Microscope Campaign Reaches Goal, Sets Sights Higher

Scientists at Brandeis will soon be able to answer complex questions about how the brain works using a new two-photon resonance microscope, the purchase of which has recently been made possible through the Brandeis National Committee’s Magnify the Mind campaign.

The fundraising effort exceeded its initial goal of $500,000 well before the campaign’s June 30 end. To capitalize on that success, the BNC has increased the campaign goal and now hopes to raise an additional $236,000. Associate professor of biology Steve Van Hooser, who leads Brandeis’ Neural Circuits Lab, says the extra funds will go to purchase equipment for the microscope, which is designed to image the brain in action.

“In order to use the microscope to its full potential,” Van Hooser says, “we need anesthesia machines; heart-rate monitors; treadmills; and special displays and apparatus for presenting visual, auditory and taste stimuli to subjects. We also need to move some walls to create enough room for the microscope and its equipment.”

So far, the campaign has received gifts from more than 700 individuals and more than 100 chapter events, with Cherie and Gary Aviv providing the lead gift.

“When Gary and I heard about the Magnify the Mind initiative, we were inspired to support this campaign,” Cherie says. “We take care of Gary’s mom, who has Alzheimer’s, and we daily see the impact of this debilitating disease. Investing in this cutting-edge microscope and research is critical to understanding and finding cures and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.”

Van Hooser is grateful for the support: “Our life’s work — performing research to understand the brain while training the next generation of physicians and scientists — is not possible without philanthropy.”

Madalyn Friedberg, BNC national president since 2016, says she is overwhelmed by the response from BNC members and friends, “and by the fact that, because of the Avivs and other generous donors, we surpassed our initial goal early.”

Friedberg is especially excited that the microscope was created by a company founded by a Brandeis graduate.

Neurolabware, which builds the rare microscope, was founded by UCLA neurobiologist Joshua Trachtenberg ’90. Trachtenberg, who participated in lab research as an undergraduate, has high expectations for what the faculty and student researchers at his alma mater will accomplish with the new tool.

“While I am certain they will use this microscope to answer questions about the development, plasticity, disease and repair of the nervous system,” Trachtenberg says, “my true hope is that, in the process of doing so, they reveal new questions we had never thought to ask before.”

For more information about the microscope or the campaign, or to help meet the new campaign goal by June 30, visit the Magnify the Mind website.

Madalyn Friedberg
Madalyn Friedberg

Message From the BNC President

I had the special pleasure of meeting BNC leaders on the West Coast earlier this year. Hearing their insights, best practices, suggestions and perspectives on their chapters was inspirational for me. Sharing information helps us create an even stronger BNC.

Our Magnify the Mind campaign exemplifies our success. We’ve already met our original goal and are now asking for gifts that will help create a state-of-the-art neuroscience-research microscopy center for the two-photon resonance microscope your generosity helped secure. I look forward to sharing the campaign’s final numbers with you — as well as details about a celebration ceremony.

Your feedback and continued participation are important to us. Thank you for being a part of Brandeis.

Warmly,
Madalyn Friedberg

Celebrate With 70 for 70


“Throughout the years, the BNC has provided us with intellectual stimulation and the opportunity to support Brandeis University through philanthropic endeavors and fundraising campaigns. BNC’s 70 for 70 initiative is a unique way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of both Brandeis and the BNC. Making a gift by will, bequest, charitable remainder trust or gift annuity — or by adding Brandeis to your beneficiary designations (life insurance or retirement account) — may provide you with income tax deductions, partial capital gains and more. Help secure your and Brandeis’ future, as we have already done: Make your planned gift by June 30.”

— Leslie and Arthur Pearlstein, Boston Chapter

BNC Roundup

National Executive Committee Meeting

Two smiling women
Carol Kern, Phoenix Chapter member and former national president, and Lynne Groban, of the Greater Washington Chapter, who are co-chairs of the Magnify the Mind campaign.
Three smiling women
Judith Perlman (left) and Elaine Bercy (right), Conejo Valley Chapter co-presidents, with Nancy Saks of the Phoenix Chapter.
Three smiling women
Sue Karp (left) and Carol Abrams (right), both of the Phoenix Chapter, with Madalyn Friedberg, BNC national president.

California Awards Luncheon

Two women and two men, smiling, with their arms around one another's backs
Joshua Trachtenberg ’90, assistant professor of neurobiology at UCLA; Madalyn Friedberg, BNC national president; Don Katz, Brandeis psychology professor; and Beth Bernstein, MA’90, BNC executive director.
Two smiling women, one holding a plaque
Sandy Brooks and Madeleine Frankel accept the Santa Clara Valley Chapter’s Louis D. Brandeis Achievement Award.
A large group of women, posing in a long row
The Conejo Valley Chapter receives one of the three Louis D. Brandeis Achievement Awards presented for reaching chapter goals in 2017-18.
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