A Chemical Soup: How Environmental Contaminants Can Affect Children's Brains
Professor Susan Schantz and her colleagues at Illinois are studying infants and their mothers to determine whether prenatal exposure to phthalates and other common chemicals leads to changes in their brain or behavior. This research, along with parallel studies in older children and animals, is a primary focus of the Childrenâ€™s Environmental Health Research Center at Illinois, which Schantz directs (http://ikids.beckman.illinois.edu).
Schantz is also a collaborator on Project TENDR, a group of dozens of scientists, health practitioners, and childrenâ€™s health advocates who are calling for renewed attention to the growing evidence that many common and widely available chemicals endanger neurodevelopment in fetuses and children of all ages. For more information, please visit http://projecttendr.com.
Schantz is a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the Neurotech group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I.
Training Brain Networks and States - Michael Posner - 2016 SmithGroup Lecture
Psychology professor emeritus Michael I. Posner presents his work examining the mechanisms of change in white matter resulting from various forms of training.
For more than 50 years Michael Posner has studied how mental operations, particularly those related to attention, are carried out by neural networks. He has used cognitive, imaging, and genetic methods. He continues these studies as professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon and adjunct professor at Weill Medical College.
This lecture was presented at the Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus on April 15, 2016.
For more information on the SmithGroup lecture series, please visit
Arthur Kramer Retirement Reception - April 21, 2016
Director Art Kramer's retirement celebration from the Beckman Institute and the University of Illinois.
Patty Jones (Asstistant Director for Research at the Beckman Institute), Barbara Wilson (Interim Chancellor), Peter Schiffer (Vice Chancellor for Research), Jerry Gallwas-(former board member of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation), Theodore "Ted" Brown (founding Director of the Beckman Institute), Jennifer Eardley (Vice President for Research, Carle Foundation Hospital) and Art Kramer.
Kramer had been a professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1984 and the Director the Beckman Institute since 2010.
Concussion: Using Cooling Helmets to Combat Brain Injuries in College Football
Former football player Kevin Jackson uses brain cooling technology in the hopes of reducing the effects of traumatic brain injuries and sports-related concussions.
Jackson was a running back for the University of Illinois from 1990-1994. In addition to suffering a number of injuries to his body during his playing days, Jackson also suffered a number of un-diagnosed concussions. Now a research scientist and injury spotter, Jackson uses his experience as a player to help him understand and combat brain trauma in sports.
This video illustrates the chain of events that occur when a traumatic brain injury happens, explores how concussion symptoms very from person to person, highlights the need to protect oneself from repeated head traumas, and shows how using cooling technologies might aide in recovery from injury.
To learn more about this research, please visit...
Senator Durbin on Funding for Biomedical Research (Full Presentation)
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin speaks about the critical importance of federal biomedical research funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. Administrators and professors from the University of Illinois also present their views on the importance of research funding.
This presentation was made at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on January 15, 2016.
Presentation speakers included:
Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer,
University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen,
Senator Richard Durbin,
Professor of Biochemistry Emad Tajkhorshid,
Professor of Chemistry Paul Hergenrother, and
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering Princess Imoukhuede.
A press release from the Senator's website about his American Cures Act can be found here...
Building a Better Hand: A Low-Cost, High-Tech, 3D-Printed Prosthesis for the World
Neuroscientist Aadeel Akhtar and his colleagues have created a more functional, and far less costly, bionic hand that may revolutionize prosthetics worldwide.
Using myoelectric sensors, the fully-functional hand can be controlled by muscles in the wearer's residual limb. And, unlike other commercial prosthetics, the hand also provides sensory feedback to the wearer.
Akhtar is a M.D./Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program at the University of Illinois. He is a part of Associate Professor Timothy Bretl's research group and a member of the Beckman Institute's Artificial Intelligence group.
To learn more about this research, please visit here...
Overview of the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory
Through scientific discovery and targeted research, the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) drives the understanding of nutritionâ€™s impact on brain cognition. The Center is the first interdisciplinary cognition and nutrition research center in the country.
Made possible by an investment from Abbott, the Center hosts an annual research competition to support pioneering, multi-disciplinary research, enabling teams of investigators to apply new technologies and thinking from across a wide range of disciplines to take nutrition and cognition research to a new level.
The research at the CNLM is led by faculty at the University of Illinois, in partnership with the leading scientists in cognition, brain function and supporting technologies from all over the world.
For more information, please visit
Teaching Bert: iCub Robot Learns About the World
Bert, the iCub humanoid robot, is helping researchers better understand how humans create mental models of the world around them.
Professor Steve Levinson and his colleagues in the Language Acquisition and Robotics Lab at the Beckman Institute are particularly interested in getting Bert to interact with humans using spoken, natural language.
The research revolves around the idea of embodied cognition. Unlike other forms of artificial intelligence, the models that Bert uses to understand the world aren't given to him by outside programmers. Instead, the iCub creates its mental models itself by directly interacting with the researchers and the world around it using its physical body. The researchers hope that, since Bert has a physical body similar to a human's, the mental models that it creates will be more like a human's as well.
Stephen Levinson is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and full-time faculty member in Beckmanâ€™s Artificial Intelligence Group.
To learn more about the latest research being done with Bert, please visit...
New Super-Fast MRI Technique: Singing 'If I Only Had a Brain'
Researchers use a new technique that is 10-times faster than standard MRI scanners to illustrate how the hundreds of muscles in our neck, jaw, tongue, and lips work together to produce sound.
Assistant professor in Speech and Hearing Science, and Beckman Institute faculty member, Aaron Johnson demonstrates the real-time imaging capabilities in song.
The basis for the technique was developed by electrical and computer engineering professor Zhi-Pei Liang's group at the Beckman Institute. Brad Sutton, associate professor in Bioengineering, and his team further developed and implemented the technique to make high-speed speech imaging possible.
The technique captures MRI images at a far faster rate than any other MRI technique in the world. This dynamic imaging is especially useful in studying how rapidly the tongue is moving, along with other muscles in the head and neck during speech and singing.
â€œTypically, MRI imaging is able to acquire maybe 10 frames per second or so. But we are able to scan 100 frames per second, without sacrificing the quality of the images,â€ said Brad Sutton, technical director of Beckman's Biomedical Imaging Center.
To read more, please visit...
21st Century Scientist Career Panel
A career panel discussion with experts representing diverse and interesting paths to traditional and non-traditional science careers. From working at the National Institutes of Health, to NASA, to science industry journals, the panelists have had, and continue to have, valuable careers. Listen to the the planned and unplanned twists and turns that led these four scientists to the positions they hold today!
21st CENTURY SCIENTIST CAREER PANEL:
Director of Research Information Analytics, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois...
Marine Biologist, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)...
Freelance Science Journalist...
Former NASA administrator, Associate Director for Research, Beckman Institute...
Kate Clancy (Moderator),
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Illinois,
Chair, 21st Century Scientists Working Group.
The 21st Century Scientist Workshop was comprised of three workshops and a panel of experts to help attendees think about the craft of communication, crafting a community, changing the world, and how to leverage scientific education and training into a wonderful career.
The workshop was held on April 17, 2015, at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.
For more information, please visit...
Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House
Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House on March 13-14!
Follow us on Twitter: #BIOH15
Friday, March 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Beckman Institute Open House is a biennial event, held in conjunction with the University of Illinois College of Engineering Open House. Our open house exhibits highlight the work taking place at one of the nationâ€™s leading centers for interdisciplinary research. Schools, clubs, and other large groups are welcome.
Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois. The Beckman Institute is located on the University of Illinois campus at the intersection of Mathews and University Avenue. Metered parking is available in the parking deck across from the Institute on Mathews and Goodwin.