September 19, 2018

New Fall Bulletin

Our new fall bulletin is now available! Click here.

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: The Great Escape the Room – March 21st

Can you match wits with Sherlock Holmes? Test the deductive reasoning and puzzle solving skills of your team as you try to escape the room before the clock runs out! This Sherlock Holmes themed Escape the Room type event challenges your team to find clues and solve puzzles to find the key to a locked room. If you’ve already escaped Holmes’ library, challenge yourself to escaping Moriarty’s Gameroom. The game is not scary or claustrophobic, but demands your creative thinking skills. Holmes’ library has a 35% escape rate and Moriarty’s Gameroom has an 18% escape rate. Will you beat the odds?

Further details in the bulletin.

Event: Lowe Art Museum Tour – rescheduled to Feb 23rd

NOTE: This event is a rescheduling of the event originally scheduled for November 15th, 2017. All participants must reregister.

Join us on February 23rd for a wonderful tour of a beautiful art gallery! The Myrna and Sheldon Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Art is part of of the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami. This stunning gallery features $3.5 million glass and ceramic works of art. We will split into groups for docent led tours of different exhibits.

The Palley Pavilion was opened in 2008 as a gallery specifically built to display glass works. Designed by architect Ronald Mateu, locally based in Coral Gables, the 4,000 square foot space features art from the Palley private collection and other generous collectors.

The Nobel Prize and the Brain

This week, Nobel laureates from around the world gather in Sweden to receive their awards. During the week known as Nobel Week, winners will attend dinners, ceremonies, and concerts in their honor. They will meet Swedish royalty, deliver lectures to be broadcast across the globe, and receive their Nobel medals and diplomas as VIP guests of the Swedish government. Swept up in the excitement are 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 full 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: Florida Region Symposium – December 7th

The Florida Region of Brandeis National Committee presents:

MODERN TIMES
A Stimulating and Thought Provoking Symposium.
Using Study Guides Prepared by Brandeis University Professors

Thursday, Dec 7, 2017  10:00AM
South County Civic Center
1006 Jog Rd.
Delray Beach, Florida
$35 per person includes Continental Breakfast and Lunch

Professor Daniel Breen’s “Landmarks of the Fourth Amendment” presented by Ruth Manishin and Joan Roude explores the right of people to be “secure in their persons, houses, places, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures”.

Professor William Flesch’s  “The Plot Against America by Philip Roth” presented by Dr. Lydia Axelrod is a fictional analysis of Charles Lindbergh’s Ascendency to the Presidency.

Professor Jill Greenlee’s “Forging Political Opinion Over the Long & Short Haul” presented by Ronnie Gerstein will explore political learning & development over one’s lifetime, including the role of the media & political campaigns in shaping political opinion.

Name_______________________________   Chapter_______________________________

Email __________________________________    Phone__________________________________

Remit payment of $35.00 payable to BNC to Renee Kahn, 7295 Lombardy St. Boynton Beach, Fl. 33472

Any donation over $28 is a charitable contribution to Brandeis National Committee’s Scholarship Fund.

Any questions Contact Zelda Freedman  at zmf1@aol.com or (561) 373-9018

Mission Statement: Brandeis National Committee is dedicated to providing philanthropic support to Brandeis University, a distinguished liberal arts and research university founded by the American Jewish Community. Its membership is connected to the university through fundraising and through  activities that reflect the values on which the university was founded: academic excellence, social justice, nonsectarian and service to the community

 

 

Event: Tour the USCG Command Center – November 2nd

Join us on November 2nd on a tour of the US Coast Guard’s Command Center in Miami! We have been personally invited by Commander Captain Megan Dean of the USCG to tour the facility and learn about the role of the USCG. We will also have the chance to meet with Captain Dean once again.

The US Coast Guard is one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces and is the oldest continuing seagoing service in the States. They hold a unique position in the military branches and play a role in maritime homeland security, law enforcement, search and rescue, and environmental protection. This tour is to further our appreciation of the men and women of the USCG and the services they provide our community and country.

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.

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