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 …
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:
- Maria Kilfoil, UMass Amherst
- Tom Powers, Brown University
- Eugene Shakhnovich, Harvard University
- Adam P. Willard, MIT
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.
Registration (free) required: http://complexfluids.org/Registration deadline: 8am, September 17, 2014Sponsored by the Brandeis University NSF MRSEC: Bioinspired Soft Materials
Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience will be publishing an interesting paper written by Honi Sanders and John Lisman (with co-authors Brian E. Kolterman, Roman Shusterman, Dmitry Rinberg, Alexei Koulakov) titled, “A network that performs brute-force conversion of a temporal sequence to a spatial pattern: relevance to odor recognition“. Honi Sanders has written a preview of this paper.
by Honi Sanders
There are many occasions in which the brain needs to process information that is provided in a sequence. These sequences may be externally generated or internally generated. For example, in the case of understanding speech, where words that come later may affect the meaning of words that come earlier, the brain must somehow store the sentence it is receiving long enough to process the sentence as a whole. On the other hand, sequences of information also are passed from one brain area to another. In these cases too the brain must store the sequence it is receiving long enough to process the message as a whole.
One such sequence is generated by the olfactory bulb, which is the second stage of processing of the sense of smell. While individual cells in the olfactory bulb will fire bursts in response to many odors, the order in which they fire is specific to an individual odor. How such a sequence can be recognized as a specific odor remains unclear. In Sanders et al, we present experimental evidence that the sequence is discrete and therefore contains a relatively small number of sequential elements; each element is represented in a given cycle of the gamma frequency oscillations that occur during a sniff. This raises the possibility of a “brute force” solution for converting the sequence into a spatial pattern of the sort that could be recognized by standard “attractor” neural networks. We present computer simulations of model networks that have modules; each model can produce a persistent snapshot of what occurs during a given gamma cycle. In this way, the unique properties of the sequence can be determined at the end of sniff by the spatial pattern of cell firing in all modules.
The authors thank Brandeis University High Performance Computing Cluster for cluster time. This work was supported by the NSF Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience, NSF IGERT, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Schedule for GTG Retreat
|9:30-10:30||Ron Weiss (MIT, Dept. of Biological Engineering)
“Synthetic biology: from parts to modules to therapeutic systems.”
|11:00-12:00||Timothy Lu (MIT, Dept. of Biology Engineering)
“Synthetic biology for human health applications.”
|1:30-2:30||William Shih (Wyss Institute)
“DNA nanostructures as building blocks for molecular biophysics and future therapeutics.”
|2:30-3:30||Ahmad Khalil (Boston University, Biomedical Engineering)
“Building molecular assemblies to control the flow of biological information.”
Shapiro Science Center 2nd floor.
All life sciences students are invited to present.
Institutional Betrayal: The case of Campus Sexual Assault
Presented by Prof. Jennifer Freyd
University of Oregon
Department of Psychology
Friday, September 12, 2:00 PM
Sachar International Center, Wasserman Cinematheque
Co-sponsored by The Department of Psychology, The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, The Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences
Hosted by Prof. Ray Knight
The following is Susan’s email:
“I am pleased to announce that John Wardle will be the new Head of the Division of Science. John is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics and is a former chair of the Physics department. In his new role he will oversee science-wide programs and initiatives, including the summer undergraduate research program and will work with Division of Science faculty and staff to identify new directions for the division. I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this role and I hope that you will join with me in welcoming him.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Eve Marder who, as the first Head of the Division, created and steered many of the priorities of the Division. During her time as Head, Eve ably represented the Sciences at Brandeis and beyond, worked to make the Summer Undergraduate Science Program a flourishing success, changed the way we trained students and postdocs in the ethical conduct of research, and worked tirelessly to secure funding and recognition for the Sciences. Thank you Eve!”
The guidelines for selecting the neuroscientists include: leadership, applicability (neuroscientists that have created technologies that have improved people’s lives); awards & recognition by the international science community and other notable accomplishments such as personal or educational achievements.