Award-winning Research

The 2012 class of American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows includes three scientists with Brandeis ties. Brandeis professor of biology Gina Turrigiano and Stanford University biologist Liqun Luo, Ph.D.’92, were elected in the neurosciences, cognitive sciences and behavioral biology section. And Bonnie Berger ’83, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT, was elected in the mathematics section.

In April, history professor Michael Willrich received the Law­rence W. Levine Award, given annually by the Organization of American Historians to recognize the best book in American cultural history. Willrich won for “Pox: An American History,” his account of the smallpox outbreaks that spread through U.S. cities around the beginning of the 20th century and the clash between those who urged compulsory vaccination and those who believed such a mandate eroded civil liberties. Willrich’s research, the award committee noted, “recovers surprising moments in histories of urban politics, eugenics, health activism, legal rights and the cultural constructions of race and class.”

Division of Science head Eve Marder ’69 this spring earned both the George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the Karl Spencer Lashley Award in Neuroscience from the American Philosophical Society. Through her study of the nervous systems of lobsters and crabs, Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience, probes the biological basis of animal-to-animal variability, seeking to understand how different the underlying structures of an animal’s brain can be and still produce stereotypical behavior, and what kinds of differences cause a brain to go from healthy to diseased.