Of Note

Hiatt Career Center forms new 'Engagement Team'Posted: Jan. 14, 2022
A new team formed within the Hiatt Career Center will strengthen connections between students, employers and alumni to build a more robust culture of networking, recruiting and career education at Brandeis. 
The new Hiatt External Engagement Team is headed by associate director, Melissa O’Karma who will lead an expanded team of 5 full-time staff with a mission to bring together employers, alumni, parents, volunteers and students. Melissa recently oversaw the successful development of Hiatt’s Rise Together Mentor Network with alumni relations.
“Our collaboration with alumni is a vital component of our work, and the new External Engagement Team will enable better coordination between alumni as volunteers, mentors, and employers across Hiatt programs, broadening our external reach and elevating our overall engagement strategy,” said Hiatt Career Center Director Jon Schlesinger.
The new team will help Hiatt expand on efforts implemented in the last two years including growing The Hiatt Ecosystems and Recruiting at Brandeis.  
“By integrating and streamlining our service offerings we’ll be able to increase the quality and depth of employers we are connected with, and offer more events for students and alumni to start or further their careers,” Schlesinger said.
Learn more about the impact of employer and alumni contributions as well as Hiatt updates in the 2020-2021 Hiatt Volunteer Impact Report.
Brandeis honored as a top university for students receiving the prestigious Gilman Scholarship Posted: Oct. 29, 2021
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recognized Brandeis University for being among the top universities in the country in the number of students receiving the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship since the program’s inception in 2001.

Brandeis was ranked fourth in the country among schools with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, and second overall in Massachusetts, with 129 students receiving scholarships to support their studies or internships abroad in the past two decades.

Throughout its 20-year history, the Department of State’s Gilman Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.

“The Gilman scholarship has greatly aided Brandeis students in studying abroad who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to do so. It aligns with our university's social justice mission in increasing access and equity for students as they embark on transformative learning experiences on campus and abroad,” said Alisha Cardwell, director of the Office of Study Abroad at Brandeis. “The Office of Study Abroad works closely with students to make international study financial accessible, including personalized advising for scholarships like the Gilman scholarship.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan Rosenzweig recognized the Gilman Program’s Top Producing Institutions as the U.S. colleges and universities that have sent the most Gilman Scholars abroad over the past two decades. These institutions, including Brandeis, were recognized for their support of equity, diversity, and accessibility in study abroad for American students through the Gilman Program.

As the recent Department of State and Department of Education Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education noted, “All Americans need to be equipped with global and cultural competencies to navigate the ever-changing landscapes of education, international business, scientific discovery and innovation, and the global economy.”
Rosenstiel Award winners Julius and Patapoutian, who transformed our understandings of touch, win Nobel PrizePosted: Oct. 4, 2021
David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian Noah Berger for UCSF and HHMI/Sandy Huffaker

David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian

When the 49th Rosenstiel Award was announced in October 2019, no one anticipated that winners Ardem Patapoutian and David Julius would be unable to come to Brandeis to receive their award because of a global pandemic.

Almost two years to the week that the Rostenstiel was announced, Patapoutian and Julius were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

While they will be the first Rosenstiel awards to attend their Rosenstiel ceremony as Nobel winners, over its five decades the Rosenstiel has become an award that frequently preceeds the Nobel. Patapoutian and Julius are now the 37th and 38th Rosenstiel awardees to receive the Nobel.

A new online ceremony for the 49th Rosenstiel Awards, featuring a webinar, has been scheduled for October 12, 2021. Registration is available online. 

Updated information was added to this article on Oct.4, 2021. 

Ardem Patapoutian and David Julius were announced awarded The 49th Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research has been awarded in or their fundamental and far-reaching studies of the molecular mechanisms of touch, temperature and pain. 

David Julius is professor and chair of the department of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. His lab identified the channels that respond to heating and cooling the skin, leading to a broad understanding of how our bodies sense temperature.

He also solved a long-standing puzzle by showing that capsaicin, the pungent agent in hot chili peppers, appears hot because it activates the TRPV1 “heat” receptor, while menthol feels cold because it activates the TRPM8 “cold” receptor.

This work has also led to profound insights into how pain is sensed and how inflammation affects pain sensitivity.

Julius is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the winner of a number of awards, including the W. Alden Spencer Prize, the Kenneth S. Cole Award of the Biophysical Society, the Shaw Prize, the Canada Gairdner International Award and the Breakthrough Prize.

Ardem Patapoutian is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator in the department of neuroscience at Scripps Research in California as well as an adjunct professor in the neuroscience program of the University of California, San Diego.

He and his colleagues contributed importantly to studies of temperature sensation, and subsequently turned their attention to how the skin senses mechanical stimuli. They identified the Piezo channel proteins that enable touch sensing and proprioception.

They went on to show that these channels play many unexpected roles in cell physiology, including the regulation of red blood cell volume and the properties of airways in the lung. He has since identified other channels that sense other mechanical stimuli.

Patapoutian is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a winner of the W. Alden Spencer Prize.

The Rosenstiel Award has had a distinguished record of identifying and honoring pioneering scientists who subsequently have been honored with the Lasker Award and Nobel prizes. 

In 2020, the Rosenstiel Award was conferred on Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissmann, for their pioneering work in the development of mRNA vaccines

In 2018, the award was conferred on Stephen C. Harrison (Harvard) for his elucidation of protein structures using X-ray crystallography. In 2017, Titia de Lange (Rockefeller University) was named for her pioneering work on how cells preserve the integrity of their chromosomes.

In 2017 Professor Titia de Lange (Rockefeller University) was named for her pioneering work on how cells preserve the integrity of their chromosomes.

In 2016, Susan Lindquist (MIT) was cited for her work on the association of protein aggregation and neurological disease. In 2015, Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi (Tokyo Institute of Technology) was the recipient for his description of protein degradation through the process of autophagy.

Thirty six of 90 Rosenstiel Award winners have subsequently been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology or in Chemistry. A full list of awardees can be found at http://www.brandeis.edu/rosenstiel/rosenstielaward/past.html

Biology professor Alexandre Bisson named to Pew Scholars ProgramPosted: June 15, 2021

Brandeis biology professor Alexandre Bisson has been named one of 22 researchers to join the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences.

Bisson, an expert in cellular organization and behavior, will probe the molecular mechanisms through which single-cell organisms can radically change their shape. Bisson will receive funding over the next four years to fund his research as part of a Pew Scholars Program initiative to investigate timely questions surrounding human health and disease.

“Pew has a history of supporting talented researchers who are committed to understanding intricate scientific processes,” said Pew president and CEO Susan K. Urahn. “Our newest cohort of scholars is joining a large community of accomplished scientists who are dedicated to uncovering new solutions to significant biomedical challenges.”

The 2021 class of scholars — all of whom are early-career junior faculty — join more than 1,000 other scientists who have received awards from Pew since 1985. Current scholars have opportunities to meet annually, share ongoing research, and exchange perspectives across the health sciences field.

Pew selected Bisson and his colleagues in the 2021 class of scholars from 198 applicants nominated by leading academic institutions and researchers across the U.S.

CFO Sam Solomon elected as chair of The Boston ConsortiumPosted: June 7, 2021
The Boston Consortium for Higher Education (TBC), a consortium of twenty institutions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, today announced that Samuel Solomon, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Brandeis University, has been elected by TBC’s Board of Directors to serve as its chair for a term of two years beginning July 1, 2021.

“As we step into a new post-COVID normal world, we do so facing new challenges and opportunities. This is a watershed moment in the history of higher education. Many of our institutions are collaborating and supporting each other like never before. I am honored to be leading this august organization,” Solomon stated.

Solomon has served on TBC’s Board for six years, including four years as its treasurer, during his time as chief financial officer and treasurer at Brandeis and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and has an MBA and doctorate from Northeastern University. He is also a CFA® charterholder.

TBC was established in 1995 by the chief financial officers of eleven Boston-area colleges and universities. Membership has grown to twenty institutions in two states. The consortium supports its institutions as they achieve administrative excellence through collaboration, cost savings, and professional development.
Professor Alexander Kaye receives Young Scholar AwardPosted: June 7, 2021

The Association for Israel Studies named Brandeis professor Alexander Kaye a recipient of its 2021 Young Scholar Award.

Kaye is the Karl, Harry, and Helen Stoll Assistant Professor of Israel Studies, teaching classes in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Brandeis’ Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. He joined the Brandeis faculty in 2018.

His most recent book, “The Invention of Jewish Theocracy: The Struggle for Legal Authority in Modern Israel” (Oxford University Press), investigates Jewish nationalists’ desire for Israel to become a “halakhic state,” which would mean using Jewish Orthodox law to govern the State of Israel.

The Young Scholar Award carries a $5,000 prize and recognizes scholars who make significant contributions to Israel studies, and whose record of research and publication demonstrates the potential to shape the field in the future.

Founded in 1985 and chartered in the U.S., the Association for Israel Studies is an international scholarly society devoted to the study of modern Israel. The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies is a scholarly affiliate of the organization.