Neuroscience club hosts discussion of traumatic brain injury on Sep 24

The Brandies Neuroscience Club presents a multi-faceted discussion on Traumatic Brain Injury, to take place on Monday, September 24, from 6:00-7:00 pm in the Luria rooms in Hassenfeld Conference Center.

Traumatic brain injury, which occurs when an external force injures the brain, can lead to social, cognitive, emotional and behavioral disabilities, or even death. As TBI is becoming recognized as a serious public health issue, especially among veterans, the Brandeis Neuroscience Club has organized a panel discussing the biology of TBI, cutting-edge research in treatments, and the personal story of a TBI survivor.

Neuroscience professor Art Wingfield will begin the evening by introducing the different types of traumatic brain injury, the healing and recovery process, and some of the specific cognitive functions that can be affected by these injuries. Health Science, Society and Policy professor Laura Lorenz will then describe the limitations of current rehabilitation therapies, and  her proposal for community-based rehabilitation for chronic brain injury, inspired by both clinical research and her work investigating the experience of TBI survivors. Finally, Peggy Sue Lebba, a former health care professional will discuss her experience living with and healing from mild traumatic brain injury that changed her life 10 years ago. Using photographs and captions, she will provide a glimpse inside her challenges, struggles and eventual acceptance of her “new self” and abilities. Her story illustrates the important roles that resilience, hope, and support from family, friends, and medical professionals can play in helping individuals with brain injury to overcome adversity and find new meaning in life.

Riboswitches and fluoride

Ronald Breaker (Yale and HHMI) gave an inspiring talk today to kick off this year’s Biochemistry-Biophysics Friday Lunchtime Pizza Talks series, discussing his lab’s work on Riboswitches: Biology’s Ancient Regulators. If you missed the talk, here’s a review that might help you catch up.

Breaker ended the talk by discussing the fluoride-sensing riboswitch, and pointing to the new avenues for research to which this called attention. Coincidentally(?), a new paper in PNAS is out today from Chris Miller‘s lab here at Brandeis on exactly that — take a look at Stockbridge et al., Fluoride resistance and transport by riboswitch-controlled CLC antiporters.


Sept 18 Symposium on Stem Cell Genetics

On September 18th, 2012, the Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students supported by our  Genetics Training Grant from NIGMS will be hosting a symposium entitled “Stem Cell Genetics: Insights and Applications”. We will be joined by four distinguished scientists who will be presenting their recent work:

Rudolf Jaenisch (Whitehead Institute), our Keynote Speaker, will speak to us about the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in development and cell differentiation;
Constance Cepko (Harvard Medical School) will present her work on the development and degeneration of the vertebrate central nervous system, using the retina as a model;
Fernando Camargo (Harvard Stem Cell Institute) will talk about the molecular basis of tissue size regulation and the role of transcription factors and micro RNAs in hematopoietic stem cell fate;
Konrad Hochedlinger (MGH) will present work on mechanisms underlying pluripotency in embryonic stem cells and nuclear reprogramming.

The talks will take place in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater, and we also invite you to join us at the subsequent Poster Session and Reception. Current and former trainees supported by the Genetics Training Grant will be presenting posters from 3:40 to 5:00 PM on the 2nd floor of the Shapiro Science Center. In addition, all life sciences graduate students are encouraged to present posters.

The entire event is free and open to the public. For planning purposes, we ask anyone attending the symposium and/or presenting a poster to pre-register at by September 10th, 2012. You can also visit this website to see the symposium schedule, and to see the list of poster titles after registration is complete.

Please join us for this exciting symposium showcasing genetics at Brandeis!

Blanca Carbajal-Gonzalez
Marissa Donovan
Adam Johnston
Cara Pina
Andy Russell
Mike Spellberg

ACA Symposium to honor Foxman

At the 2012 Meeting of the American Crystallographic Association, to be held in Boston starting this weekend, one of the highlights will be a session entitled “Transactions: Transformations and Structural Oddities in Molecular Crystals: In Honor of Bruce M. Foxman“. This session, organized to honor \Professor of Chemistry Bruce Foxman “for his contributions to the field of solid state chemistry and his dedication to teaching” on the occasion of his 7oth birthday. Foxman’s research over the years has involved solid state reactions and polymorphism of molecular crystals, and one of his greatest contributions to the field is a series of online tutorials, including one on Symmetry and Space Groups, another on Bruker’s APEX 2 software. and a third aimed at high school students. The symposium will be held in two parts on Sunday July 29, and Wednesday, August 1, at the ACA meeting in Boston.

Yoshida kicks off Summer seminar series

Assistant Professor of Biology Satoshi Yoshida kicked off the Life Sciences Summer Research Seminar series today, describing his research on wound healing in yeast to a capacity crowd in Rosenstiel 118. Wound healing in cells has been a difficult problem to study, partly because methods to create defined wounds in cells in a genetic model system have been lacking Yoshida and co-workers discovered that after focusing laser light at sublethal dosages on a budding yeast cell, the yeast cell responses by reorganizing its actin cytoskeleton so that the focus of growth goes away from the bud and towards the wound site. Yoshida described experiments to then define the genetic requirements for this shift in focus, with key players including Rho GTPase, protein kinase C, and the formin Bni1. Yoshida discussed results from his recent Cell paper “Competition between Cell Polarization and Cellular Wound Healing” as well as more recent ongoing results from the lab. There was a lively discussion following the seminar with eager students suggesting all kinds of possible follow-up experiments.

The seminar series will continue next Monday, July 16 at noon in Rosenstiel 118, with presentations from Jerome Menet (Rosbash lab) and Adam Osborne (Wangh lab).

Call for Speakers: Summer Life Science Seminar Series

Postdoctoral fellows Yuliya Sytnikova and Joana Enes write:

Dear Brandeis researchers,

Do you feel that summer is quite empty without seminars? Are you interested in learning about the research done in the life science departments at Brandeis? Then this is for you.

We proudly announce a series of Life Sciences Summer Seminars! This is intended to give opportunities mainly to postdoc students to present their work to the Brandeis scientific community, although young group leaders and last year’s graduate students are also encouraged to present.

WHEN?    On Mondays at 12 pm, from July 9th to August 20th

WHERE?    Rosenstiel 118


If you are interested in presenting, please reply to this email indicating your name, lab, department and title of the talk. Also, let us know of any dates that are not convenient for you. Spots are limited to 14 (2 per week), a minimum of 8 spots will be allocated to postdoc students on a first come first served basis.

We are also considering organizing a poster session to take place on the last day of the series. Please let us now if you would be interested in presenting a poster.

We look forward to seeing you in attendance at this great seminar series!

Joana and Yuliya

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