Usman Hameedi ’08 writes about the Science Posse experience

UsmanUsman Hameedi ’08, a member of the first Science Posse at Brandeis, has written about his experience in a piece that recently appeared at Huff Post College. Hameedi, a Biology major, scientist, poet, and aspiring doctor, tells the story of the grand experiment that was the first posse:

Science Posse was new to everyone at Brandeis — the students, the mentors, the faculty and the administration. You could tell there was a lot of interest in making it a success. People wondered: Was this too ambitious? Would this work? […]

Left: Hameedi in his Brandeis days, working in the Thomas Lab.

Thomas to receive 14th Annual Strage Award

On March 26, 2012, Professor Gregory A. Petsko wrote on behalf of the Strage Award Selection Committee:

It is with great pleasure that I announce the recipient of this year’s Strage Award for Aspiring Young Science Faculty, Dr. Christine Thomas of the Chemistry Department.

Christine is one of the most promising young chemists in the country. In 2010, Prof. Thomas was selected for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program and in 2011, she was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. Christine is also the recipient of a 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER award and was selected as a 2012 Organometallics Fellow. Christine’s dedication to teaching was recognized with the 2012 Michael L. Walzer ‘56 Award for Excellence in Teaching at Brandeis.

Her research focuses on utilizing creative new strategies for the design of catalysts that have the potential to promote the multi-electron, multi-proton conversion of abundant small molecules (CO2, CH4, H2, N2, etc) into  useful fuels. The long-term goal of her program is nothing less than the development of solutions to the nation’s energy generation and storage problems. The catalysts she is currently designing all involve the cooperation  between different components of bifunctional catalysts. Specifically, her group is examining the cooperation  between (1) two metal centers in bimetallic frameworks, (2) metal centers and a non-innocent ligands, and (3) metal centers and their secondary coordination spheres, and the unique effects that such cooperation can have on the reactivity of these species.

Please join me in congratulating Christine on winning this award, and bring your students and postdocs t0 her Strage Award Lecture. The award ceremony and lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 3, in Gerstenzang 123 at 1:00 pm.

Teaching awards for Hickey & Thomas

Professor of Computer Science Tim Hickey and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Christine Thomas are among the 2012 winners of major Brandeis teaching awards.  Hickey won the Lerman-Neubauer ’69 Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. Thomas received the Michael L. Walzer ’56 Award for Teaching.

Among the comments from student nominators:

When I first met Professor Hickey in the fall of my first year during my COSI 2A class, he was incredibly knowledgeable, patient, encouraging and caring about our progress in his class…

Professor Christine Thomas might be the most dedicated, passionate teacher I have ever had…

See the full story at Brandeis NOW.

“Hunting the Elements” to air on PBS on April 4

PBS will be airing a NOVA special on April 4th called “Hunting the Elements“, with a substantial segment on “The Elements of Life” filmed right here at Brandeis (and featuring Prof. Christine Thomas). The program is meant for a general audience, so it won’t be terribly technical and it should certainly be fun to watch. Definitely tell your friends and families to tune in!

I knew something was up when i ran into cameramen while going into Gzang 123 to teach…

Brandeis has a long history of working with PBS in making educational television, dating back to the early days of the university. You can read more about it on the Archives and Special Collections webpage and in Abram Sachar’s book Brandeis University: A Host at Last.

 See also story at Brandeis NOW.

Brandeis Undergrads Gain Awards at SACNAS

On October 29th, 2011, Brandeis undergrads Lamia Harper (’12), Charity Frempomaa (’12), Sadrach Pierre (’13) and Carlos Pérez (’13) from our local SACNAS chapter represented Brandeis at the Annual Conference of the Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) in San José, California.  Lamia and Sadrach both received awards for their research poster presentations. Lamia, who works in the Paradis lab, won an award in the Cellular and Molecular Biology category for her poster: Gene Discovery: Protein Kinases that Affect Synapse Development in the Mammalian CNS. Sadrach, who works in the Thomas lab in Chemistry, was awarded under the Biochemistry category for his poster: Sulfoamide Boronic Acids as Inhibitors of Beta-Lactamase.

Daniel Graham ’10, and Aaron Gell ’10, and Jeffrey Dobereiner ’09 awarded 2011 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Former chemistry majors Daniel Graham ’10, Aaron Gell ’10, and Jeffrey Dobereiner ’09 have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. These Fellowships, geared towards ensuring the vitality of the country’s scientific workforce, support the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in scientific research.  Dan and Aaron are currently first year graduate students at MIT, pursuing Ph.D.s in inorganic chemistry.  Dan received highest honors in chemistry for thesis research conducted in the lab of Professor Christine M. Thomas, and is currently continuing to investigate chemical approaches to renewable energy strategies in the lab of Professor Daniel Nocera at MIT.  Aaron, also an inorganic chemist, conducted undergraduate research in the Brandeis chemistry department under the supervision of Professor Bruce Foxman. Jeff was a double major in anthropology and chemistry at Brandeis and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Archaeology at Harvard University, where he is applying his chemistry knowledge to the analysis of ancient artifacts. In addition, Delora Gaskins, a 2011 incoming graduate student in the area of physical chemistry, was awarded an NSF Fellowship.  Delora is completing her undergraduate degree at Cal. State. – Long Beach and hopes to join the lab of Professor Irving Epstein in the fall of 2011.

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