Searches for Tenure-Track Faculty in the Sciences, 2017

Brandeis has six open searches for tenure-track faculty in the Division of Science this fall, with the intent to strengthen cross-disciplinary studies across the sciences. We are looking forward to a busy season of intriguing seminars from candidates this winter.

  1. Assistant Professor of Biochemistry. Biochemistry is looking for a creative scientist to establish an independent research program addressing fundamental questions of biological, biochemical, or biophysical mechanism, and who will maintain a strong interest in teaching Biochemistry.
  2. Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Chemistry seeks a creative individual at the assistant professor level for a tenure-track faculty position in physical (especially theoretical/computational) chemistry, materials chemistry, or chemical biology.
  3. Assistant Professor of Computer Science. Computer Science invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor, beginning Fall 2018, in the broad area of Machine Learning and Data Science, including but not limited to deep learning, statistical learning, large scale and cloud-based systems for data science, biologically inspired learning systems, and applications of analytics to real-world problems.
  4. Assistant Professor in Soft Matter or Biological Physics. Physics invites applications for the position of tenure-track Assistant Professor beginning in the fall of 2018 in the interdisciplinary areas of biophysics, soft condensed matter physics and biologically inspired material science.
  5. Assistant Professor or Associate Professor in Psychology. Psychology invites applications for a tenure track appointment at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, with a specialization in Aging, to start August 2018. They seek an individual with an active human research program in any aspect of aging, including cognitive, social, clinical and health psychology.
  6. Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Applied MathematicsMathematics invites applications for a tenure-track position in applied mathematics at the rank of assistant professor beginning fall 2018. An ideal candidate will be expected to help to build an applied mathematics program within the department, and to interact with other science faculty at Brandeis. Candidates from all areas of applied mathematics will be considered.

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.

What we can learn about aging from worms

Coleen Murphy from the Dept of Molecular Biology at Princeton will tell us about “Slowing the Ticking Clock: What we can learn about aging and memory from C. elegans at the first Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Science Forum on Wednesday, March 9 at 4:00 pm in Gerstenzang 121. The focus of her research is on understanding the genes that regulate longevity, using C. elegans as a model system. Coleen performed her Ph.D. thesis research with Jim Spudich at Stanford where she studied myosin motors and then went on to  a post doctoral fellowship with Cynthia Kenyon at UCSF where she began studying aging. Since starting her own lab at Princeton, Coleen has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including a Pew Scholar Award, a Keck Distinguished Young Scholar Award, and an NIH Director’s Innovator Award. Her lab’s most recent work showed that TGF-β and insulin signaling regulates reproductive aging. In addition, her lab has also recently been looking into the connection between longevity mutants and memory in C. elegans

About the Forum: Ruth Ann Perlmutter has been a longtime friend of Brandeis University. In 1969, Nathan Perlmutter became vice president of development at Brandeis during the presidency of Morris Abrams. Perlmutter left Brandeis to become the National Director of the Anti Defamation League. Together the Perlmutters were leaders in the interfaith movement and civil rights debates for which activities Nathan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before his death in 1987. Mrs. Perlmutter earned her B.A. from the University of Denver and her masters degree in sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit. She is a sculptor and painter in her own right and currently lives in Prescott, Arizona.

GSA 2010: an eye-opening experience

What happens when you organize a conference based on a population rather than a field of study? Everybody gets an eye-opening experience! At the end of November, members of Brandeis Psychology and Neuroscience community presented research at the 63rd annual Gerontological Society of America conference. Members from Art Wingfield’s Memory and Cognition Lab, Derek Isaacowitz’s Emotion Lab, and Margie Lachman’s Lifespan Developmental Psychology Lab all presented research at this conference.
This conference includes research on a wide area of aging topics from many different disciplines: behavioral and social sciences, health sciences, biological sciences, and social policy and practice.

To give an idea of the variety of ideas discussed at the conference, here is a sampling of session titles:

  • “Introduction to medicare part d data for research”
  • “Differences in Stroke Care Settings: Findings from the Patient Preference for Stroke Study”
  • “Age-related Differences and Similarities in Learning and Memory”
  • “Followed to extinction: Predictors of exceptional Survival in Very Long Term Cohort Studies”
  • “Composition Changes and Muscle Function: Targets for Preserving Health and Function”

This conference allowed members of the Brandeis scientific community to share their research with peers in their field and members of their academic family, as well as scientists and professionals from other fields. Although sharing research with your peers is always a productive experience, interacting with those from completely other fields also proved to be an invaluable exercise. It allowed attendees to be reminded of the assumptions that are made within any given discipline or paradigm, and allowed practice in communicating results to a broader audience.

All of this took place in the great city of New Orleans. The Cajun was music and food was enjoyed by many, and a great great time was had by all!

Wingfield Receives 2010 Baltes Distinguished Research Achievement Award

Update; BrandeisNOW has a in-depth profile on Prof. Wingfield.

Professor Arthur Wingfield is the 2010 recipient of the Baltes Distinguished Research Achievement Award. The $5000 award, given annually by the Margaret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation and Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) of the American Psychological Association (APA), recognizes outstanding contributions to our understanding of adult development and aging. As part of the award, Wingfield will deliver a keynote address at the next annual meeting of the APA.

The number of adults age 65 or older in the US is expected to grow from 35 million in the year 2000, to 70.3 million in 2030.  Among this group, hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic medical condition, exceeded only by arthritis and hypertension.  The hearing loss associated with adult aging, or presbycusis (literally, “old hearing”) presents a more complex picture than many realize. Whether the loss is mild or more severe, the source is a thinning of hair cells located in the cochlea, a spiral-shaped structure about only the size of the nail on your little finger. There are also “higher level” effects that include the pathways from the cochea to the brain, and age-related changes in the auditory receiving areas of the brain itself. These biological changes result in the older listener expending attentional effort that is not only tiring, but can draw on resources that would ordinarily be available for encoding what has been heard in memory.

This recent award recognizes Wingfield and his Brandeis colleagues’ contributions to understanding this complex interaction between sensory and cognitive changes in adult aging.  Arthur Wingfield is the Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Volen National Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis.  His work has also been recognized by the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association, and two successive MERIT Awards from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging.


Control beliefs, social support, and physical exercise are probably good for you

In a paper recently publised in PLoS One entitled Promoting functional health in midlife and old age: long-term protective effects of control beliefs, social support, and physical exercise, Margie Lachman, Minnie and Harold Fierman Professor of Psychology, and Brandeis postdoc Stefan Agrigoroaei analyzed data from MIDUS, a national longitudinal study of “Midlife in the US”. Controlling for other risks, the authors found significant positive contributions from three additional factors in the functional health outcome in these older adults:

  1. Control beliefs (the perception that one can influence what happens in one’s life)
  2. Social support (feeling support, not strain, in relationships with family, friends, and spouse)
  3. Physical exercise

Since I’ll be healthier if I believe I can control my health this way, why not give it a try? The popular press is also picking up on these ideas.

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