Division of Science Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends,  This is a very special edition of the Division of Science Newsletter. We are asking you to help support our summer undergraduate research students.   They do remarkable work, which was showcased at this year’s tremendously successful SCIFEST. (Read about it below). A record number of students -- 123 -- presented posters that described their summer research in all seven departments of the Division of Science. Four distinguished alumni spoke, and all credited the undergrad research they did at Brandeis for launching their careers in science. I suspect that, for many of you reading this newsletter, this will resonate.   Last year more than 40 papers were published with undergraduate co-authors. In surveys, our seniors invariably say the best part of their Brandeis education has been the opportunity to carry out significant research working alongside graduate students, postdocs and PIs. They cite the experience as pivotal in determining their career trajectory and the decision to go on to graduate school.  Science is expensive, however, and so is supporting these students for ten weeks. We pay each student $5,000 for the 10 weeks, the same as the NSF pays its summer undergraduate researchers. We have received valuable support from alumni, as well as from the Bauer and other foundations. When Fred Alt ’71 was awarded the Rosenstiel Prize in 2014, he immediately gave the $25,000 prize money back to support undergraduate research. Only a limited number of fellowships are so supported, however, and the competition for them is fierce.  Many students cannot afford a research internship over the summer without financial support. For these undergraduates, who include students of limited financial resources, first-generation college students, and members of underrepresented minorities, the idea of graduate school and a career in a STEM field may seem a pipe dream. We want to make it possible for these students to do science over the summer rather than work in a less interesting job that does not advance their career goals and aspirations.  Your donation in any amount -- be it $50 or $5,000 -- will help enormously. I’d like to invite you to make a contribution at the Brandeis giving website, scrolling down to the category designated “Undergraduate Summer Science Research Fellowship Fund.”   I look forward to writing you back personally to acknowledge your gift and to express my profound thanks for your support of this hugely important initiative.

The Division of Science e-newsletter was created in the summer of 2016 in order to keep alumni up-to-date about the Division's research, events, transitions and other news. It is distributed to alumni semi-annually.

Spring 2020

Highlights: The Spring 2020 newsletter focused on COVID's impact on the Brandeis campus and students. Items included: the research into the virus by three faculty members, a Psychology professor work on how Brandeis students were coping with virus-related stress, and the assistance of several Biology faculty members in the development of a COVID-19 teaching tool.

Fall 2019

Highlights: Information about SciFest IX (August 2019) and descriptions of research papers from Olivier Bernardi (Mathematics) and Shantanu Jadhav (Neuroscience). Bjoern Pennings (Physics) work with the Sanford Underground Facility was discussed. Faculty and undergraduate awards were noted. Faculty passings from 2019 and new hires were listed.

Spring 2019

Highlights: Karen Uhlenbeck, Brandeis alumna, received the Abel Prize in Mathematics. A profile of the Volen Center as it turns 25. John Wardle and the EHT project. James Pustejovsky uses AI to index WGBH productions. The "Magnify the Mind" funding effort begins. Research papers from Chemsitry, Neuroscience, and Biology are discussed. Science faculty received multiple awards.

Summer 2018

Highlights: Seven new faculty hires in Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry. The Mathematics department created a new major (Applied Mathematics). Brandeis received a $1 million grant from HHMI. Research papers from Seth Fraden (Physics), Suzanne Paradis and Stephen Van Hooser (Biology), Matthew Headrick (Physics) and Judith Herzfeld (Chemistry) were discussed. Awards were noted. 

Winter 2018

Highlights: Michael Rosbash and Jeffrey Hall received the Nobel Prize, Marcelle Soares-Santos (Physics) research is discussed, Gina Turrigiano and Leslie Griffith named AAAS Fellows, John Lisman and Carolyn Cohen's passings are noted. Research papers from the Avital Rodal lab (Biology), the Shantanu Jadhav lab (Neuroscience) and Zebrowitz Face Recognition lab (Psychology) were discussed. Awards and transitions were also included.

Summer 2017

Highlights: Research papers from the Paul Garrity (Biology), Bulbul Chakraborty (Physics), Robert Sekuler (Neuroscience) and Tim Hickey (Computer Science) labs were discussed. Papers from an undergraduate student and post-doctoral researcher were noted. Faculty promotions, new hires, and retirements were listed. Events and awards were included.

Winter 2017

Highlights: Recent research papers from Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology labs. James Pustejovsky (Computer Science) received a large grant from the Mellon Foundation. Irving Epstein (Chemistry) was named a AAAS Fellow. The newsletter includedd a profile of the Ashton Graybiel Lab. Recent grants and awards for the Division of Science were also listed.

Summer 2016

Highlights: Inaugural issue of the Division of Science newsletter. Topics included Eve Marder's Kavli Prize, Chris Miller's "Millerpooloza" event, and a student profile of REU students working in Brandeis labs over the summer. Awards and grants were listed.