Meet our new faculty member: Associate Professor of Biology Sebastian Kadener

Kadener researches a mysterious molecule in the brain called circular RNA. He also loves Tolstoy.

Sebastian KadenerPhoto: Mike Lovett

Sebastian Kadener

As part of our series profiling new professors, BrandeisNOW asked Kadener about his research and plans. 

BNOW: How did you become interested in your field/research area?

Kadener: I have always been passionate about research. As a kid, I already knew I would be a scientist. I just did not know what field would attract me most as I was interested in different questions related to physics, biology and astronomy. Since an early age, I have been curious about the unknown, wishing to inquire and find answers to complicated questions. That's why I decided to pursue a career as a scientist and focus my work on molecular neuroscience, where many questions remain unanswered. In particular, I am interested in how a new and mysterious type of molecule called circular RNA regulate brain function.
BNOW: What was your favorite course as a college student?

Kadener: While not directly related to my current research, I always loved evolution.

BNOW: What has been your proudest career moment so far?

Kadener: My best moments have been seeing my students present their research at a conference. My proudest career moment was seeing my first graduate student earn a doctorate a few years ago.

BNOW: What specific question/project are you most excited to explore in your work at Brandeis, and why?

Kadener: I am really excited about understanding the role of a new and abundant type of molecule in the brain called circular RNA. Those molecules are ancient and found in most life-forms, but their function is a complete enigma. It is so exciting to have the privilege to explore this uncharted territory. It is exciting to be working alongside such a vibrant community of brain researchers.

BNOW: What book would you recommend to introduce others to your field?

Kadener: One of the most inspiring books that I would recommend to read is "Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology" by French biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Jacques Monod.

BNOW: What's your favorite book/movie/television/radio program/podcast or hobby unrelated to your field, and why?

Kadener: There are so many I love, but if I had to limit it to a few books, I would say, "The Iliad," Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" and Fernando Pessoa's "The Book of Disquiet." One of my all-time favorite movies is "Solaris" by director Andrei Tarkovsky.

BNOW: What has surprised you about Brandeis since you came to campus?

Kadener: While I was at Brandeis for my postdoctoral studies, coming as a faculty member has been a completely different experience. I can feel this is a really vibrant community, and I have been excited by all the initiatives on campus, the interdisciplinary nature of the research done here and the strong passion for social justice felt by teachers and students.

BNOW: What advice do you have for students who are interested in your field?

Kadener: To follow their passions and instincts. I think that this is good advice my mentors gave me and will likely end up taking them to the right place in science.


Categories: Research, Science and Technology

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