hockey (Kings and Ducks), and soccer (Galaxy). There are also outstanding collegiate sports teams

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