Brandeis Women in Science Initiative Presents: Professor Helen Donis-Keller

Helen Donis-Keller examines the relationship between genotype and phenotype in her art and in her scientific pursuits.

The Women in Science Initiative is pleased to inform you of the first talk of our “Art of Science…” seminar series. Professor Helen Donis-Keller of Olin College will be giving a talk entitled “Coming Full Circle: My Life in Art and Science.”

Dr. Donis-Keller led the research group that developed the first genetic linkage map of the human genome during the 1980s. She has been involved in mapping the human genome and identifying genes and mutations which give rise to heritable disorders. As an artist she uses visual and sonic metaphors for genetic concepts to make them more accessible and increase her understanding of them.

We hope that you will join us Thursday November 15 at 5:30PM in Pearlman 113.

For further details please contact: Mareshia Donald: or Rebecca Kreipke:

Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Please inform friends and colleagues of the event

Bisphenol A researchers win Gabbay Award

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been used in the synthesis of polycarbonate plastics over the years. BPA is also a powerful estrogen analog. Three researchers, Patricia Hunt (Washington State Univ.), Ana Soto (Tufts) and Carlos Sonnenschein (Tufts), will today be awarded the 2012 Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award for their work identifying the cellular and developmental effects of BPA exposure. The three will lecture today, Oct. 22, at 3:30 pm in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library.

see also story at BrandeisNOW

Life, Death and Resurrection at the Cellular Level

Professor Denise Montell from Hopkins  will tell us about “Life, Death and Resurrection at the Cellular Level at the second Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Science Forum on Wednesday, October 17 at 4:00 pm in Gerstenzang 121.  She has done foundational work on collective cell migration in Drosophila embryos. Her work beautifully brings the single cell biology of cell motility and signaling into the context of a readily dissectible multicellular process in a developing organism (8 border cells migrating together through an oocyte).  She also has an exciting new story on “anastasis”, a new phenomenon in which precious cells like neurons and germ cells can reverse apoptosis, with fascinating implications for mutation, evolution, and disease. She is a great communicator and it will be a really engaging talk.

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.

Note added after talk: Denise showed some really beautiful movies during her talk, you can find many of them on her lab website.

Memory and the Computational Brain – October 10

Next Wednesday we are hosting Randy Gallistel from Rutgers as part of the M.R. Bauer Foundation Colloquium Series. His recent work on learning, decision-making and timing in mice is grounded in his strong background in cognitive neuroscience and addresses computational/information theoretic issues – a recently published paper from his lab is provocatively entitled Mice take calculated risks. Gallistel’s lecture on Memory and the Computational Brain will be presented at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 10, in Gerstenzang 121.

Waltz Symposium on Sept 23

Artificial Intelligence luminaries from across the nation gathered at Brandeis on Sunday Sept 23 to honor David Waltz, who was a professor at Brandeis from 1984-1993 and who passed away in March from cancer. Organized by Prof. Jordan Pollack with sponsorship from Brandeis, AAAI, and Ab Initio Software, the day long event featured keynotes and panels from 6 different phases of Waltz’s career reflecting on his work and his leadership. A complete schedule follows the break and video, when available, is on the Computer Science website.

Dedication and Inaugural Lecture for the Gruber Chair in Neuroscience

Provost Steve A. N. Goldstein writes:

It is with great pleasure that I invite you to participate in another significant moment in the history of this campus—the dedication of the Peter Gruber Chair in Neuroscience. Named chairs are an important way the University can recognize and sustain outstanding research, exceptional teaching, and visionary leadership. The dedication of the Gruber Chair is one such occasion, and we will gather to honor the first incumbent, Professor Michael Rosbash, our friend and remarkable colleague. Furthermore, we are most fortunate to be able to greet and thank the generous donor, Patricia Gruber of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, who will join us for these festivities. I do hope you will join us for this exciting afternoon.


Photo Copyright © Stanley Rowin

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 3:30 p.m.
Rapaporte Treasure Hall, 
Goldfarb Library

  • Welcome from President Frederick M. Lawrence and Provost Steve A. N. Goldstein ’78
  • Introduction of the Gruber Professor by Eve Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience and Head of the Division of Science
  • Presentation by Michael Rosbash, the Peter Gruber Professor of Neuroscience, on Circadian Rhythms: Time Travels
  • Remarks from Patricia Gruber, President of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
  • Reception to follow

Michael Rosbash is the inaugural holder of the Peter Gruber Chair in Neuroscience and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A Professor of Biology, Professor Rosbash is also the Director of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Rosbash and Professor of Biology Emeritus Jeffrey Hall collaborated closely for more than two decades at Brandeis. Combining their expertise in fly genetics and molecular biology, they cloned the Drosophila fruit fly period gene, a key regulator of circadian rhythms. The mechanism of the molecular clock that they then discovered later was found to be universal in the biological world. Through ongoing research, Professor Rosbash continues to advance our understanding of the importance of circadian rhythms to health and disease.

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation honors and encourages educational excellence, social justice, and scientific achievements that better the human condition. The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is a private, United States-based philanthropic organization established in 1993 under the 501(c)(3) section of U.S. Corporate Law. It is funded entirely by Peter and Patricia Gruber, who serve as its Chairman and President, respectively. A major focus of the Foundation’s philanthropy is its International Prize Program, created to recognize excellence in science and humanities by highlighting five fields that create a better world: Cosmology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Justice, and Women’s Rights. To support Cosmology, Genetics, and Neuroscience further, the Gruber Foundation has affiliated with preeminent science organizations to award fellowships to promising young scientists in those fields.

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