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

Sep 23NSF Awards $8 Million Renewal Grant to the Center for Physics of Living Cells

NSF Awards $8 Million Renewal Grant to the Center for Physics of Living Cells

Department of Physics – The Center for Physics of Living Cells has received an $8 million 5-year grant renewal from the NSF, to continue its research, education, and outreach missions. Center personnel include Beckman researchers Taekjip Ha, Klaus Schulten, Aleksei Aksimentiev, Martin Gruebele, Zan Luthey-Schulten, and Steve Sligar.

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Sep 29Allain Named Beckman Affiliate

Jean Paul Allain, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering, has been named an affiliate in the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group in the Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures research theme.

Sep 29Exercise Found to Boost Ability to Concentrate in Kids

The Atlantic – Children who do at least an hour of exercise after school are far better at concentrating the rest of the time, Illinois research suggests. Led by Charles Hillman, a Beckman affiliate in the Human Perception and Performance Group, the study found those who did the daily routine saw substantial improvements in their ability to pay attention, avoid distraction, and switch between cognitive tasks. 

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Sep 29Kumar Receives Piero Zamperoni Best Student Paper Award

Avinash Kumar, a graduate student in the ECE department and the Beckman Institute, was recently honored with the Piero Zamperoni Best Student Paper Award for his paper titled “Generalized Radial Alignment Constraint for Camera Calibration” at the International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR 2014). This award acknowledges and encourages excellence in pattern recognition research by students. Kumar is advised by Beckman faculty member Narendra Ahuja, who also co-authored the paper.

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Sep 24Findings in Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Training

Aki Niko­laidis, a grad­u­ate stu­dent in the Human Perception and Performance Group advised by Beckman Director Art Kramer, summarizes recent findings in Kramer's lab that indicate brain plasticity after training with a complex video game is associated with individual differences in improvements in an untrained working memory task.

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Videos

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

Regenerating Plastic Grows Back After Damage

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Professor Scott White discusses the research breakthrough that allows plastic to not only heal, but truly regenerate. Self-healing materials have been around for about a decade. But they have never been able to heal damage much larger than the width of a human hair. But now, White and his colleagues Jeff Moore and Nancy Sottos have developed plastic that can regenerate damage as large as a bullet hole. The plastic regenerates when two chemical channels in the material mix at a damaged area. This reaction forms a gel which fills in the hole and eventually hardens, similar to blood clotting in a wound. 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

Alpha Waves and the Future of Brain Monitoring

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Cognitive neuroscientist Kyle Mathewson explains the role alpha waves play in our brains and discusses how portable EEG brain monitors may become an integral part of our daily lives. Mathewson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Weekly Outlook

  1. All
  2. 01Oct
  3. 02Oct
  4. 03Oct
  5. 04Oct
  6. 05Oct
  7. 06Oct
  8. 07Oct
  9. 08Oct
  10. 09Oct
  11. 10Oct
  12. 11Oct
  13. 12Oct
  14. 13Oct
  1. Neuroscience Seminar-"Neuroscience and the Liberal Arts: Reflections on Teaching and Research"
  2. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  3. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  4. Beckman Institute Director's Seminar - "Synthetic Optical Holography", "Clinical Translation of Optical Imaging Technology for Intraoperative Assessment of Human Disease"
  5. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  6. Neuroscience Seminar-"Development of a stem cell therapy for stroke in a porcine model"
  7. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  8. New World Learning Seminar
  9. iOptics Seminar
  10. Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar
  11. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  12. Language Processing Brown Bag - "Morphology-syntax interactions in Gapping antecedent retrieval"
  13. Beckman Institute 25th Anniversary Symposium
  14. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  15. Lyle Lanier Lecture - "Forgetting As a Friend of Learning: How We Learn Versus How We Think We Learn"
  16. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  17. Neuroscience Seminar-"Animal Models of Human Neurocognitive Development"
  18. "Acceleration of probe and target reactions using isotachophoresis"
  19. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  20. SmithGroup Lecture
  21. Environmental Toxicology Program Open House
  22. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  23. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  24. Neuroscience Seminar-"State and Trait Modulation of Immediate Reward Bias: a Role for Dopamine"
  25. Flu Vaccinnation Clinic
  26. iOptics Seminar
  27. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  28. Thursdays@12:20 Concert Featuring The Black Chorus Chamber Choir
  29. Language Processing Brown Bag - "A common neural basis for syntactic and non-syntactic conflict-control"
  30. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  31. "Calming the neuroinferno with diet and drugs"
  32. Neuroscience Seminar-TBD
  33. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  34. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  35. Thursdays@12:20 Concert Featuring The David Fletcher Trio
  36. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  37. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  38. iOptics Seminar
  39. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  40. Beckman Institute Director's Seminar - "Early Detection of Preterm Birth and Fatty Liver Disease inHumans Using Quantitative Ultrasound"
  41. Language Processing Brown Bag
  42. Cognitive Neuroscience Presentation
  43. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  44. Neuroscience Seminar-TBD
  45. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  46. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  47. Thursdays@12:20 Concert Featuring The Graduate Saxophone Quartet
  48. Language Processing Brown Bag
  49. Annual Molecular Biophysics Training Grant
  50. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  51. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  52. iOptics Seminar
  53. Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar
  54. Digital Signal Processing Seminar
  55. Thursdays@12:20 Concert Featuring The Illini Cello Quartet
  56. Beckman Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  57. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  1. Mesquite smoked pork rib tips with baked beans** and potato salad
  2. Sloppy Joe on kaiser roll
  3. Dill egg salad on wheatberry bread*
  4. Chicken noodle soup
  5. Roasted red pepper gouda bisque*
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Turkey pot roast with smashed potatoes and green beans
  2. Mushroom cheddar beef burger on kaiser roll
  3. Roasted red pepper hummus on pita**
  4. Wisconsin cheese soup
  5. Vegetable barley soup**
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Beef stew with biscuits
  2. Avocado chicken salad on baguette
  3. Black bean veggie burger on kaiser roll*
  4. Chicken long grain wild rice soup
  5. Tomato basil bisque*
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Macaroni and cheese* with choice of scalloped tomatoes* or hot wings
  2. Chicken bbq on kaiser roll
  3. Hummus on pita**
  4. New England clam chowder
  5. Vegetable soup**
  6. Greek salad*