Beckman Institute 2014 Postdoctoral Fellows Announced

The 2014 Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows have diverse research interests that span the Beckman research themes: from biomimetric materials to hormones stimulated by exercise, new exercise therapies as well as innovative imaging technologies. The 2014 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows are Jason Patrick, Semin Lee, Gillian Hamilton, Tomasz Wrobel, and John Biggan.

Jason Patrick 
Jason’s research interests span a variety of technical disciplines ranging from structural engineering, materials science, computational mechanics, experimental characterization, and recently microelectronics. Jason will receive his Ph.D. from Illinois in civil engineering (structures) this spring. His research will focus on the development of authentic biomimetic materials that inherit the evolutionary advantages of dynamic, natural counterparts. He plans to work with a truly multidisciplinary team at Beckman: Stephen Boppart, from Integrative Imaging; Jeffrey Moore, Nancy Sottos, and Scott White, from the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, and John Rogers, from the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group.

Semin Lee
For a hobby, Semin enjoys playing around with molecular building blocks to make new structures. Through his doctoral studies in chemistry at Indiana University, he has learned that this hobby is useful when the molecules have functional applications and becomes even more interesting when they are easy to synthesize: like cyanostar macrocycles that bind anions. Semin plans to work with Rohit Bhargava in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group and Jeffrey Moore in the Autonomous Materials Systems Group. His initial research plan is to synthesize imaging probes that may help elucidate the sequence of protein signaling in breast cancer progression.

Gillian Hamilton
Since receiving her Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Delaware in 2012, Gillian has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in Justin Rhodes’ lab. She is interested in cellular plasticity in the normal/healthy brain versus the diseased brain and how alterations in brain plasticity impact behavior. Her dissertation focused on the long-term adverse effects of fetal alcohol exposure on the brain and explored the potential beneficial impact of behavioral therapies. Her research at the Beckman will be done in conjunction with Justin Rhodes in the Neurotech Group, and John Rogers in 3D Micro- and Nanosystems. She plans to determine the functional significance of exercise and/or environmentally complexity-induced newly generated neurons in the improved performance on hippocampal dependent tasks in a mouse model of fetal alcohol exposure.

Tomasz Wrobel
Tomasz’s research interests center on the use of infrared (IR) and raman imaging in application to biomedical studies. He has experience in spectroscopic techniques, which he worked on for his doctoral dissertation at the Faculty of Chemistry at Jagiellonian University in Poland. At the Beckman Institute, he plans to develop a platform for imaging prostate cancer tissues using IR spectroscopy with very high spatial resolution. He plans to work with Rohit Bhargava and Scott Carney in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, and Minh Do in the Image Formation and Processing Group.

John Biggan
John recently completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Center for Healthy Living and Longevity at University of Texas at Arlington. He focuses on successful aging through exercise. His research plans to investigate the effects of irisin, which is produced in skeletal muscle and travels via the circulatory system to the brain where it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). At the Beckman, he plans to work with Neal Cohen from the Cognitive Neuroscience Group; Art Kramer and Edward McAuley from Human Perception and Performance; and Justin Rhodes, from Neurotech.