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

Aug 24Study Links Physical Activity to Greater Mental Flexibility in Older Adults

Illinois News Bureau – A new study reveals that older adults who regularly engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity have more variable brain activity at rest than those who don’t. This variability is associated with better cognitive performance, the researchers say. The study was led by former Beckman postdoctoral researcher Agnieszka Burzynska and Beckman Director Art Kramer.

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Videos

Overview of the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory

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Through scientific discovery and targeted research, the Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) drives the understanding of nutrition’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 http://www.cnlm.illinois.edu/

Teaching Bert: iCub Robot Learns About the World

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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 Beckman’s Artificial Intelligence Group. To learn more about the latest research being done with Bert, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/05/intelligence-in-robots

New Super-Fast MRI Technique: Singing 'If I Only Had a Brain'

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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. “Typically, 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,” said Brad Sutton, technical director of Beckman's Biomedical Imaging Center. To read more, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/04/new-super-fast-mri-technique

21st Century Scientist Career Panel

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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: George Chacko, Director of Research Information Analytics, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois... Miriam Goldstein, Marine Biologist, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)... Christine Herman, Freelance Science Journalist... Patricia Jones, 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... http://21centurysci.com/

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.

Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House

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Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House on March 13-14! Follow us on Twitter: #BIOH15 WHEN: 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 nation’s leading centers for interdisciplinary research. Schools, clubs, and other large groups are welcome. WHERE: 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. www.beckman.illinois.edu

Beckman Institute 25th Anniversary Opening Remarks

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Former directors and University of Illinois officials give their personal recollections of the Beckman Institute's founding and twenty-five years of interdisciplinary research. Speakers include: Beckman Institute Director Art Kramer Chancellor Phyllis Wise Provost Ilesanmi Adesida Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer President Emeritus Stan Ikenberry Chancellor Emeritus Mort Weir Founding Director Theodore Brown Former Director Jiri Jonas Former Director Pierre Wiltzius Former Interim Director Tamer Basar These opening remarks were presented at the 25th Anniversary Symposium at the Beckman Institute on October 10, 2014.

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."

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.

Exercise Improves Mental Fitness As We Age

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Psychologist Kirk Erickson discusses how physical exercise can not only reshape our bodies, but also our brains. Erickson attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his Ph.D. in psychology and worked at the Beckman Institute as a graduate student and postdoc from 2005-2008. He now works as a psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh and was awarded a Senior Fellowship at the Beckman Institute in 2014. This Throwback Thursday interview was originally filmed in 2006.

MRI Scanner Installation Timelapse (2 Days in 2 Minutes!)

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Watch the 2-day installation of the Biomedical Imaging Center's newest MRI scanner compressed into just 2 minutes! You'll also learn a few fun factoids, such as that the scanner being replaced was actually the first human MRI scanner on the University of Illinois' campus. The Biomedical Imaging Center is a unit of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Center traces its heritage to the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory founded at UIUC by Professor Paul Lauterbur, 2003 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. To learn more, visit http://bic.beckman.illinois.edu/

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Weekly Outlook

  1. All
  2. 28Aug
  3. 29Aug
  4. 30Aug
  5. 31Aug
  6. 01Sep
  7. 02Sep
  8. 03Sep
  9. 04Sep
  10. 05Sep
  11. 06Sep
  12. 07Sep
  13. 08Sep
  14. 09Sep
  1. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  2. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  3. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  4. Neuroscience Seminar
  5. Start My Disclosure Training-UEO
  6. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  7. Chambana Science Cafe
  8. Thursdays at 12:20
  9. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  10. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  11. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  12. Neuroscience Seminar
  13. Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminars
  14. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  15. Director's Seminar- The Cell by Cell Chemical Characterization of the Brain: from New Tools to New Insights
  16. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  17. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  18. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  19. Neuroscience Seminar
  20. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  21. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  22. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  23. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  24. Neuroscience Seminar
  25. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  26. The Role of Nutrition in the Management of Alzheimer's Disease
  27. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  28. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  29. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  30. Neuroscience Seminar
  31. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  32. Thursdays at 12:20
  33. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  34. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  35. Neuroscience Seminar
  36. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  37. Chambana Science Cafe
  38. Director's Seminar- The Evolution of Vascular Materials
  39. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  40. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  41. IHSI Town Hall Meeting
  42. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  43. Neuroscience Seminar
  44. Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminars
  45. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  46. Lyle Lanier Lecture
  47. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  48. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  49. Neuroscience Seminar
  50. DSP Seminar-ECE590
  51. Imaging Weekly Journal Club
  52. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Seminar
  53. BRL Seminar and Journal Club
  54. Neuroscience Seminar
  1. Herb roasted chicken breast with rice* and Kale salad**
  2. ½ lb. Cheddar bacon burger on kaiser roll
  3. Whole wheat veggie wrap with goat cheese*
  4. Greens, ham and potato soup
  5. Roasted red pepper gouda bisque*
  6. Greek salad*
  7. Kale salad**
  1. Meat or vegetarian* lasagna with Caesar salad
  2. Italian beef on baguette
  3. Black bean veggie burger on kaiser roll*
  4. New England clam chowder
  5. Minestrone soup*
  6. Greek salad*
  7. Caesar salad
  1. Smoked pork with baked beans**and potato salad*
  2. Italian beef on baguette
  3. Hummus on pita**
  4. Beef and sweet pepper soup
  5. Potato leek soup*’
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Tortilla crusted tilapia with rice* and mixed greens**
  2. Pork bbq on kaiser roll
  3. Dill egg salad on wheatberry bread*
  4. Wisconsin cheese soup
  5. Veggie barley soup**
  6. Greek salad*
  7. Mixed greens**
  1. Ground beef steak with grilled onion, mashed potatoes and green beans
  2. Mediterranean turkey burger on kaiser roll
  3. Black bean veggie burger on kaiser roll*
  4. Chicken long grain wild rice soup
  5. 7 bean soup**
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Shrimp Creole with red beans and rice
  2. Smoked chicken on kaiser roll
  3. Malibu veggie burger on kaiser roll**
  4. Chili con carne
  5. Cream of asparagus soup*
  6. Greek salad*
  1. Beef pot roast with mashed potatoes and corn
  2. Beef battered cod on baguette
  3. Roasted red pepper hummus with pita**
  4. New England clam chowder
  5. Tomato basil bisque*
  6. Greek salad*