2020-2021 M.R. Bauer Foundation Summary

2021 Bauer Summary cover

The 2020-2021 M.R. Bauer Foundation Colloquium Series, Distinguished Lecturer Series, Annual Scientific Retreat, and Summer Science Research Fellowship

I hope that this letter finds you in good health and good spirits, having made fresh discoveries and unearthed new interests during an unforgettable and unrelenting year. 

Throughout, Brandeis scientists and students pressed forward. While our daily lives and work schedules rarely settled on a straight line, we toiled at home and, when possible, in the lab. The pandemic restricted connections to family and colleagues and, for some, paused research activity. Still, teaching and learning, unconventional to be sure, was still undertaken with rigor, pluck, and good humor. It was an equally humbling and inspiring experience for us all.

This unprecedented challenge required incredible adaptation. I am proud of the university: Brandeis has proven, once again, its resourcefulness and resilience. Such is the spirit of this distinctive institution. 

The social solidarity that guided the university through these difficult months is familiar to those of us in the Volen Center and across the Brandeis research enterprise. A shared sense of purpose is the hallmark of science at Brandeis. We place the highest value on collaboration. It is the animating characteristic of the research culture. Undergraduates and graduate students as well as faculty and visiting scientists rely upon each other for intellectual guidance, professional mentorship, or friendship. Whether quarantined or working across the bench, we care for and protect each other. This community is special.

The year ahead is going to require adjustments and reorientation, but our sightline is clear and focused. We will continue to push the boundaries of foundational research, developing new knowledge and methods and reasserting the Volen Center’s reputation for making consequential contributions to science.

To do so, we will continue to rely on our supporters, including the irreplaceable M.R. Bauer Foundation, and the many others who believe that our investigations enhance understanding of the human condition. We look forward to joining you, in person, and soon, to pursue our shared scientific pursuits.

Leslie C. Griffith, MD, PhD
Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Neuroscience and
Director, Volen National Center for Complex Systems


As always, we thank the speakers who adapted and made virtual visits this past year to share their research with us and to engage us in many hours of stimulating discussion and exchanges of ideas with Volen Center faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows. We are also grateful to our visitors for forwarding to us their lecture summaries that form the basis of this report.

We especially acknowledge Kim MacKenzie, a past neuroscience PhD graduate, for her valuable contributions and editorial assistance in the preparation of this report.