Welcome to the

Beckman Institute

The Beckman Institute at Illinois is a world-class interdisciplinary facility devoted to ground-breaking research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, biology, behavior, cognition, and neuroscience.

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About the Beckman Institute

The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology opened in 1989 as one of the first facilities in the world dedicated to interdisciplinary research. The Institute's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary approach to doing leading-edge research in the physical and life sciences, and engineering. The Institute was founded on the premise that reducing the barriers between traditional scientific and technological disciplines can yield the greatest advances. Research is focused broadly around four themes: Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, and Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures. The 313,000-square foot building was made possible by a gift from Arnold and Mabel Beckman. More than 1,500 faculty, students, and postdoctoral and other associates are actively engaged in research at the Institute.

Research at Beckman

Research at the Beckman Institute is categorized into four broad themes to provide faculty with a loose organizational framework. Beckman's interdisciplinary approach allows areas of study to overlap within the themes. The research themes are:
Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction,
Integrative Imaging, Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures
Scientists work across the themes to both advance our knowledge of science and for real-world applications. Many at Beckman focus on cognitive and brain health, as well as linguistics and language learning studies, which have a beneficial impact on people. Bioimaging work seeks to advance imaging technology and biomedical applications, including in another area of focus, cancer research. Others use bioengineering principles to create new technologies, while Beckman has been home to breakthrough innovations in the fields of electronics and advanced computational methods since it opened.

Research Support Facilities

The Beckman Institute provides researchers state-of-the-art facilities for imaging, microscopy, and scientific visualization that are unparalleled for a campus institute. The Biomedical Imaging Center, Illinois Simulator Laboratory, and the Imaging Technology Group are premier resources for researchers in any field. The Imaging Technology Group was created in 1992 and today is made up of two resources: the Microscopy Suite (for microscopic imaging of specimens) and the Visualization Laboratory (for scientific image and graphics creation and analysis). The Illinois Simulator Laboratory was created in 1995 for experiments in cognition using highly-advanced virtual reality environments. The Biomedical Imaging Center, which became a Beckman resource in 2002, is a unique campus support facility with a variety of magnetic resonance imaging machines, as well ultrasound, optical, and molecular imaging modalities.

World-Class Faculty

Beckman Institute researchers are known throughout the world for pioneering work in areas ranging from electronics and imaging science, to neuroscience and signal processing. There are more than 200 faculty members from nine colleges and 46 departments at the University of Illinois doing research at the Beckman Institute. Beckman Institute faculty members hold chaired professorships in departments throughout the Illinois campus, have been named as fellows of the most prestigious science and engineering academies, won the most coveted awards in science and technology, and led research projects that have had a worldwide impact on science, technology, and human health. They have also been rated as excellent teachers by their students, founded start-up companies, and dedicated their work to advances that improve the world in which we live.

Beckman Fellows and Student Researchers

Beckman Fellows and graduate and undergraduate students contribute greatly to the work that goes on at the Beckman Institute. There are more than 1,000 students (nearly 600 graduate students and more than 440 undergraduates) at Beckman who make a tremendous impact on scientific discoveries and papers. Alumni from Beckman Institute research groups and Fellows programs have gone on to make contributions in academia, business, and government. While there are no classes held at the Institute, learning goes on in laboratories, research groups, and cubicles every day. The Institute's researchers rely on the critical contributions of these students and Beckman Fellows to do the laboratory work, experiments, and reporting of results that make research possible. In addition, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation funds the Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellows programs at the Institute.

University of Illinois

Founded in 1867 as one of the original 37 land-grant institutions of higher learning, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is annually ranked as one of the top public research universities in the country. More than 40,000 students are served by 17 colleges and instructional units at Illinois. There are 15 colleges and schools and seven institutes and centers engaged in research at the University of Illinois. When the Beckman Institute opened in 1989, it brought national attention to Illinois for its innovative, interdisciplinary approach to research. It remains today as what one campus leader called the crown jewel of research at the University. Top-ranked programs at Illinois such as in engineering and psychology contribute many faculty members to Beckman, helping to make it an integral part of research efforts at the University.

Beckman News

Oct 07Synergy Fall 2014

Synergy Fall 2014

In celebration of the 25th anniversary at the Beckman Institute, this issue of Synergy showcases several photos from the archives, along with long-time faculty and staff. It also highlights Patty Jones and Cathy Murphy, identical twin sisters who work at the Beckman Institute. Two new Postdoctoral Fellows discuss plans to research issues related to the brain. Camille Goudeseune, of Beckman's Illinois Simulator Lab, shares his techniques for capturing panoramic images with a toy helicopter. Finally, Maria Bautista offers a glimpse into the world of archaea and their viruses, thanks to the imaging capabilities available in the Microscopy Suite. 

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Nov 21Johnson Receives Young Investigator Award

Curtis Johnson, the assistant director for magnetic resonance operations in the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute, received the Young Investigator Award at the BRAIN Grand Challenges conference hosted by IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) in Washington, D.C. 

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Nov 20The Placebo Effect and Exercise

New York Times – A new study done by Beckman researchers Dan Simons and Art Kramer, from the Human Perception and Performance Group, along with researchers at Florida State University, investigates the placebo effect in exercise.

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Nov 19Tajkhorshid Awarded Supercomputing Capacity at DOE National Laboratory

Molecular and Cellular Biology – Emad Tajkhorshid, member of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group at Beckman and a professor of pharmacology at Illinois, has received a 2015 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) award. The award provides 96 million hours of massive supercomputing at a Leadership Computing Facility that focuses only on the most ambitious research projects with the potential for major breakthroughs.

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Videos

Beckman Institute 25th Anniversary Slide Show

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Over the past 25 years, researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois have made advances in neuroscience, materials science, physics, bioengineering, robotics, cognitive science, and many other areas of science and engineering. This slide show presents a few of the historic milestones of the Beckman Institute and some of its recent innovators; which are all highlighted in the new book, "The Beckman Institute at Illinois: A Quarter Century of Building Bridges."

Twin Sister Scientists: Advice for Girls & Women in Science & Engineering

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Twin sisters Patty Jones and Cathy Murphy recall their early experiences making it in the worlds of chemistry and engineering and offer advice to young girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Cathy Murphy is a professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois and a member of the Beckman Institute's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group. Patty Jones is a former associate professor of Industrial Engineering at Illinois and the former Deputy Director of Exploration Technology at NASA. She is currently the Associate Director for Research at the Beckman Institute.

How To Use a Toy Drone to Make Amazing Aerial Photos (4 min)

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Camille Goudeseune shows how he turns low quality videos taken by a $50 toy quadcopter drone into amazing high-resolution panoramic photographs. Goudeseune is a Computer Systems Analyst at the Beckman Institute's Illinois Simulator Lab at the University of Illinois and an avid radio-controlled aircraft enthusiast. The quadcopter used to create the HD panorama photos in this video is the WLToys V959. To read more about this project, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2014/06/capturing-panoramic-photos-with-a-helicopter

Drone Photography: See What This Toy Quadcopter Can Do

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Camille Goudeseune shows off how he turns low quality videos taken by a cheap toy helicopter into amazing high-resolution panoramic photographs. Goudeseune turns the video collected by a $45 quadcopter into hundreds of still images that he digitally cleans and stitches together to form a single, stunning aerial panorama. Some of the locations he has captured include botanic gardens, historic downtown Urbana, various cityscapes, and the Beckman Institute quad with the new ECE building construction site. He also uses his flying drones to help researchers quickly identify problem areas in agricultural fields and even hopes to assist cowboys in quickly assessing the health of their cattle. Goudeseune is a Computer Systems Analyst at the Beckman Institute's Illinois Simulator Lab at the University of Illinois and an avid radio-controlled aircraft enthusiast. To read more about this project, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2014/06/capturing-panoramic-photos-with-a-helicopter

Regenerating Plastic: A Closer Look (At This Wolverine-Like Polymer!)

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A plastic that can regenerate like the X-man Wolverine? Professor Scott White gives more details about how his group creates a regenerating plastic that can heal damage as large as a bullet hole. White is a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of the Autonomous Materials Systems group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. To read more about this research, please visit... http://news.illinois.edu/news/14/0508plastic_ScottWhite_JeffryMoore_NancySottos.html To watch the original video about this research, please visit... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb5v-Hs6800

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Weekly Outlook

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  2. 23Nov
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  10. 01Dec
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  14. 05Dec
  1. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  2. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  3. Neuroscience Seminar-TBD
  4. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  5. iOptics Seminar
  6. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  7. Beckman Institute Director's Seminar - "A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body: Cognitive and Brain Aging, Fitness, and Arterial Elasticity"
  8. "How words make things the same"
  9. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  10. Yeh and Hall Investiture
  11. Neuroscience Seminar-TBD
  12. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  13. Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar
  14. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  15. The Science of Spherification: A Lecture on Avant-Garde Cuisine and a Live Cooking Demonstration by Dr. Chris Chipot
  16. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  17. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  18. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  19. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  20. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  21. Neuroscience Seminar-TBD
  22. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  23. Language Processing Brown Bag
  1. The café is closed today.
  1. The café is closed today.
  1. The café is closed today.
  1. The café is closed today.
  1. The café is closed today.