Rosbash accepts Gruber Chair
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 21:10
The University hosted the dedication and inaugural lecture of Prof. Michael Rosbash (BIOL), the new Gruber Chair in Neuroscience, on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, with Rosbash being honored for his distinguished career working on the circadian rhythms in Drosophila fruit flies.
Provost Steve Goldstein ’78 introduced University President Frederick Lawrence, who spoke on the important impact Brandeis has on scientific research despite its small size.
Prof. Eve Marder (BIOL), who introduced Rosbash, spoke about the importance of circadian rhythms and how the study of these daily cycles allows researchers to uncover the mechanisms behind specific behaviors.
In his remarks, Rosbash discussed the physiological significance of the circadian rhythm, citing implications in jetlag, sleep disorders and the occurrence and symptom onset of various diseases.
The Gruber Chair is endowed by The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, which seeks “to honor and encourage educational excellence, social justice and scientific achievements that better the human condition,” according to the Foundation’s website. Established in 1993, the Foundation is a private, United States-based philanthropic organization funded entirely by Peter and Patricia Gruber, who serve as its chairman and president, respectively.
Rosbash, who received his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the inaugural holder of the Peter Gruber Chair in Neuroscience and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Rosbash is also the director of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the National Academy of Sciences.
Rosbash and Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Hall (BIOL) collaborated closely for more than two decades in their research on the Drosophila fruit fly and cloning its period gene, a key regulator of circadian rhythms.
The circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in biochemical, physiological and behavioral processes synchronized to the period of the day. These cycles are a fundamental aspect of behavior in humans and all other animals as well.
Following Rosbash’s presentation, the audience was encouraged to ask questions to further the research discussion. A small reception followed the lecture.
“The Gruber Chair is a great honor for me personally and for all of Neuroscience at Brandeis,” Rosbash wrote in an email to the Justice.
“The gift also recognizes the excellence of the entire Life Science enterprise here. It has prospered because of an interactive environment, a wonderful set of colleagues and in small measure the support of an enlightened administration,” Rosbash concluded.
Rosbash was also the recipient of the Gruber prize in 2009.
According to the Foundation’s website, “A major focus of the Foundation’s philanthropy is its International Prize Program, created to recognize excellence in the sciences and humanities by highlighting five fields that create a better world: Cosmology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Justice and Women’s Rights.”