Symposium Celebrating Ranjan Sen to be held January 30, 2016

senThe Biology department is cosponsoring an all-day symposium “Cellular and Molecular Immunology in Health and Disease” on Saturday, January 30. The symposium will be held in Gerstenzang 121 from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. This symposium celebrates Ranjan Sen’s 60th birthday and is organized by Sen’s Brandeis alumni.  This symposium is open to the public, although the breakfast and lunch are by invitation only and are not open to the public.

The list of speakers includes:

  • Sen_Symposium_2016_FINALFredrick Alt, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
  • Dipanjan Chowdhury, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
  • David Schatz, Ph.D., Yale School of Medicine
  • Stephen Desiderio, M.D., Ph.D., John Hopkins Medicine
  • Sankar Ghosh, Ph.D., Columbia University
  • Barbara Nikolajczyk, Ph.D., Boston University
  • Stephen Smale, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • Joel Pomerantz, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Rudolf Grosschedl, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute, Germany
  • Batu Erman, Ph.D., Sabanci University, Turkey
  • Christina Jamieson, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
  • Yehudit Bergman, Ph.D., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

More information about this event is available.

 

MassBio Info Session to be held February 8 from 2:30 to 3:30 PM

MassBioFlyer800MassBio represents over 670 companies, both biotech/pharma and life science service providers, and its goal is to advance the life science industry by providing great resources to its members and by being an advocate for the industry. Brandeis is a member of MassBio and as such members can benefit from  great savings on the lab and office supplies. In addition, member companies have access to FREE visibility opportunities with MassBio’s website and social media platforms. However, there are many additional benefits that Brandeis students and faculty can take full advantage of as  individuals.

We have access to FREE networking and professional development opportunities through their regularly scheduled Forums and Mixers.  Members also receive individual discounts on local businesses and restaurants through their Employee Perks Program. And, each person at Brandeis can sign up for their own Member Portal Account to access great resources such as live-streamed Forums, archives of recorded Forums and a Knowledge Base of white papers.

Why Fire Is Hot

A recent paper by K. Schmidt-Rohr (Chemistry) answered the question why combustion reactions are always exothermic.  Every scientist should be able to explain what makes fire hot, but neither chemistry nor combustion textbooks have provided a valid answer. Schmidt-Rohr’s analysis shows that the reason lies in the double bond in O2, which is much weaker than other double bonds or pairs of single bonds in the biosphere, so that the formation of the stronger bonds in CO2 and H2O results in the release of heat. The bond energies in the fuel play only a minor role; e.g., the total bond energy of CH4 is nearly the same as that of CO2. A systematic analysis of bond energies gives the heat of combustion close to –418 kJ (i.e., –100 kcal) per mol O2, in good agreement (±3%) with data for >500 organic compounds; the heat of condensation of H2O (–44 kJ per mol H2O(l)) is also included in the analysis. For 268 molecules with ≥8 carbon atoms, the standard deviation is even smaller, 2.1%. For a fuel of composition CcHhOoNn, this gives DcH ≈ -418 kJ (c + 0.3 h – 0.5 o), which enables instant estimates of heats of combustion simply from the elemental composition, even for complex mixtures of unknown molecular composition, and explains principles of biofuels production. The analysis indicates that O2, rather than fuels like octane, H2, ethanol, or glucose, is the crucial “energy-rich” molecule. It also challenges common notions about a relation between the oxidation state and the energy content of biomolecules.

BlogCombustExotherm.0116

One then needs to explain why O2 is abundant in air despite its high enthalpy: All the O2 in the earth’s atmosphere has been produced by photosynthesis in cyanobacteria, algae, and higher plants, as a by-product of photosynthetic proton and electron production from H2O. The “price” of the production of O2, which is energetically so unfavorable, is paid by plants and algae (with “cheap” energy from the sun) in order to be able to live wherever H2O is present. So one can conclude that atmospheric O2 stores solar energy that sustains us with every breath we take.

Schmidt-Rohr K. Why Combustions Are Always Exothermic, Yielding About 418 kJ per Mole of O-2. J Chem Educ. 2015;92(12):2094-9.

DIY your own Programmable Illumination Microscope

The Fraden Group describes how to build your own Programmable Illumination Microscope in the American Journal of Physics

Have you ever marveled at the equipment used in a research lab? Have you ever wondered how a specialized piece of equipment was made? Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to build your own research microscope? Have you ever considered trying to make your own research microscope? The details on how the Fraden Group builds their Programmable Illumination Microscope for under $4000 was recently published in the American Journal of Physics.

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The Programmable Illumination Microscope or PIM is a highly specialized microscope where the illumination for the sample being imaged comes from a modified commercial projector, nearly identical to the ones mounted in every classroom. For the PIM the lens that projects the image onto the screen is removed and replaced with optics (often the same lens in reverse) that shrinks the image down so that it can be focused through the microscope objective onto the sample. The light coming from the projector, which is the illumination source for the microscope, can be modified in realtime based on the image being captured by the camera. Thus the illumination is not only programmable but can also be algorithmic and provide active feedback.

This new publication in the American Journal of Physics, which is published by the American Association of Physics Teachers, is intended to help small teaching and research labs across the country develop their own PIMs to be built and used by undergraduate students. The paper includes schematics and parts lists for the hardware as well as instructions and demonstration code for the software. Any other questions can be directed to the authors Nate Tompkins and Seth Fraden.

2016 Summer MRSEC Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SMURF)

The Division of Science wishes to announce that, in 2016, we will offer five Summer MRSEC Undergraduate Research Fellowships for Brandeis students doing undergraduate research, sponsored by the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

The due date for applications is February 24, 2016, at 6:00 PM EST.

SMURF Fellowships will provide $5000 in stipend support to allow students to do summer research in MRSEC labs (housing support is not included). Students are eligible if they will be rising Brandeis sophomores, juniors, or seniors in Summer 2016 (classes of ’17, ’18, and ’19). No prior lab experience is required. A commitment from a Brandeis MRSEC member to serve as your mentor in Summer 2016 is required.

mrsec-studentThe Division of Science Summer Program will run from May 31 – August 5, 2016. Recipients are expected to be available to do full time laboratory research during that period, and must commit to presenting a poster at the final poster session (SciFest VI) on Aug 4, 2016. Five positions are available.

To apply, the application form is online: http://goo.gl/forms/ksygMGGu3p (Brandeis login required).

Questions that are not answered in the online FAQ may be addressed to Steven Karel <divsci at brandeis.edu>. Additionally, there will be a question-and-answer session about summer research funding applications on Thursday, Jan 14 at 5 pm in Gerstenzang 123.

Nature News Feature Highlights Dogic Lab Active Matter Research

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Biological material is constantly consuming energy to make things move, organize information such as DNA, or divide cells for reproduction; but building a fundamental theory which encompasses all of the features of biological matter is no easy task. The burgeoning field of active matter aims to understand these complex biological phenomena through physics. Active matter research has seen rapid growth over the last decade, but linking existing active matter theories with experimental tests has not been possible until recently. An explosion of biologically based and synthetic experimental systems as well as more detailed theories have arrived in recent years, and some of these foundational experiments have been conducted here at Brandeis University. Recently, a Nature News Feature (The Physics of Life) has highlighted work from Zvonimir Dogic’s lab in an article about the field of active matter and the physics which endeavors to understand biology.

 

Research Funding For Undergrads: Div Sci SURF

The Division of Science announces the opening of the Division of Science Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship competition for Brandeis students doing undergraduate research in Summer 2016.  These fellowships are funded by generous alumni donations.

The due date for applications  is February 24, 2016,  at 6:00 PM EST.

Division of Science Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows will receive $5000 in stipend support to do summer research (housing support is not included). Students who will be rising Brandeis sophomores, juniors, or seniors in Summer 2016 (classes of ’17, ’18, and ’19), who in addition are working in a lab in the Division of Science at the time of application, are eligible to apply. A commitment from a Brandeis faculty member to serve as your mentor in Summer 2016 is required.

The Division of Science Summer Program will run from May 31 – Aug 5, 2016. Recipients are expected to be available to do full time laboratory research during that period, and must commit to presenting a poster at the final poster session (SciFest VI) on Aug 4, 2016.

The application form is online (Brandeis login required). Questions that are not answered in the online FAQ may be addressed to Steven Karel <divsci at brandeis.edu>.

There will be a question-and-answer session about summer research funding applications on Thursday, Jan 14 at 5 pm in Gerstenzang 123

Research Funding for Undergrads: M. R. Bauer Fellows

The Division of Science is pleased to announce that a generous gift from the M. R. Bauer Foundation will fund ten M. R. Bauer Foundation Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (“M. R. Bauer Fellows”) in Summer 2016. The due date for applications  is February 24, 2016 at 6:00 PM EST. 

M. R. Bauer Fellows will receive $5000 as a stipend in support of their summer research (housing support is not included). Students who will be rising Brandeis sophomores, juniors, or seniors in Summer 2016 (classes of ’17, ’18, and ’19), are eligible to apply. A commitment from a Brandeis Division of Science faculty member to serve as mentor in Summer 2016 on a project leading to a senior thesis is required.

The Division of Science Summer Program will run from May 31 to Aug 5, 2016. M. R. Bauer Fellows are expected to be available to do full time laboratory research during that period, and must commit to presenting a poster at the final poster session (SciFest VI) on August 4, 2016. M.R. Bauer Fellows are also expected to give back to the University in ways that promote science and research.

The application form is online (Brandeis login required). Questions that are not answered in the online FAQ may be addressed to Steven Karel <divsci at brandeis.edu>.

IMG_1293The M.R. Bauer Foundation has been a generous and steadfast friend of the Volen National Center for Complex Systems for over 20 years. Established at Brandeis University in 1994, the Volen Center brings together faculty, students and postdocs from across the sciences with a common goal of understanding the brain, from the level of molecules to cognition.

The foundation recognizes that the advancement of science takes place not only in the lab, but in the seminar room and lecture hall, and in the countless conversations that help to spread ideas and spark new research. The size and intimate setting of the Volen Center has made it an ideal environment for forging connections among investigators from diverse fields.  A central part of these connections is the M.R. Bauer Foundation Colloquium Series, Distinguished Lecturer Series, and Annual Scientific Retreat program. This support has now been substantially widened through this new program of supporting undergraduates in summer research, which will enable greater participation by the youngest group of Brandeis researchers.

There will be a question-and-answer session about summer research funding applications on Thursday, Jan 14 at 5 pm in Gerstenzang 123

 

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