Landsman Research Facility dedicated

Brandeis officials and members of the University's Science Advisory Council gather to honor Manny and Sheila Landsman

Sheila and Manny Landsman

Brandeis officials and members of the University’s Science Advisory Council gathered to dedicate the Landsman Research Facility, the campus home to a 15,000-pound superconducting magnet used by scientists to search for clues to solving the riddles of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

Longtime Brandeis supporters Manny and Sheila Landsman made a generous gift to fund construction of the building that houses the 800 MHz magnetic resonance spectrometer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Brandeis a $2 million grant to pay for the magnet.

"When we turned to Manny to help identify a donor who might be interested in supporting this project, he did what he always does: He said, 'I’ll do it.' " Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, PhD '72 said during the dedication ceremonies. "We are enormously grateful for the support of Manny and Sheila."

The state-of-the-art superconducting magnet, which stands about two stories tall, allows scientists a take a unique look at biological macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, enzymes, and other proteins. Researchers hope insights achieved through the use of the magnet will aid in the design of new drugs and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

"It’s a great honor to fund this facility because the knowledge gained will help mankind," Landsman said. "As an engineer, I respect what tools enable us to do. This machine will allow us to delve even deeper into the inner working of biological processes."

According to chemistry professor Thomas Pochapsky, who headed the effort to bring the superconducting magnet to Brandeis, researchers from many area schools – including Harvard, Brown, Tufts, Boston College, Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Connecticut – have conducted their own experiments using the "800" (as it is referred to by scientists).

Nearly a dozen journal articles based on research using the superconducting magnet have either been published or are nearing publication. One of the articles was published by a Brandeis undergraduate student.

"The superconducting magnet is worth the 10 years of effort to bring it here," Pochapsky said. "It gives us the ability to watch molecules at work."

In recent years, the Landsmans established the Landsman Charitable Foundation Endowed Scholarship at Brandeis and provided funding for the Office of Technology Licensing, which manages the patenting, licensing, trademarking, and copyrighting of intellectual property developed at the University. Since 2000, Manny has served as a member of the Science Advisory Council, which provides important guidance and support to the sciences at the University.

In 1981, Landsman co-founded American Power Conversion, which developed uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices for computers. The Rhode Island-based company has grown to a 6,000-employee firm with more than $2 billion in annual sales.
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