The Volen Center Turns 25 Years Old

Construction of Volen Center

Since its construction at the heart of the Brandeis campus, the Volen National Center for Complex Systems has been a key focal point of the Brandeis campus. The structure was dedicated on October 20, 1994 and has served as a gateway to the Brandeis Science Complex for the past 25 years. Planning for the construction of the building began in 1989 with funding from the federal government. Additional funding from the government and donations from benefactors followed. The total cost of construction was over $31 million.

The Center’s primary focus is the study of one of the most complex of complex systems – the human brain and mind. When the Volen Center was formed in 1989, its mission statement was “to advance our understanding of cognitive processes, perceptions, neuroscience, and the development and application of parallel computer systems.” As part of this mission, a retreat was first held in May 1989. This retreat has evolved into the annual Volen Retreat. True to the collaborative focus of the Center, the Volen Retreat includes talks from multiple disciplines of Brandeis faculty. Thanks to the M. R. Bauer Foundation, a lecture series and week-long Distinguished Lecturer Visitors series brings scientists from all over the world  to the Brandeis campus to talk about their research and interact with faculty, postdocs and graduate students.

The bricks and mortar of the Volen Center provided essential office and lab space. In addition to the building, new Brandeis faculty became a part of the Volen Center. Leslie Griffith joined the Center in September 1992. Susan Birren followed in July 1993 and Jordan Pollack in September 1994. Faculty and labs of Computer Science, Linguistics, Biochemistry and Neuroscience moved into the completed structure in May 1994.

What has been impact of the Volen Center? Barbara Wrightson, who was the Program Project Coordinator during the Volen construction and is now the Director of Budget and Planning in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, said that “the Volen Center helped to nurture the fabulous growth of the neuroscience program at Brandeis.” Additionally, shortly after moving into Volen, the Computer Science department experienced a boom in enrollment. The department saw its enrollment double in the decade after the Center opened.

 

2019 Sprout Awards Competition Announced

SPROUT logoThe Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) is excited to announce this year’s SPROUT awards competition!  SPROUT was created to help you bring your scientific research and entrepreneurial ambitions to life by providing seed funding and training to make your innovation a reality.

“It’s not just about the funding. It’s about all the opportunities that arise from participating in SPROUT” – Michael Rosbash, 2018 SPROUT PI

OTL, with support from the Office of the Provost & the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center, will award up to a total of $100,000 divided among the most promising proposals seeking funding for lab-based innovations that require bench research, lab space and/or lab equipment.   All members of the Brandeis science community, including faculty, staff and students, are invited to submit an abstract for the 2019 round of funding. The preliminary application for abstract submission is now online.  These pre-applications must be received prior to 11pm on March 8th, 2019

In the past, successful SPROUT applications have come from all departments in the sciences including Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemistry.  Past candidates have proposed projects ranging from early-stage research and development to patent-ready projects.  Many undergraduates, graduates, staff and faculty have all pitched various projects from Vaccines Targeting HIV Sugars (Krauss Lab) to an Assay Kit for RNA-binding Protein Target (Rosbash Lab).

Have questions?  OTL is offering 20 minute appointment slots the week of February 28 at our office in Bernstein-Marcus, room 140.  Sign up here.

Computer Science, Biology & Chemistry have opened faculty searches

Brandeis has open searches for tenure-track faculty in three departments within the Division of Science for this fall.  We are looking forward to a busy season of intriguing seminars from candidates this winter.

  1. Assistant Professor of Computational Linguistics. Computer Science invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor, beginning Fall 2019, in the area of Computational Linguistics including, but not limited to Statistical and Neural Machine Translation, Question Answering, Information Extraction, Text Summarization, Syntactic and Semantic Parsing, Dialogue Systems, etc.
  2. Assistant Professor(s) of Biology Biology invites applications for up to two full-time tenure-track positions at the level of Assistant Professor, beginning Fall 2019. Ideal candidates will be conducting innovative research in the broad area of cell biology using any organismal, cellular or in vitro system. Areas of emphasis include, but are not limited to, cell architecture, cell motility, cell division and morphogenesis, organelle function, intracellular trafficking, and compartmentalization.
  3. Assistant Professor of ChemistryChemistry is seeking a creative individual at the assistant professor level for a tenure-track faculty position in organic chemistry or chemical biology.  Exceptional senior candidates in all areas of chemistry will also be considered at the appropriate rank.

Brandeis University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities.  Diversity in its student body, staff and faculty is important to Brandeis’ primary mission of providing a quality education.  The search committees are therefore particularly interested in candidates who, through their creative endeavors, teaching and/or service experiences, will increase Brandeis’ reputation for academic excellence and better prepare its students for a pluralistic society.

JBS Voice/Web/Mobile Showcase

The 2018 Voice/Web/Mobile JBS will have their final product showcase this Thursday 8/2 from 3-5 in Schwartz 112.

Six teams of three students each have built apps which can be accessed either through voice or through a browser (or both). The presentations will be from 3-4 (right after SciFest though in a different building) and you’ll be able to play with their apps from 4-5 at the reception.

The six apps are ( https://sites.google.com/a/brandeis.edu/jbs-2018-cosi/home/teams):

  • PresentationApp/SpeechFlow — control your computer during a presentation entirely with your voice (visit link A, pick a random student to answer this question, to to slide 10, etc.)
  • CollegeInfo — allows you to ask complex questions about the Brandeis course schedule, such as which Computer Science courses are offered this semester on Mondays at 3:00, and you can also use it to build and view your schedule.
  • SeniorCenter — matches seniors based on their interests in books, movies, and TV series. This is designed to fight the isolation and depression common in seniors while allowing them to use their voice rather than click buttons on their computer or phone.
  • DeisTransportApp — allows you to make reservation on the BranVan and query arrival times and bus locations all by voice!
  • HumanGainz — allows your phone to serve as your personal trainer at the gym. Reminding you of which exercises are next in the workout you selected.
  • SON – this is a next generation calendar app which incorporates social media so you can ask which of your friends are free at a particular day/time as well as handle all of the usual calendar operations.

Please join us to see the presentations, ask questions,  and interact with the apps.

— The JBS Team—

SciFest VIII will be on Thursday, Aug 2

Scifest VIII, our annual Poster Session featuring undergraduate researchers, will be held on Thursday, August 2. The poster session will be 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Shapiro Science Center atrium.

SciFest features undergrads who have spent their summers working in both on-campus and off-campus labs doing scientific research, usually alongside grad students, postdocs and faculty members. It an opportunity for these dedicated students from across the Division of Science, including summer visitors and Brandeis students, to present their research for peers and the community.

As of today, 107 students have registered to present.

The public is invited to attend and to discuss research with the students. As always, refreshments will be served.

Hongfu Liu Joins Computer Science as Assistant Professor

Dr. Hongfu Liu has joined the Michtom School of Computer Science at Brandeis University as a tenure-track assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Northeastern University (NEU), supervised by Prof. Yun (Raymond) Fu within 3.5 years. Before joining NEU, he earned his master and bachelor degrees in management from the Beihang University with Prof. Junjie Wu. He also received two minor bachelor degrees in applied mathematics and laws.

His current research interests lie in data mining, machine learning  and related applications on business intelligence, computer vision and bioinformatics. He has published several papers in top conferences and journals, such as KDD, ICDM, SDM, AAAI, IJCAI, T-PAMI, T-KDE, T-IP, DMKD, BMC and so on. He is also the reviewer for several top conferences and journals. He has been nominated as KDD Top 20 rising star all over the world in 2016.

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