2013-14 Speakers

Speakers are listed in order of appearance.

Greg BearmanGreg Bearman

Greg Bearman retired in 2007 from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he worked as a principal scientist for 28 years. Although his PhD is in atomic physics, much of his work has been in biomedical imaging and spectroscopy.

About 15 years ago, Bearman began using electronic and spectral imaging in the field of archeology. He has worked on World Heritage objects, most notably the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Bearman is currently the head of the imaging team for the Israel Antiquities Authority, charged with imaging and publishing all the Dead Sea Scrolls online. He also is monitoring the conservation state of the scrolls through imaging; the approaches his team is developing will be widely applicable to cultural heritage conservation in general.

Professor John WardleJohn Wardle

John Wardle, a professor of astrophysics at Brandeis, has a PhD from the University of Manchester, England. He studies powerful extragalactic radio sources and especially the nuclei of quasars using the Very Large Array and the Very Long Baseline Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Wardle specializes in making polarization observations of quasars to map magnetic fields near the super-massive black holes at the heart of these objects.

Recent results include the first detections of circular polarization at milli-arcsecond resolution and a new technique for measuring the distance to high redshift quasars.

Eve MarderEve Marder

Eve Marder, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Brandeis, received her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, in 1974 and did postdoctoral work at the École normale supérieure in Paris.

The past president of the Society for Neuroscience, she is the Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience and head of the Division of Science at Brandeis. Her honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the 2013 Gruber Prize in Neuroscience.

Marder researches the dynamics of small neural circuits and was instrumental in demonstrating that neuronal circuits are not “hard-wired” but can be reconfigured by neuromodulatory neurons and substances. She currently studies a relatively simple network of some 30 large neurons found in the gut of lobsters and crabs — a small yet elegant window into humans’ unfathomably rich nervous system, home to billions of neurons and trillions of interconnections.

Ruth CharneyRuth Charney

Ruth Charney was an undergraduate at Brandeis during the tumultuous years of the early 1970s, then earned her PhD from Princeton in 1977.

After serving on the faculties of the University of California, Berkeley; Yale; and the Ohio State University, she returned to Brandeis as a professor of mathematics in 2003. Her research in geometric group theory involves the interplay among algebra, topology and geometry.

She was recently named a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and is currently serving as president of the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Irv EpsteinIrv Epstein

Irv Epstein is the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, senior adviser to the provost and senior research officer at Brandeis. In his four decades at the university, he has twice chaired the Department of Chemistry and served as dean of arts and sciences. He received his AB, MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University and a Diploma in Advanced Mathematics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar.

Epstein has been awarded Guggenheim, Humboldt and NSF Faculty Professional Development Fellowships as well as a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The author of nearly 400 publications, he is an honorary professor at the China University of Mining and Technology, serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Systems Chemistry and Chaos, and is a fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences.

Paul GarrityPaul Garrity

Paul Garrity, a biologist at Brandeis, earned a BA from Swarthmore College and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the molecular genetics of neural development and behavior.

Using the fruit fly as the primary model system, his lab studies how animals avoid extreme temperatures and seek out preferred temperatures. It also studies how these behavioral responses vary among populations and species.

Garrity, who was a McKnight Scholar in Neurosciences in 1998 and a Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Scholar in 1999, won the 8th Annual Alberta Gotthardt and Henry Strage Award for Aspiring Young Science Faculty in 2006.

Liz HedstromLiz Hedstrom

One sunny day in May 1980, as Liz Hedstrom was completing her bachelor’s in chemistry at the University of Virginia, her favorite chemistry professor, Tom Cromartie, suggested she go to Brandeis to work on a PhD with biochemist Robert Abeles. Hedstrom earned her doctorate in 1986, then went on to do postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco.

Now, almost 30 years after that pivotal May day, she is back at Brandeis as a professor of biology. Her laboratory uses the tools of both chemistry and biology to develop new strategies for treating human diseases.