Irving Epstein Interviewed by NPR about Alan Turing

Alan_Turing_photob_0Irving Epstein, Professor of Chemistry, was recently interviewed by NPR about Alan Turing and a paper (Testing Turing’s theory of morphogenesis in chemical cells) that he co-authored with Nathan Tompkins, Ning Li, Camille Girabawe, Michael Heymann, Seth Fraden and G. Bard Ermentrout earlier this year. The paper discussed an experiment that they performed that confirmed and improved upon Alan Turing’s theory about morphogenesis.

Alan Turing is credited with inventing the modern computer and breaking the German Enigma code during World War II. That work is spotlighted in the upcoming movie titled “The Imitation Game”. After World War II, Turing turned his focus to biology. He investigated how a single embryonic cell develops into a complex organism with hundreds of different kinds of cells. He wrote The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis in 1952.

Listen to the interview …

Mitosis: One Polo controls it all

On November 6, 2014, Cell Cycle published a paper from the Yoshida lab entitled “The budding yeast Polo-like kinase Cdc5 is released from the nucleus in anaphase for timely mitotic exit.” This study was authored by Vladimir V. Botchkarev Jr., Valentina Rossio, and Satoshi Yoshida.

The cell cycle is one of the most fundamental biological processes whose ultimate goal is cell division with equal content of DNA in both daughter cells. The process of cell division is regulated by many intracellular events which must occur in a sequential order. These events include mitotic entry, faithful chromosome segregation, mitotic exit, and cytokinesis. Over the past 25 years, the Polo-like kinase (Polo) has been established to play important regulatory roles in each of these processes. Although many mitotic substrates of Polo have been discovered, the mechanism by which Polo can coordinate all of these mitotic events has remained largely elusive.

To understand the mechanism by which Polo can target its many substrates in a sequential order during mitosis, we decided to study the budding yeast Polo kinase Cdc5, which has high conservation with the human Polo-like kinase 1.

We found that Cdc5-GFP dynamically changes its localization during the cell cycle: Cdc5 is found in the cytoplasm in S- through early G2-phase, it accumulates in the nucleus at metaphase, and is released again to the cytoplasm in anaphase. Blocking nuclear import of Cdc5 in metaphase leads to a prolonged metaphase duration, suggesting that nuclear Cdc5 is required for chromosome segregation. In contrast, blocking nuclear release of Cdc5 in anaphase results in a prolonged anaphase duration, a defect in activation of the cytoplasmic Mitotic Exit Network, and a defect in cytokinesis. This indicates that Cdc5 is released from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in anaphase for timely mitotic exit and cytokinesis. We further found that activation of the Cdc14 phosphatase, a known nuclear substrate of Cdc5, is required for Cdc5 nuclear release in anaphase.

Collectively, our work reveals that the budding yeast Polo-like kinase Cdc5 controls the timing of mitotic events by dynamically changing its sub-cellular localization. Furthermore, our data suggests the existence of a positive feedback look between Cdc5 and Cdc14 to regulate timely mitotic exit. Read more

MRSEC Retreat, November 21, 2014

On Friday, November 21, 2014, the MRSEC will hold an on-campus retreat. The research goal of the MRSEC is to learn how materials are incorporated in biological systems and likewise how biological structures act as materials with highly desirable properties that can be exploited in engineering. The first part of the retreat will be a joint event with the Biochem/Biophys Friday seminar that takes place at 11:15am – 12:15pm. A lunch will be provided and in the afternoon there will be 3 talks by MRSEC students and postdocs. Wrapping up the day is a BREW session / social hour.

MRSEC Retreat Schedule Friday, November 21, 2014

11:15-12:15 pm Gerstenzang 121 (Talks: Avi Rodal & Zvonimir Dogic) “Membrane Based Materials”
12:30-1:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center 236, 2nd Floor (Lunch)
1:30-2:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center Theater, 1st Floor (Talks: Fiodar Hilitski, Adam Johnston, Ye Zhang)
2:30-4:30 pm Shapiro Campus Center Art Gallery 317, 3rd Floor (BREW: Denise LeBlanc, Steve DeCamp)
BREW: Brainstorming Research Education Workshop. We will identify the most exciting research conducted by the MRSEC and design a hands-on activity to be presented at the Acton Discovery Museum that is suitable for 4 – 8 year old children and their parents.

Eve Marder Receives SfN Award

marderEve Marder, PhD, from Brandeis University and Richard Olivo, PhD, from Smith College will receive the Award for Education in Neuroscience from the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). The award will be presented at Neuroscience 2014, SfN’s annual meeting to be held on November 15-19 in Washington, DC.

The $5,000 prize will be split between Drs. Marder and Olivo. It recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training. Dr. Marder played a critical role in the establishment of one of the first undergraduate neuroscience training programs at Brandeis almost 25 years ago. Since then, she has continued to provide advice and support at all academic levels.

Read the SfN press release to learn more about this prestigious award.


Brandeis will host Gene Expression and RNA Seminar (GEARS) meeting this October

Gene Expression and RNA Seminars (GEARS) club is a monthly event that includes scientific talks on the Gene Expression, RNA and Chromatin. Every month it is held at a different institute in the Boston area.

Brandeis University will be hosting the October GEARS meeting on Thursday, October 30 in Rosenstiel 118 from 6:30 – 7.30 PM and will feature three talks from Boston area researchers.  After the talks, there will be a social hour. This event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Speakers List:

“Hijacking an editing enzyme to reveal the targets of RNA-binding proteins”
Aoife McMahon, PhD, Rosbash lab, Brandeis University

“Genome protection against transposons by the piRNA amplifier complex”
Jordi Xiol, PhD, Moazed lab, Harvard Medical School

“Linking cancer metabolism, DNA repair and epigenetics: SIRT6 provides some clues”
Raul Mostoslavsky, PhD, Associate Professor, MGH Cancer Center/Harvard Medical School/Broad Institute

GEARS Club is generously supported with the help of New England Biolabs and Cell Signaling Technology.
This event is also co-sponsored by the Brandeis Biology Office.

For more information please visit:
Twitter @gearsclub

Pioneering geneticist Frederick Alt ’71 wins 44th Rosenstiel Award

Geneticist Frederick Alt ’71 will be awarded the 44th Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Biomedical Science by Brandeis University for his pioneering research exploring the mechanisms of genomic instability and its implications for the immune system and cancer cells. Alt is the second alumnus to win the Rosenstiel Award; the first, Rod McKinnon ’78, won the Rosenstiel in 1999 and went onto win the Nobel Prize in 2003. Learn more on Brandeis Now …

Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Meeting, Nov 8

Brandeis will host the 16th annual Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Meeting (GBASM) on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, from 9:30-3:00. GBASM is a workshop that brings together researchers interested in statistical mechanics, nonlinear dynamics, condensed matter physics, biophysics, and related topics for a day of presentations and discussions.  The meeting consists of four invited talks (30 min.), and a larger number of contributed “table talks”.

The four invited speakers for this year are:

The contributed talks will follow the format we adopted last year. Instead of three minute talks with a limited time for questions, contributors will give a brief announcement of their work in the lecture hall. We will then move to the adjacent room where each contributor will sit at a table with their laptop or tablet and discuss their research with interested participants. This format will eliminate the expense associated with posters and provide greater feedback to contributors. The time preparing for a “table talk” should be similar to preparing for a short talk.

The cost of the meeting is subsidized by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Brandeis University; the Department of Physics, Boston University; the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Harvard University. Thanks to these subsidies, bagels, coffee, tea, and lunch will be provided at no cost if you register by the deadline of Saturday, Nov. 1.

More information   |  Registration


New England Complex Fluids Workshop this Friday, September 19

Next Friday, September 19, is the New England Complex Fluids Workshop at Brandeis. The workshop’s objective is to exchange information and encourage collaboration among researchers from industry and academe studying Soft Materials. Please consider presenting a “soundbite” consisting of a 4 minute update on your research in the form of 4 powerpoint slides. The soundbite concept is to present ongoing work, rather than completed projects.  It is the 60th meeting of NECFW, which has members from 15 regional universities and is a good opportunity for you to show your work to an audience from outside of Brandeis.  Registration is required at New England Complex Fluids Workshop, but free.
Thank you.
60th New England Complex Fluids Workshop
Shapiro Campus Center Theater
Brandeis University
September 19, 2014
Registration & Coffee: 9:00 – 9:30 AM
Shapiro Campus Center, Room 236.
2 Talks: 9:30AM – 11:00 AM, Shapiro Theater (30 minutes + 10 discussion)
9:30 AM – Eric Brown, Engineering, Yale
 Dynamic behavior of shear thickening suspensions
10:15 AM – Jorn Dunkel, Math, MIT (30 minutes + 10 discussion)
Hydrodynamics and control of microbial swimming
Coffee: 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Shapiro Center, Room 236
Sound Bites: 11:30 – 12:30 PM, Shapiro Theater
Four minute updates of current research
Lunch: 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Shapiro Center, Room 236
2 Talks: 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Shapiro Theater
1:30 PM – Alexandra Zidovska, Physics, NYU (30 min + 10 discussion)
Positional Fluctuations of Interphase Chromatin
2:15 PM – Erkan Tuzel, Physics, WPI (30 min + 10 discussion)
 Cooperative intracellular transport by populations of different kinesin motors
Coffee: 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Shapiro Center, Room 236
Sound Bites: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Shapiro Theater
Four minute updates of current research
Registration (free) required:
Registration deadline: 8am, September 17, 2014
Sponsored by the Brandeis University NSF MRSEC: Bioinspired Soft Materials

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