2009 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows Announced

The Beckman Institute is pleased to announce that the 2009 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows are Jeremy Brooks, Nanshu Lu, David Mayerich, Nathan Parks, and Edward Wlotko. These Fellows, who will have the special distinction of being appointed during the Beckman Institute’s 20th anniversary year, were selected from a pool of a record number of highly competitive applicants.

The Fellows will be conducting research in areas including: attitudes and behavioral responses toward climate change (Brooks); lightweight, flexible, and programmable electro-active polymers (Lu); imaging, reconstruction, and visualization of biomedical data at the sub-cellular level (Mayerich); short-term visual plasticity and cortical dynamics in the human cortex (Parks); and the use of event-related optical signals to explore language comprehension (Wlotko).

Beckman Institute Interim Director Tamer Başar said this year’s Fellows are an incredibly talented group of scholars with very promising lines of research. “We had an incredibly diverse group of applicants from highly respected institutions. The selection committee did an outstanding job in identifying individuals who will fit extremely well within the intellectual and scientific environment of the Beckman Institute and will be able to successfully advance their research during their tenure here.”

The Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows program provides an excellent opportunity for young scholars to initiate a post-Ph.D. career of independent research in a stimulating and supportive interdisciplinary environment. The 2009 Fellows are appointed for up to three years and will begin as early as July of this calendar year. They are selected based on evidence of professional promise, capacity for independent work, outstanding achievement, and interdisciplinary research interests that correspond to one or more of the Beckman Institute’s research themes and initiatives.

The Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows for 2009 are:

Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy earned his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis in 2008. He will be joining the Beckman Institute from Loyola University where he is currently an instructor. His research seeks to understand the individual characteristics and contextual factors that influence attitudes and behaviors related to a variety of environmental issues including climate change.

Nanshu Lu
Nanshu will join the Beckman Institute from Harvard University where she is completing her Ph.D. work at its School of Engineering and Applied Science. Her research interest has focused on the mechanics and materials for the integration of hard and soft materials. As a Beckman fellow, she will develop smart, flexible electronic devices by integrating soft active matters into current flex circuit configurations.

David Mayerich
David is finishing his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University where he helped develop a prototype microscope capable of quickly imaging large three-dimensional tissue samples. His current research goals are to advance methods for reconstruction and visualization of biomedical data in order to provide an unprecedented understanding of anatomy at the sub-cellular level. He plans to focus on creating sub-cellular anatomical models of tissue as well as better ways to process and visualize datasets provided by new microscope techniques.

Nathan Parks
Nathan is completing his Ph.D. in the area of Cognitive and Brain Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research plan concentrates on examining the neural mechanisms of attention, competition, and short-term plasticity within the human visual system. He will use a variety of noninvasive neurophysiological measures and psychophysical techniques in his investigations.

Edward Wlotko
Eddie is earning his Ph.D. from the Brain and Cognition Division of the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research explores how the two hemispheres of the brain each serves language functions that are necessary for comprehension. At the Beckman Institute, he will use the event-related optical signal (EROS) to explore the individual and joint contributions of the cerebral hemispheres to language comprehension, and how those contributions change over the lifespan.