Celebrating Chris Miller at Christravaganza Millerpalooza

Since its founding at Brandeis in 1976, Chris Miller’s lab has been home to 25 graduate students and 35 postdocs. Many of them, together with friends and colleagues from around the world, came together on July 8 and 9 for a two day symposium celebrating Chris’ 70th birthday.

For four decades Miller has used electrophysiological methods to study single ion channels. Ion channels are proteins that open and close, selectively allowing specific ions to cross cell membranes, for example to drive muscle contraction or nerve cell signaling. The selective transport of ions across membranes is a fundamental feature of cells.

Miller began studying channels selective for potassium ions, and then in 1978 discovered a chloride selective channel, from Torpedo, the first member of the important CLC chloride channels whose malfunction is implicated in a variety of diseases. (Its name comes from the electric ray Torpedo californica from which the channel was first isolated.) Chris discovered the unusual “double barreled” architecture of the CLC family of ion channels. The lab continues to work on related proteins, including Cl/H+ exchange-transporters.

Miller’s lab has followed clues in recent years to find additional novel channels to study, including bacterial proteins involved in acid resistance and most recently channels that are selective for fluoride. Chris has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1989 and in 2007 he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.

Rod MacKinnon ’78 was Chris’ very first student while he was an undergraduate at Brandeis. After medical school, Rod came back to Chris’ lab as a postdoc, and together they investigated the mechanism of calcium activated potassium ion channels. Later, at Rockefeller University, Rod used high resolution x-ray diffraction to determine the complete molecular structure of the proteins that form the channel. For this he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2003. The structure confirmed a cartoon picture of how the potassium channel works that Chris, with postdoctoral fellows MacKinnon and Jaques Neyton, had developed ten years earlier.

Chris’ wife, Brandeis Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature Robin Feuer Miller, and their three daughters were in attendance. Lulu Miller (who is also co-host of the NPR program Invisibilia) introduced her father for the final talk of the symposium.

The editors thank Dan Oprian for help with this article. The photographs were taken by Heratch Ekmekjian.

37th Boston Regional Inorganic Colloquium

Brandeis University will host the 37th Boston Regional Inorganic Colloquium (BRIC) on Saturday, February 21, 2015BRIC meetings bring together inorganic chemists from across the northeast.  The schedule is:

9:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:50 a.m. Opening Remarks
10 a.m. Dr. Seth Marquard, Brandeis University, Thomas Group

Investigating the Reactions of Polar Pi-Bonds with a Zr/Co Heterobimetallic Complex

11 a.m. Professor Alfredo Angeles-Boza, University of Connecticut

Role of the ATCUN motif in Antimicrobial Peptides

12 p.m. Lunch
1 p.m. Professor James Mayer, Yale University

Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer: from Hydrogen Atom Transfer to Oxygen Electrocatalysis to Oxide Nanoparticles

2 p.m. Professor David Manke, UMass-Dartmouth

Lewis Base Derivatized Metal-Organic Frameworks

3:15 p.m. Happy hour poster session

Lunch will be provided and we will be having a late afternoon poster session with refreshments, thanks to our generous sponsors.   RSVP to thomasc@brandeis.edu, and indicate whether you plan to present a poster.

Directions:
From Commuter Rail: Take the South Acton/Fitchburg line to the Brandeis/Roberts stop ($6 if you get on at Porter or North Station and buy your ticket at the station). From Brandeis/Roberts stop you will walk up the hill on South St to the main entrance of Brandeis – this is a large circular driveway. At the guard house you will take a right and follow signs to upper campus. Keep walking up the hill and take your first left, you will see Shapiro Science Center (big, newer building with lots of windows). Take the right after the building, the entrance to the science complex will be ahead. Once in the building continue straight down the hall way, past a lecture hall and the class room (Gerstenzang 124) will be the next one on the right.
From Parking: Please park in the Athletic parking lot, this will be on the opposite side of the road as the Brandeis main entrance. The entrance to the lot is noticeable because of the foot bridge connecting it to the main campus. Once parked take the foot bridge across to campus and continue up the stairs up to Loop Rd. Take a left down the hill and then your first right past Schapiro Science Center (big, newer building with lots of windows). Take a right after the building, the entrance to the science complex will be ahead. Once in the building continue straight down the hall way, past a lecture hall and the class room will be the next one on the right.

Leir Foundation Neuroscience Symposium Aug 26-27

Dean Susan Birren writes:

I am pleased to announce the Leir Foundation Neuroscience Symposium to be held at Brandeis on Monday and Tuesday August 26-27.

Funded by a grant from the Leir Foundation to facilitate collaborations between Brandeis and Israeli neuroscientists, the Symposium will include talks and informal discussions with Israeli neuroscientists.  The Symposium will provide a framework for establishing Leir-funded postdoctoral fellowships and funding for collaborative projects to uncover new avenues of inquiry on existing projects.

Schedule of talks by invited speakers:

9 am Gerstenzang 121
Eytan Domany (Weizmann Institute)
Pathway-based Personalized Analysis of Cancer

9:45 am Gerstenzang 121
Noam Ziv (Technion)
Activity, Synapses & Cholinergic tone: A Bedtime Story

10:45 am Gerstenzang 121
Avraham Yaron (Weizmann Institute)
Mechanisms of axonal pruning

Mon 8/26/13 11:30 am Gerstenzang 121
Misha Tsodyks (Weizmann Institute)
Information storage and retrieval in neural network models of long-term memory

 

The Henry J. Leir Brandeis-Israel Research Initiative, funded by the Connecticut-based Leir Charitable Foundations, will provide postdoctoral felloships for up-and-coming Israeli scientists at Brandeis, and will provide starter funding for collaborative projects between Israeli and Brandeis neuroscientists.

see story at BrandeisNOW: Brandeis Israel research initiative starts strong

Protected by Akismet
Blog with WordPress

Welcome Guest | Login (Brandeis Members Only)