Fall 2010 Brandeis Magazine on Campus

The Fall 2010 issue of Brandeis Magazine is on campus and will soon be mailed to alumni. This issue launched a new design, a companion website and a new name.

Cover of Fall 2010 issueBrowse inside and you’ll find in-depth coverage of Brandeis scientists and their research, as well as stories about undergraduates engaged in research in leading labs, profiles of alums in science and other science-related news. The cover story, written by science writer Deborah Halber ’80, profiles Liane Carter ’76 as she reflects on life with her autistic son, Mickey, now a 17-year-old facing an uncertain adulthood. Weaving into the story the research of neuroscientists Don Katz, Susan Birren and Sacha Nelson, along with Heller experts Marji Erickson Warfield and Susan Parish, Halber offers a vivid glimpse into this excruciatingly complex spectrum of disorders. And don’t forget to read the sidebar “My Life on the Spectrum” by Jake Crosby ’11.

A work in progress, the new magazine aims to include more coverage of scientists and their scholarship, arts and culture, along with features about alumni, faculty and students whose lives, jobs or personalities make for strong, compelling stories of interest to Brandeisians. The magazine includes two new columns. “Turning Points” is where alumni authors share their pivotal experiences and “aha” moments, while “Perspective” is reserved for faculty who want to pen an opinion piece that draws on their research interests.

So, check out the magazine and the website, which also allows you to share articles and find additional books by faculty and alumni. Please send comments and story ideas to gardner@brandeis.edu.

Lots of seminars coming

Whole bunch of seminars and award lectures coming up in the next week. Steven Reppert from U. Mass. talks today at 4 about monarch butterfly migration and its relationship to the circadian clock. On Monday at noon, Giovanni Bosco (PhD in Mol Cell Biol, Brandeis, 1998) will talk about condensins and global chromosome structure.

On Tuesday, we have the 39th Annual Rosenstiel Award lectures at 4. Jules Hoffman and Ruslan Medzhitov will get award “for their elucidation of the mechanisms of innate immunity”.

Next Wednesday we have the Heart Research Series lecture. Monty Krieger, Whitehead Professor of Molecular Genetics at MIT, will talk about cholesterol, genetics, and heart disease. Finally, next Thursday will have Josh Tenenbaum from MIT speaking in the Psychology Colloquium about “How to Grow a Mind”.

Details (time, room number) about upcoming seminars are always available in the Seminars widget in the left-hand column on this blog.

Sense from Chaos in Neural Networks

Distinguished physicist and neuroscientist, former Brandeis professor and alumnus Larry Abbott (Ph.D., Physics, 1977) will return to campus on Monday to speak in the IGERT Computational Neuroscience Seminar Series. Larry will talk about new work on “Sense and Chaos in Neural Networks”. The talk will be in Gerstenzang 121 at 4 pm on Monday, Jan 26. Refreshments are available at 3:45 PM.

Microscopy (2): studying molecular motors

An article in Cell by recent Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. graduate Susan Tran and coworkers demonstrates the power of single particle microscopy in combination with Drosophila genetics in studying molecular motors. Studying lipid droplet movement in embryos, they show that multiple motors are attached to droplets in vivo. Surprisingly, having multiple motors per droplet in vivo doesn’t result in higher velocities or distances traveled.

How long does it take the brain to access short-term memory?

A recent paper in Neuroimage by Brandeis Neuroscience Ph. D. program alumnus Yigal Agam, Professor Robert Sekuler and coworkers attempts to answer the question. To identify the earliest neural signs of recognition memory, they used event related potentials collected from human observers engaged in a visual short term memory task.  Their results point to an initial feed-forward interaction that underlies comparisons between what is being current seen and what has been stored in memory.  The locus of these earliest recognition-related potentials is consistent with the idea that visual areas of the brain contribute to temporary storage of visual information for use in ongoing tasks. This study provides a first look into early neural activity that supports the processing of visual information during short-term memory.

Neuroscience in Bristol (UK)

James Hodge, a former postdoc from the Griffith lab here at Brandeis, is now running a lab at the University of Bristol in England. James is looking for a qualified postdoc to work on molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and learning using Drosophila.

Click here to read full details.

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