Students will gather in Alumni Park today to hear President Barack Obama speak at the “Moving American Forward” rally for senatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Boxer and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.Boxer is currently locked in a tight race for California’s senate seat against Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, while Brown is facing off against Republican Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay.The stop at USC is one of many for the president, who recently visited the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington.“The Democrats are trying dramatically to reconstitute the coalition that came out to vote in record numbers in 2008, and the youth vote was a significant part of that,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, an expert in state politics and a senior fellow at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development.Politicians across the nation are visiting campuses to raise support for Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm elections. Last week, former President Bill Clinton visited UCLA to raise votes for Brown and Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who is running for state lieutenant governor.Boxer is leading Fiorina in the polls with an expected 51 percent voter support, according to a recent poll conducted by USC and the Los Angeles Times.“This is the firewall. If Boxer goes, you can almost be firm that the Democrats will lose the senate,” Jeffe said. “This is a seat that should never get this close.”Jeffe said the race between Brown and Whitman was trending more toward a Brown victory, but it’s too early to tell.“Where Brown has made the most dramatic increase in support is among Latinos,” she said. “The question is whether that support turns into action in the polls.”Brown leads Whitman with 49 percent support, according to the USC/LAT poll.The purpose of Obama’s visit, Jeffe said, is to raise support for the election among Democratic voters.“Republicans appear to be more enthusiastic. If that happens, the Democrats are going to lose significant races,” she said.Micah Scheindlin, political director for the USC College Democrats, said he believed targeting college students is a smart move to get votes.“The president and the White House know they come here and they are going to get thousands of college students,” Scheindlin said. “I think that everyone claims that is the issue — that Democrats need to energize their base, and nothing energizes them like a rally.”Rally attendees can enter the event at 10 a.m. Obama will speak at 1:30 p.m. in Alumni Park. Actor and singer Jamie Foxx will perform.
The National Institute of Health’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) gave $19 million to the Keck School of Medicine’s Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute to help create a brain cell classification system, according to USC News. Their research will aid in understanding the human brain at a cellular level and gain insight into how brain cells and their interactions with each other aid brain function. “Once we know how these neurons interrelate, it will facilitate our understanding of what goes wrong in various diseases,” assistant research neurology professor Houri Hintiryan told USC News. Specifically, the neuroimaging institute’s research focuses on the anatomy of mouse brains, cataloging different types of mice brain cells based on how they connect with other cells in the brain, and what structures they form with each other, according to USC News. The BRAIN Initiative is a broader project launched by former President Barack Obama, which brings together federal agencies with private research institutions, like USC, to help revolutionize the study of the human brain, according to the BRAIN Initiative website.The USC team is joining the initiative’s Cell Census Network Consortium, a five-year collaboration with a specific focus on identifying and classifying brain cells, USC News said. Although the USC team is focusing on anatomy and structure, other teams in the consortium are tackling the classification through other angles, such as cell function and molecular properties.