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.

New England Complex Fluids Workshop at Brandeis Sept 21

The 52nd New England Complex Fluids Workshop will be held on September 21, 2012. hosted by the Brandeis MRSEC. The workshop will feature a panel of researchers from industry exploring the academic / industrial relationship. Additionally, we will have one session of invited academic speakers, plus  two contributed “sound bite” sessions. Please consider submitting your work for an oral presentation.

In addition to taking questions from the floor, the panel will address questions such as  what kind of training and education do industrial labs seek in job applicants? What (scientific) knowledge should applicants possess? experience? skills? creativity? business knowledge? What should the universities do to better prepare students for a career in industry? What opinion do the industrial scientists and managers have on the research being done at universities? And how does research done in industry compare to that done in universities?  How common are collaborations between industry and academic researchers? What makes a successful collaboration? When does industry use academic consultants?

Registration (free) required: (deadline: 8am, September 19, 2012)


 Registration & Coffee9:00 – 9:30 AM Shapiro Campus Center, Room 236.1 Talk9:30 PM – 10:10 AM  (30 mins + 10 disc)
Shapiro Campus Center Theater

Michael Aizenberg, Wyss Institute, Harvard
     Responsive Gel-Based Dynamic Materials

Sound Bites10:15 AM – 11 AM
Shapiro Campus Center Theater
            Five minute updates of current research

Coffee11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Shapiro Center, Room 236

Panel11:30 – 1:00 PM 
Shapiro Center, Room 236
Industry / Academic relations
Rick Jacubinas (BASF), Darren Link (Raindance), Ian Morrison (Harvard)
Chris Harrison (Schlumberger), Patrick Spicer (Procter & Gamble)

Lunch1:00 – 2:00 PM
 Shapiro Center, Room 236

1 Talk2:00 PM – 2:40 PM  (30 mins + 10 disc)
Shapiro Campus Center Theater
Shekhar Garde, Chem & Bio Eng, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Hydration Phenomena at the Interface of Physics and Biology

Sound Bites: 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Shapiro Campus Center Theater
            Five minute updates of current research

Coffee4:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Shapiro Center, Room 236

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

Brandeis Café Science Opens Tonight

Brandeis scientists have started a Science Cafe, to discuss contemporary research in the life sciences, physics, chemistry and related fields.  The Cafe provides a way for non-scientists at Brandeis, and for residents of Waltham and surrounding communities, to learn about science from Brandeis’ accomplished scientists.  It is also a way for life scientists to learn something about physics and vice versa!

The Cafe will be held 6-7 PM the first Monday of every month at the Elephant Walk in Waltham at 663 Main St  (with parking nearby at the Common St garage).  The first speaker is Greg Petsko (Biochemistry) who will speak about “Drugs for Neurologic Disorders”  on April 2 (tonight).  $10 admission gets you a drink and a talk.

See story at

Surgeon-scientist Friedlander ’87 to speak on Wednesday, Feb 29

Robert Friedlander, MD, Chairman and Professor of Neurological Surgery at Univ. Pittsburgh Medical Center, will visit campus on Wednesday, Feb 29. Dr. Friedlander is a graduate of the Biochemistry Department at Brandeis (BA/MA, 1987). He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1991 followed by a residency in neurosurgery (also at Harvard).

Dr. Friedlander is a leading scientist investigating the mechanisms of neuronal cell death in a broad spectrum of neurological diseases. His work has developed new approaches for the treatment of stroke, brain and spinal cord injury as well as Huntington’s disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He is one of a very select group of authors to have been invited by the New England Journal of Medicine to write both a basic science review (mechanisms of neuronal cell death), as well as a clinical review (management of AVMs).

Friedlander will lecture on the Role of CASPASES in Neurologic Issues in the Joint Biology/Biochemistry Seminar Series at 4:00 pm in Gerstenzang 121.

Friedlander has also kindly agreed to be available to talk to pre-medical students who might want to hear about medical school, the ins-and-outs of an academic career as a surgeon scientist, and strategies for getting into med school. The meeting will be held at 5:15 pm on Wednesday, also in Gerstenzang 121.


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