Science Undergraduate Poster Session on August 1

Photo by Emma GriffithBrandeis Summer Scifest, an Undergraduate Research Poster Session, will be held on Thu, Aug 1 2013.   Undergraduates from laboratories and research groups throughout the Division of Science, including summer visitors and Brandeis students, will present posters on their research.  The poster session will run from 1-3 pm in the Shapiro Science Center atrium.

Update: Abstract submission has closed — the abstract book containing the abstracts of all 75 posters is now online.

You want to work in a lab, do you?

The Biology and Neuroscience Research Workshop on Nov 29 was very successful. Organizers estimated that between 60 and 80 eager undergraduates attended, most looking for advice on finding a research lab.  For those who could not attend, the powerpoint presentation, now available on the web, entitled “You want to work in a lab, do you?” has a lot of very practical advice on the process of finding a lab that is equally applicable to students in other disciplines.

see also:

Biology and Neuroscience Research Workshop on Nov 29

Hey current and future science majors!

Are you interested in research, but don’t know where to begin or what your options are?

If so, join the Neuroscience and Biology UDRs at the first ever Biology and Neuroscience Research Workshop! Come and learn about the many options available, and find out how you can get involved in research.

The workshop will be held in the Shapiro Campus Center Multipurpose Room on Tuesday November 29th at 8:00pm, and food will be provided! If you’re considering doing research during your undergraduate career, then this is an event you don’t want to miss!

- Your Neuroscience and Biology UDRs

Sid Narayanan Monisha Rajinikanth Brian Slepian Roger Yang

Brandeis Summer SciFest to be held on Aug 3

Brandeis Summer Scifest, an Undergraduate Research Poster Session, will be held on Wed, Aug 3 2011.   53 undergraduate students from across the Division of Science, including summer visitors and Brandeis students, will present posters on their work/research.  The poster session will run from 1-3 pm in the Shapiro Science Center atrium.

The public is cordially invited to attend and to discuss research with the students.

A listing of poster titles and abstracts is available at

Aug 4: The poster session went really well, we had a nice turnout and the students did a great job presenting.

Photo by Emma Griffith

Physics students present research at 20th Annual Berko Symposium on May 16

On Monday, May 16, the Physics Department will hold the Twentieth Annual Student Research Symposium in Memory of Professor Stephan Berko in Abelson 131. The symposium will end with talks by the two Berko Prize winning students, undergraduate Netta Engelhardt and graduate student Tim Sanchez. The whole department then gathers for a lunch of cold cuts, cookies and conversation. “It’s a great way to close out the academic year,” said Professor of Astrophysics and Department Chair John Wardle. “We come together to celebrate our students’ research and hear what the different research groups are doing.”

The undergraduate speakers will describe their senior thesis honors research. This is the final step in gaining an honors degree in physics, and most of them will also be co-authors on a paper published in a mainline science journal. The graduate student speakers are in the middle of their PhD research, and will disucss their progress and their goals.

The prize winners are nominated and chosen by the faculty for making particularly noteworthy progress in their research. Graduate student winner Sanchez’ talk is titled “Reconstructing cilia beating from the ground up.” He works in Professor Zvonimir Dogic’s lab studying soft condensed matter. Undergraduate winner Engelhardt’s talk is titled “A New Approach to Solving the Hermitian Yang-Mills Equations”. She works with Professors Matt Headrick and Bong Lian (Math) on problems in theoretical physics and string theory. The schedule for Monday morning and abstracts of all the talks can be found on the Physics Department website.

Sanchez’ research very much represents the growing interdisciplinary nature of science at Brandeis. Here, a physicist’s approach is used to study a biological organism. Professor Zvonimir Dogic says of his work “He has made a whole series of important discoveries that are going to have a measurable impact on a number of diverse fields ranging from cell biology, biophysics, soft matter physics and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics.  His discoveries have fundamentally transformed the direction of my laboratory and probably of many other laboratories as well.”

Engelhardt’s research is much more abstract and mathematical, and concerns fundamental problems in string theory, not usually an area tackled by undergraduates. Professor Headrick says “Netta really, really wants to be a theoretical physicist, preferably a string theorist. She has a passion for mathematics, physics, and the connections between them.” He adds that she is utterly fearless in tackling hard problems. Netta has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship based on her undergraduate work here.  Next year she will enter graduate school at UC Santa Barbara and will likely work with eminent string theorist Gary Horowitz, who has already supervised the PhD research of two other Brandeis physics alumni, Matthew Roberts ’05, and Benson Way ’08.

This Student Research Symposium is now in its 20th year. The “First Annual…..” (two words which are always unwise to put next to each other) was initiated in 1992 by Wardle to honor Professor Stephan Berko, who had died suddenly the previous year. Family, friends and colleagues contributed to a fund to support and celebrate student research in his memory. This provides the prize money which Netta and Tim will share.

Stephan Berko was a brilliant and volatile experimental physicist who was one of the founding members of the physics department. He was born in Romania in 1924 and was a survivor of both the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. He came to the United States under a Hillel Foundation scholarship and obtained his PhD at the University of Virginia. He came to Brandeis in 1961 to establish a program in experimental physics and worked tirelessly to build up the department. Together with Professors Karl Canter (dec. 2006) and Alan Mills (now at UC Riverside) he established Brandeis as a world center for research into positrons (the anti-matter mirror image of ordinary electrons). In a series of brilliant experiments they achieved many “firsts,” culminating in election to the National Academy of Sciences for Steve, and, it has been rumored, in a Nobel Prize nomination for the three of them. Steve was as passionate about teaching as he was about research, and when he died, it seemed most appropriate to honor his memory by celebrating the research of our graduate and undergraduate students. During the coffee break on Monday, we will show a movie of Steve lecturing on “cold fusion,” a headline-grabbing but phony claim for producing cheap energy from 1989.


Brandeis is one of the co-organizers of the third annual New England Undergraduate Computing Symposium which will be held on Saturday April 9th at Tufts University. This symposium is designed to build community among undergraduate Computer Science majors in New England and also to increase the diversity of our undergraduate majors by actively reaching out to under-represented groups and encouraging them to participate. Students register online at by completing a simple form describing the project they plan to demo or present as a poster. We expect to have 60-80 students projects and around 150 students and faculty attending the symposium. If you are an undergrad that has written an interesting mobile app, or completed a creative project in one of your classes, or are working in a research lab on an exciting problem involving computation, please visit the site and register to present your project and/or demo your code.


(EL)2 2011

(EL)2 2011. the Experiential Learning, Engaged Learners Symposium held each Spring at Brandeis, will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, March 24th, in the Levin Ballroom and International Lounge. Brandeis President Frederick M. Lawrence will be the keynote speaker. Student presenters include undergraduates from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, Psychology, as well as a wide range of other disciplines across the university, will present results from research, internships, and other learning experiences.

For more information, see the symposium website or download the symposium program (PDF).

Fostering leaders into a new scientific generation

Brandeis SACNAS Chapter Symposium
Saturday, March 26, 2011
10:00 am-3:00 pm
Shapiro Science Campus lobby

On March 26th the Brandeis SACNAS chapter will be holding their 2nd Brandeis SACNAS Chapter Symposium 2011: Fostering leaders into a new scientific generation. This year, we hope to expand our circle of influence even farther as we look forward to hosting students and mentors from Brandeis and other institutions in the greater Boston Region. We want to create a forum for students to network and learn about the different pathways that the sciences have to offer.

This year we will have Dr. Daniel Colon-Ramos, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at Yale University, talk about his journey from early undergraduate to PhD. Dr. Jim Morris from Brandeis will discuss his track towards earning his MD/PhD at Harvard Medical School. Lastly, we will also hear from our own chapter President Kerwin Vega, fourth year undergraduate, as he speaks of his first steps towards pursuing a career in science and his networking experiences thus far. We will also host a Career Development Panel where professionals from various scientific backgrounds will briefly speak of their personal professional anecdotes as well as answer any questions. There will also be a poster session for students to present their work.

See story in The Jusiice

13th Annual Northeast Student Chemistry Research Conference (NSCRC)

The timing and location of this conference would seem to make it ideal for undergraduates to present their research — follow the links below if interested.

April Jewell of the NSYCC wrote:

As Chair of the Northeast Section Younger Chemist Committee (NSYCC), I would like to invite the Undergraduate and Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Candidates from your department to participate in the 13th Annual Northeast Student Chemistry Research Conference (NSCRC). I would appreciate it if you would forward this information on my behalf. The NSCRC will be held at Northeastern University’s Curry Student Center on Saturday, April 30th, 2011.

The Northeast Student Chemistry Research Conference (NSCRC) is organized for students by students. It is devoted to the research of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral chemistry students, providing a relaxed atmosphere for students to share their work. The day-long event features student poster and oral research presentations, a keynote speaker, awards, and catered lunch. The conference encourages students to network and get feedback from their peers. The 1st NSCRC was held April 24, 1999 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The deadline for abstract submission is Friday, April 8th, at 5pm. Please visit our website at for submission instructions.

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