Brandeis Posse at the White House

President Fred Lawrence and Chemistry Professor Irving Epstein visited the White House on March 31 to discuss the Brandeis Science Posse at an event celebrating the expansion of the program to a total of 10 institutions across the country.  Attendees included Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren and other representatives of the executive branch, presidents of the STEM Posse schools, and current and former members of the Brandeis Science Posse.  The program began at Brandeis in 2008 under Epstein’s direction with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

white house 3-31-14

Research Support for Undergrads: Computational Neuroscience Traineeships for 2014-2015

The Division of Science wishes to announce the availability of Traineeships for Undergraduates in Computational Neuroscience through a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Traineeships will commence in summer 2014 and run through the academic year 2014-15.

Please apply to the program by February 28, 2014 at 6 pm to be considered. If applying after Feb 28, be sure to contact divsci at brandeis dot edu to inquire about the availability of training slots.

Traineeships in Computational Neuroscience are intended to provide intensive undergraduate training in computational neuroscience for students interested in eventually pursuing graduate research. The traineeships will provide a $5000 stipend to support research in the summer, and $3000 each for fall and spring semesters during the academic year. Trainees are appointed for at least a year and up to two years, depending on satisfactory progress.  Current Brandeis sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply. In addition, to be eligible to compete for this program, you must

  • have a GPA > 3.0 in Div. of Science courses
  • have a commitment from a professor to advise you on a research project related to computational neuroscience
  • have a course work plan to complete requirements for a major in the Division of Science
  • intend to apply to grad school in a related field.

The curricular requirements are listed on the program website.  The application form is online (Brandeis login required).

Changes to the Biology major

The undergraduate degree programs in Biology at Brandeis will undergo substantial changes in curricula and in the requirements for the majors. The new rules will take effect for students matriculating in Fall 2013 or later.

A meeting to discuss the new changes in, and to answer questions students might have about, the Biology major will be held on Tuesday April 9 from 5-6 pm in Gzang 122.

The cornerstone of the new curriculum is the introduction of a new three semester set of courses: BIOL 14a (Genetics and Genomics), BIOL 15b (Cells and Organisms) and BIOL 16a (Evolution and Biodiversity). This sequence replaces the existing two semester sequence BIOL 22a/22b, and follows new pedagogical principles for teaching Biology.  At the same time, the expanded course sequence will help cover additional material that premedical students will need for the new MCAT exams that was not covered in core courses in the past.

The new set of courses can be taken in any order and is designed to be accessible to freshmen. By providing more flexibility and encouraging majors to take these courses early in their stay at Brandeis, students (and especially midyear entrants) will have greatly increased opportunities to take more advanced, specialized courses and to do research in their junior and senior years. BIOL 22a/22b will not be offered in 2013-2014, rather the new courses will commence in the fall.

There are two different degrees offered. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology provides students with a general background in biology and provides flexibility with fewer requirements for quantitative and physical science courses. The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology is an intensive biology option that provides students with a strong background in several areas of biology and is recommended for students pursuing a career in research.

Some changes of note: Physics I, II lecture and lab are required only for the BS, not for the BA.  BCHM 100 is no longer required for the BS.  The number of electives needed for the BA is 5, for the BS, it is 6;

Currently declared Biology majors will have the choice whether to pursue a degree under the old rules or the new rules – there is an online form to declare a choice, between current rules [the ones in effect when you matriculated] or the new rules, but there will be no mixing of rules.

With a new set of rules, advisors and students alike are grappling with how to handle the changes. Some documents prepared by the faculty may help:

Med School and Grad School in the Lone Star State

Wensink lab alum Mien-Chie Hung (PhD ’84), who is currently Ruth Legett Jones Distinguished Chair at  The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will give seminar on Monday, Dec 3 at noon in Rosenstiel 118 on “Novel signaling pathways in cancer cells and their crosstalk to predict resistance for target therapy“.  He will also meet with interested students on Monday Dec. 3 in the Alumni Lounge in Usdan at 7 PM; there will be pizza.   He will talk with undergrads, prospective grad and med students about medical schools and graduate schools in Texas Medical Center including MD Anderson, UT Health Science Center and Baylor.

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