November 15, 2018

Announcement: Louis Brandeis Award

We are very excited to announce that the BNC Greater Boston chapter has won the Louis Brandeis Award for 2018. This award recognizes the achievements of the chapter in various areas over the past year including meeting financial and membership goals, running study groups with Brandeis authored study guides, hosting a University on Wheels program, serving the community, and participating in leadership development training, among other criteria.

We would like to thank all of our members and chapter leadership for their support of Brandeis University and enthusiastic participation in chapter activities. We look forward to spending another wonderful year learning, exploring, and supporting Brandeis together.

Announcement: Magnify the Mind

Brandeis has long had one of the best neuroscience programs in the country. Nobel Prize winner Michael Rosbash, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient Gina Turrigiano and world-renowned neuroscientist Eve Marder are all pioneers in the field. Their breakthroughs have helped transform our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and autism.

But to remain cutting edge — and continue to make advances in our understanding of human health — Brandeis needs to upgrade its microscopes. The university currently owns an aging fluorescence microscope that uses a technique called two-photon excitation to image intact brain circuitry in the living brain. This technique has allowed Brandeis researchers to study how genes and experience interact to produce functioning brain circuits. However, this equipment is no longer state-of-the-art because it uses old and slow scanning technology that takes only one image per second. This speed severely limits the type of research questions that can be answered.

The Brandeis National Committee would like to provide Brandeis with a next generation resonant scanning two-photon microscope. This new technology would enable Brandeis researchers to take 30 to 50 images per second. This increase in speed can be used to observe the brain much closer to its native processing speed, or can be used to take many photographs of the same tissue that can be averaged together to create very high resolution views, allowing Brandeis researchers to study structures as small as single synapses in the living brain.

Brain plasticity — how neurons react to changes in the environment — is one of the most important areas in brain research, understanding what brings about changes in behavior. When the processes responsible for plasticity malfunction, it can give rise to neurodegenerative illnesses. Resonant scanning will generate a trove of new insights and data to understanding why this happens.

Researchers at Brandeis will further be able to explore the role of molecules, dendrites and synapses in the brain and reveal operating principles. The Brandeis National Committee’s campaign to raise $500,000, launches July 1, 2018. Contact 781-736-7588 to donate today.

View the video here.

Brandeis News: $1 Million Grant for Science

Brandeis University has been awarded a $1 million, 5-year grant from The Howard Hughs Medical Institute (HHMI) to aid in fostering undergraduate diversity in the sciences. The funding will help the Brandeis support undergraduates in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — especially those students who are first generation college students, from low-income backgrounds and military veterans.

Brandeis is one of 33 institutions of higher educations to receive the HHMI Inclusive Excellence award this year for its commitment to increase its capacity for inclusion. Part of the funding will be used to continue the success of the Science Posse program which focuses on attracting and retaining talented, underrepresented student in science.  Another part of the grant will go towards the Galaxy Program, a mentoring program intended to provide extra support and guidance to undergraduate students in the early stages of a scientific education.

These programs, as well as initiatives enabled by the grant, will further Brandeis’ commitment to social justice by helping all talent shine through in the sciences field, regardless of background.

We would like to thank all of our BNC members for your continued support of Brandeis’ sciences and libraries. Your generosity makes it possible for students from all walks of life to excel even when grants are not available.

Read the full article here.

Summer Reading Recommendations

As we officially enter summer, we hope all our members have some time to kick back and enjoy the sun. What better way to enjoy the warmth (or the AC) than with a good book? Brandeis University has released its list of summer reading recommendations from various professors and librarians. This extensive list ranges from historical and political analysis, to graphic novels and crime thrillers.

Here is the list:

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker by Kathy Cramer and recommended by Jill Greenlee, Associate Professor of Politics.

No Fire in the Ashes: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore and recommended by Chad Williams, Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History

The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire Series #1) by Craig Johnson and recommended by Matthew Sheehy, University librarian

In the Skin of a Jihadist: A Young Journalist Enters the ISIS Recruitment Network by Anna Erelle and recommended by Jytte Klausen, Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation

Biogea by Michel Serres and Highway Kind by Justine Kurland, both recommended by Peter Kalb, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art on the Cythia L.and Theodore S. Berenson Chair and Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward Sorel and recommended by Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies

Haifa: City of Steps by Nili Scharf Gold, Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s by Marc Dollinger, and The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropmand and Sonya Gropman, recommended by Sylvia Fuks Fried, Director of Publications at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and Executive Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

 

See the original article for further details about each book.

Event at Brandeis: Looted Art for Sale – March 21st

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2018

We invite you to this interdisciplinary conference that will provide an international perspective on the last twenty years of art recovery. Our invited guests include former Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, a primary leader in the creation of U. S. restitution policies, Hector Feliciano ‘74, Nicholas O’Donnell, Professor Meike Hoffmann, Victoria Reed, Inge Reist, and Lucian Simmons. The filmmaker, John Friedman, will screen excerpts from his forthcoming documentary on Tuesday evening, March 20th (6:30pm), in Edie & Lew Wasserman Cinematheque, “Restitution: Art and Memory.”

RSVP for Film Screening

RSVP for Looted Art for Sale Conference

Katy Graddy and Nancy Scott

Looted Art for Sale will be sponsored by the Brandeis Center for German and European Studies, the Rosenberg Institute of Global Finance at Brandeis International Business School, the Mandel Center for the Humanities and the Department of Fine Arts.

For more information visit http://www.brandeis.edu/looted-art-for-sale/index.html

Thanks and the Nobel Prize

Last month, from December 6th – 12th, Nobel laureates from around the world gathered in Sweden to receive their awards. During the week known as Nobel Week, winners attended dinners, ceremonies, and concerts in their honor. They met Swedish royalty, delivered lectures which were broadcast across the globe, and received their Nobel medals and diplomas as VIP guests of the Swedish government. Swept up in the excitement were Michael Rosbash and Jeff Hall, biologists from the Brandeis community.

Rosbash, currently a professor in Brandeis’ biology department, and Hall, a professor emeritus of biology, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Michael Young of Rockefeller University. While winning the most prestigious prize in the world and the various perks that come with it (such as a personal attaché, first-class trip to Sweden, and intellectual celebrity status) is exciting, it is far from the main reason for Rosbash and Hall’s work. Their discovery of the fundamental workings of the circadian rhythm have far reaching implications, especially in the medical world. The circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock, has connections to many bodily functions including sleep cycles, hormone balances, enzyme production, body temperature, and metabolism. This internal clock is also connected to several neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have linked chronic sleep disorders with higher levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, while Parkinson’s is often marked by sleep disorders. Three quarters of patients with Parkinson’s disease have a sleep disorder and disordered sleeping may be an early indicator of the disease. It is necessary to understand the body’s underlying workings in order to develop targeted treatments. Foundational research like Rosbash and Hall’s is critical for advancing medical knowledge.

As the scientific and medical communities, and the world acknowledge the significance of Rosbash and Hall’s discovery, the two biologists recognize Brandeis University’s role in their research as a whole. Not only was Brandeis the place they met, but its collaborative, intellectual environment and financial support allowed them to perform critical research. In a time when pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on research coming out of universities; government funding for scientific research is more competitive than ever; and research in flashier, more profitable areas is more attractive; Brandeis provides a haven for an exploratory approach to the base questions, without which we can never fully answer the bigger questions. Brandeis University’s attention to foundational research and specialization in neuroscience fosters an environment of research and discovery for both faculty and students. Cognizant of the costs of research, the University provides financial support in the form of grants, fellowships, and scholarships, allowing minds like Roshash and Hall’s to stretch and push the limits of conventional science.

We must also recognize the role the Brandeis National Committee plays in Brandeis’ science. Through funding campaigns, and general support for the libraries and scientific journals, BNC members ensure Brandeis scientists have access to the resources and stability necessary to perform quality work. The Sustaining the Mind Fund for research in neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases and scholarships in science specifically targets the needs of Brandeis’ science departments. Without the generous support of BNC members research into these diseases and progress towards their treatment and cure would be significantly slowed, and the future less secure. So in addition to congratulating Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their Nobel Prize, the Brandeis community and the Brandeis National Committee would like to recognize the role our members play and extend our thanks for your support in this meaningful discovery.

2018 Winter Bulletin

The Winter 2018 Bulletin is here! We have lots of exciting events and learning opportunities arranged for our members this season. As ever, we make an effort to include a variety of topics to ensure there is something of interest for everyone. Topics include the ever anticipated spring Book and Author Luncheon, museum tours, art appreciation, film, history, literature discussion groups, and Brandeis campus events. The bulletin also includes important contact information and forms. Check it out below!

2018 Winter Bulletin

Special Event: 18th Annual Holiday Reception – December 10th

The Alumni Club of Greater Boston would like to invite BNC members to join Brandeis Alumni at their 18th Annual Holiday Reception at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. This is a unique chance to learn about JFK and his family from Brandeis experts while exploring the library and museum after hours.

Our featured speakers will be Karen Adler Abramson ’85, the director of archives at the library and museum, and Brandeis Professor Eileen McNamara.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres and a drink will be served.

RSVP by Monday December 4th. 

See more details here.

 

Brandeis News: Brandeis Professors Win Nobel Prize

Left to right: Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey C. Hall. Photo by Mark Lovett.

On October 2nd the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall, and Michael Young for their research on circadian rhythms. This year’s award is especially exciting as Rosbash and Hall share a history of teaching and research in Brandeis’ biology department in addition to being the first long-term Brandeis faculty to win the Nobel Prize. Rosbash, whose research continues in the labs of the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, is a current professor at Brandeis while Hall has retired to Maine. Young is currently on the faculty of Rockefeller University.

Rosbash and Hall met at Brandeis in the 1970s striking up a friendship over basketball. This friendship evolved into a working partnership in the biology labs researching circadian rhythms using fruit flies as a model organism. The work that won them the Nobel Prize was the discovery of molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm, colloquially known as the biological clock or body clock, is the 24-hour physiological cycle that regulates certain internal processes. It plays a role in when we go to sleep, wake up, and feel hungry, as well as hormone balances and other brain activity. In 1984, Rosbash and Hall successfully sequenced the per gene which led to discovering its control over PER protein production. The per gene triggers the production of messenger RNA (mRNA) which carries information out of the cell nucleus. The information from the mRNA triggers PER protein production which peaks just before dawn and then declines until the protein is undetectable by night time. PER protein molecules then travel back into the nucleus, repress their own synthesis, and degrade. The decay causes the per gene to make mRNA, beginning the cycle over. The process was a mystery until Rosbash and Hall came along and connected the dots. Understanding the mechanisms behind the circadian rhythm has opened the door to a host of possible applications. Some mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes have been linked to issues with the circadian rhythm. Rosbash and Hall’s work could potentially lead to better treatments for these diseases as well as applications in plant science and environmental science.

Both men commented on Brandeis’ unusually collaborative atmosphere which allowed for such scientific innovation. The school’s small size and interdisciplinary values encourage interaction between departments resulting in collaborations drawing from many sources. Rosbash also acknowledged the hard work, creativity, and brains of Brandeis students in his work, undergraduate as well as graduate. Brandeis students of all levels often have the opportunity to work alongside professors on ground-breaking research, a chance students at many other schools only get at the graduate level. Rosbash, who regularly hires around 12 students a year, is known around the lab as a wonderful mentor with a knack for fostering talent.

The Brandeis National Committee would like to congratulate Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall on their win, and warmly thank our members for your continued support of Brandeis, its libraries, sciences, and scholarships. Your support makes it possible for students to learn from the great minds of today, such as Rosbash and Hall, and work towards the solutions of the future.

Read more about the professors in Brandeis NOW.

Read the Nobel Prize press release.

Fall Bulletin

The BNC Boston Fall Bulletin is here! If you haven’t checked it out yet we highly recommend you do. This bulletin is jam-packed with exciting activities for our members this season including:

  • An Author Luncheon
  • Art Adventures
  • Potpourri
  • Study Groups
  • BNC leadership contact information
  • Community involvement information

Check out the Bulletin here!

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