Brandeis alums at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting

The 40th Society for Neuroscience Meeting was held this week in San Diego.  Among the more than 31,000 attendees were numerous present and past members of the Brandeis Neuroscience community. Attending this meeting is scientifically rewarding and accompanied by reunions with undergraduate, graduate, and postdoc alumni, now working around the world.

Marder lab postdocs: from the left, Dr. Mike Nusbaum, Professor, U. Pennsylvania Medical School; Dr. Lingjun Li, Assoc. Professor of Chemistry, U. Wisconsin; Dr. Farzan Nadim, Professor, Rutgers and NJIT; Dr. Eve Marder, Professor, Brandeis ; Dr. Dirk Bucher, Asst. Professor, Whitney Laboratory, U. Florida; Dr. Astrid Prinz, Assoc. Professor, Emory; Dr. Jorge Golowasch, Professor, Rutgers and NJIT; Dr. Patsy Dickinson (sabbatical visitor at Brandeis), Professor, Bowdoin College.

Brandeis undergraduate Ryan Maloney, ’11, presenting his poster to ex-Brandeis postdocs Dr. John Birmingham, Assoc. Professor, Santa Clara U., and Dirk Bucher.

Brandeis undergraduate Toly Rinberg, ’11; Alex Williams, Bowdoin College; and Dr. Michael Oshinsky ’92, Professor, Thomas Jefferson Medical School.

Dr. Mike Nusbaum and Dr. Jim Weimann (Brandeis PhD, ’92) remembering old times.

Also sighted were: Dr. Andy Christie, PhD ’94 now faculty, Mount Desert Island Marine Labs; Dr. Cyrus Billimoria, PhD, ’05, now Research Faculty Boston U.; Dr. Stefan Pulver, Ph.D. ’09 now postdoc Cambridge U. (UK), Dr. Aryn Gittis (class of ’01), PhD UCSD, now postdoc at Stanford, Dr. Tepring Piquado, Ph.D. ’10, now at UC Irvine, Dr. Raj Stewart, Ph.D ’08, now at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mark Miller, PhD ’08, now postdoc at UCSF. Other former Brandeis postdocs included Dr. Alfredo Fontanini from the Katz lab and Dr. Arianna Maffei from the Turrgiano lab, now both Asst. Professors at Stony Brook.

How crabs deal with the chill


Chemical (and biochemical) reaction rates can increase dramatically with even small changes in temperature, but many biological systems require rhythms with a precise ordering of events. How are these rhythms maintained in organisms that can prosper in a wide range of temperatures? In a recent study published in PLoS Biology (comment). Lamont Tang, a Neuroscience grad student, and other members of the Marder lab studied this question by looking at neurons in the pyloric network of the crab Cancer borealis. They argue from a combination of experiments and computational models that even though firing frequencies change with temperature, the phase between elements of the network is maintained by balancing opposing currents with similar temperature dependencies.

crab pyloric rhythms in hot and cold

graphic courtesy of Gabrielle Gutierrez

Marder kicks off Presidential Dream Course

Eve Marder, Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience and Head, Brandeis Division of Science, gave the opening lecture “Variablility, Compensation, Homeostasis and Modulation of Neurons and Circuits” in the Presidential Dream Course in Neuroethology, at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The presidential dream courses focus on a single area chosen each year and bring leading scholars to the museum to give publicly accessible talks. This year’s course co-sponsored by the University of Oklahoma President’s Office, the OU Cellular & Behavioral Neurobiology Graduate Program and the Sam Noble Museum.

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