Genetic Counseling Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Brandeis’ Genetic Counseling Program celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct. 26th with over 140 attendees including alums, program faculty (past and present) and current students. Judith Tsipis, who founded the program and has been its director since its inception, credits the idea of the genetic counseling program to Eve Marder. “I was having lunch in the Stein with Eve and Kalpana White,” she remembers, “when Eve mentioned an editorial she had read about genetic counseling written by Nancy Wexler [then president of the Hereditary Disease Foundation].” Marder then remarked that there weren’t enough genetic counselors and suggested that Tsipis look into it. That conversation quickly led to the creation of the program, the first genetic counseling program in New England. The program opened its doors to seven students in the fall of 1992 and now has over 160 alums who practice all across the US as well as in England, Norway, Israel and Germany. The party was held in the program’s new “home” in Gerstenzang and included dinner as well as several toasts to Tsipis for her leadership, passion, mentorship and commitment to the genetic counseling profession. Tsipis refers to the program as “her crazy dream — a dream inspired by her experiences with her son Andreas who had Canavan disease”, and she hopes that the many genetic counselors trained at Brandeis can help other families such as hers .

Courses for Spring 2013 (I): Advanced NMR spectroscopy

Course registration for Spring 2013 has opened. I asked faculty to share details about new (and old) exciting and different courses being offered this spring.

Tom Pochapsky (Chemistry) writes:
Product Details

We are offering our CHEM 146 “Advanced NMR spectroscopy” course again in the spring, appropriate for grads and advanced undergrads in physics, chem, biochem, biophysics.   Pre-reqs are Physics 10 or equivalent, Math 10 or equivalent.   There is a laboratory component this year (using the 800), intro to theory of NMR and practical applications.  The text for the course is our book [ed.: NMR for Physical and Biological Scientists (Thomas Pochapsky and Susan Sondej Pochapsky, authors)], now available as an e-book.


Biotech, Health & Science Forum on Nov. 14

Cary Weir Lytle from the Hiatt Career Center writes:

I am delighted to announce that registration is open for Brandeis’ premier career event of the year for science, health and research, and this year more than 25 employers from Sloan-Kettering and Health Corps to Pfizer and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless will be attending to help you.

Brandeis University’s 4th Annual
Biotech, Health and Science Forum
“Addressing unmet medical need.”

Sponsored by the Hiatt Career Center
Nov. 14, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Sherman Function Hall

Grad Students & Post Docs RSVP Here

Undergraduate Students RSVP Here

Meet the panel

This year’s program features employers in public health, research and development, medical research, clinical care, and business… all focused on new ways to improve health and patient outcomes. (see employers list below)



Biotech, Pharma and R&D

  • Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Cubist Pharmaceuticals
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
  • Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
  • Millennium
  • Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)
  • Pfizer
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Hospitals & Research Institutes

  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital Boston
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • MGH, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (MIND)
  • US Environment Protection Agency

Public Health

  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • HealthCorps
  • Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Research Triangle Institute

Business & Emerging Health Solutions

  • Epic
  • Medical Information Technology, Inc. (MEDITECH)
  • Neuro Alert Monitoring Services
  • Safe Passage Neuromonitoring
  • Yesware

COSI High Tech Alumni Leadership Conference on Nov. 2

The Brandeis Alumni Association is hosting the first-ever Computer Science (COSI) High Tech Alumni Leadership Conference. An exciting day has been planned with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technical directors, lead engineers, and academics who will discuss the latest advances, trends and innovations. Adam Cheyer ’88, co-founder of Siri Inc. and director of engineering at Apple, will open the program and receive the inaugural Brandeis Computer Science Entrepreneur of the Year award. For a full list of speakers, see

COSI High Tech Alumni Leadership Conference
Friday, November 2, 2012
Sachar International Center, Wasserman Cinematheque
8:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

The best battalion in the National Guard

Gregory Widberg is the Sr. Mechanical Engineer in the Physics department who also works with other departments in the Division of Science repairing scientific equipment.  Greg was called to active duty and served in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012 as the Command Sgt. Major for the 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment.  Greg is shown accepting the Walter T. Kerwin Jr. Readiness Award in a ceremony in Washington, DC on October 23, 2012.  The award is presented to the battalion with the highest level of readiness in its respective component.

General Raymond Odierno, chief of staff, U. S. Army, Lt Col. Ron Cupples, commander, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard, Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Widberg, senior enlisted advisor, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler III, Sgt. Maj. of the Army, pose for a picture after Odinero presented the Walter T.Kerwin Jr. Readiness Award to Cupples and Widberg during a ceremony at the Association of the United States Army Eisenhower Luncheon as the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C., Oct. 23, 2012. The Kerwin Award, which is open to Army National Guard and Army Reserve battalions, is presented to the battalion with the highest level of readiness in it’s respective component. In order to be considered each battalion must have been rated as having superior performance in eight specific areas as well as meeting other specific criteria. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Saslav, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs)

Clean Sweep

Those of you who (like me) took medical microbiology 10 or more years ago might have a thing or two to learn about where the most risk comes from in hospital infections, according to Maryn McKenna, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism here at Brandeis. In a recent article “Clean Sweep” in Scientific American, McKenna discusses the rise of  drug resistant organisms (e.g. vancomycin-resistant enterococci) that survive well on surfaces (keyboards, bed rails, and other hospital surfaces).

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