July 17, 2018

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: His & Hers 3-Hour AIA Boat Tour – June 14

Join BNC Gotham on a boat trip around Manhattan, led by an American Institute of Architects guide, who will educate us on landmarks, icons, architecture, and engineering masterpieces of the city. This three hour trip will be both educational and fun as we cruise in style in a vintage, 1920s-style yacht around the island. Drinks and small snacks will be provided and we will be free to walk around the deck to take in the views.

This trip leaves at 1:30 from Pier 62 at the Chelsea Piers and returns at 4:30

Event: Yeshiva University Museum Tour – April 25th

Join BNC Gotham on April 25th for a tour of the Yeshiva University Museum. This museum, in connection to the University, is a celebration of Jewish work and accomplishments throughout history and around the world. The collection of 10,000 artifacts, exhibitions, programs, and installations attempt to capture the cultural, intellectual and artistic achievements of the Jewish people spanning 5,00 years. Exhibits feature fine art, folk art, clothing, textiles, ceremonial and ritual objects, historically significant documents, letters, photographs, and other objects of quotidian and significant events.

The museum is composed of four galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, a children’s studio workshop, and a discovery center. As a teaching museum, in concert with Yeshiva University, it provides unique opportunities and programs for research and learning.

Following our tour we will have lunch together at Serenata.

Please see the bulletin for more details and directions.

Event: Good Housekeeping Institute Tour – April 13th

Come explore the behind-the-scenes of Good Housekeeping on this tour of the Institute. Good Housekeeping, a health, life, and style magazine, is backed by the Good Housekeeping Institute where products are reviewed and tested. On our tour we will visit the labs, meet the experts, and learn about the testing and reviewing process.

Good Housekeeping was started in 1900 with the goal of providing it’s reader’s with the best information to create a happy healthy life. Before there were the food and safety regulations we enjoy today, there was Good Housekeeping. It was warning its readers about dangerous preservatives in food products and lead levels in children’s toys long before any legislation was in place. Truly a institution ahead of its time, Good Housekeeping went beyond product testing to advise readers on lifestyle and health choices, such exercise and diet instead of weight loss pills and installing seat belts in cars. The Institute’s findings helped create the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Food and Drug Administration, among other safety standards.

After the tour we will enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant together. Please see the Bulletin for further information.

Event: His & Hers NY Museum of Jewish Heritage Tour – March 22nd

Join us on this educational event on March 22nd. We will be touring the Core Exhibition of the NY Museum of Jewish Heritage in its entirety. Lead by a docent, we will explore the three floors the exhibit which includes Jewish Life a Century Ago, The War Against the Jews, and Jewish Renewal. The museum’s goal is to educate visitors of all background about Jewish heritage and life before, during, and after the Holocaust. Though it is a living memorial to the Holocaust, the museum makes a point of presenting life before and after,  proclaiming that the Jewish people are not defined solely by atrocity.

The museum covers from the 1880s to present day and features 800 artifacts and 2,000 photographs in the core exhibit alone. Other temporary exhibits will also be on view.

See the Bulletin for further details and directions.

Event: Alexander Hamilton US Custom House Tour – March 8th

BNC Gotham invites you to join us on this tour of the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House and the following luncheon. Come explore this beautiful, historic building and learn about its past as the duty collections point for the port of New York. Currently serving as the host of the National Museum of the American Indian on the first three floors, this seven story structure is a magnificent example of American Beaux Art design. Envisioned by Cass Gilbert, and completed in 1907, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. The inside is just as stunning as the exterior, complete with columns, statues, marble, and hand painted murals. This trip includes a visit to the Collector’s Office with woodwork from Tiffany Studios. This event is a must for architect enthusiasts and history buffs.

Following the Custom House we will take lunch at a restaurant in the area.

Please see the bulletin for further details.

Thanks and the Nobel Prize

From December 6th to the 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 to be 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.

Special Event: Professor Sarna at The Jewish Center, NYC – October 27th and 28th

Brandeis University invites you to a special event in New York City on October 27th and 28th. Join us at the Jewish Center’s Centennial Celebration that features Shabbat programming and The May and Samuel Rudin Lecture Series. The series’ speaker is Brandeis’ very own Dr. Jonathan Sarna, a professor in Brandeis’ Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department.

Friday Night Lecture and Oneg: The Immigration Clause that Changed American Orthodoxy

Shabbat Morning Public Lecture: 1917: The Year that Changed American Orthodoxy

Seudah Shlishit: A Historian’s Perspective on the Future of Modern Orthodoxy

Further details can be found on the Jewish Center’s website.

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