2015 Beckman Institute Student Award Recipients Named

Congratulations to the recipients of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology student awards. The awards were presented during a ceremony on Saturday, May 2, in the Beckman Institute atrium.

Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research

Madison Barker is the recipient of the Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research, which allows an undergraduate neuroscientist to pursue research at the Beckman Institute during the summer. Erik was a promising undergraduate researcher who joined Justin Rhodes’ laboratory at the Beckman Institute as a research assistant in spring 2007. He proved to be an outstanding student who dedicated a significant amount of his time to the lab from 2007 until his death in 2010.

Madison is a junior in molecular and cellular biology and is working with Justin Rhodes, of the NeuroTech Group, in his Behavioral Genetics Laboratory. Her research project investigates the development of novel optogenetics techniques to understand the role of new hippocampal neurons in learning and memory. Madison is also a Chancellor’s Scholar in the Campus Honors Program.

Nadine Barrie Smith Memorial Fellowship

Jamila Hedhli and Shamira Sridharan have been named the 2015 Nadine Barrie Smith Fellows. In honor of Nadine Barrie Smith’s life and achievements, Nadine’s husband, Andrew Webb, established the Nadine Barrie Smith Memorial Fund, which provides fellowships to female engineering graduate students who are conducting research in the general field of medical imaging (e.g., ultrasound, optical, magnetic resonance) at the Beckman Institute.

Jamila, who works with Wawrzyniec Dobrucki from the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, will obtain her Ph.D. in bioengineering. Her research focuses on the development of stem cells therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes.

Shamira is pursuing her Ph.D. in bioengineering and works with Gabriel Popescu, from the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group. Her work explores innovative quantitative techniques for prognosticating prostate cancer and diagnosing colon cancer. 

Thomas and Margaret Huang Award for Graduate Research

Jessie Chin and Jia-Bin Huang will receive awards in honor of Thomas and Margaret Huang. The Thomas and Margaret Huang Award for Graduate Research supports graduate students in Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction (HCII) at the Beckman Institute. Thomas Huang has advised more than 100 students during his career that has spanned five decades and three major research universities (MIT, Purdue, and Illinois). He is a founder of the Image Formation and Processing Group and a long-time co-chair of the HCII main research theme.

Jessie explores information search and self-regulation across the lifespan. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in educational psychology and has worked with Dan Morrow, Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, and Wai-Tat Fu, all from the Human Perception and Performance Group. Jessie was also a Beckman Graduate Fellow in 2011–2012.

Jia-Bin will earn his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering and is working with Narendra Ahuja from the Artificial Intelligence Group. His research is in the area of computer vision, specifically in the novel use of physically grounded constraints for solving inverse problems in image and video processing.

Janssen Family Undergraduate Research Award

Elizabeth Grogan and Kathleen Maigler have been selected for the inaugural Janssen Family Undergraduate Research Award. The Janssen Family has generously made a gift to the Beckman Institute to support summer research for undergraduate students in neuroscience or psychology, with preference to support female students.

Elizabeth is an undergraduate research assistant in Justin Rhodes’ lab, of the NeuroTech Group, where she has developed her research interests in neurogenesis, psychopharmacology, and hyperactivity. She is pursuing a double major in molecular and cellular biology and psychology. 

Kathleen is working toward a degree in molecular and cellular biology. In Dan Llano’s lab, in the NeuroTech Group, Kathleen characterizes the anatomical circuitry underlying multisensory integration in the mouse auditory midbrain.

Carle Neuroscience Institute Undergraduate Research Award

Emily Cullum and Emily Matijevich are the inaugural Carle Neuroscience Institute Undergraduate Research Awardees. The award allows a promising undergraduate to pursue research in neuroscience or psychology at the Beckman Institute in collaboration with clinicians in the Neuroscience Institute at Carle Foundation Hospital during the summer.

Emily is a junior bioengineering student and a Chancellor’s Scholar in the Campus Honors Program. As a research assistant in the lab of Sua Myong, she uses single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to examine DNA structures to elucidate possible genetic causes of cancer.

Emily is an undergraduate research assistant in Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler’s lab, in the Artificial Intelligence Group, where she investigates the use of a pneumatically powered ankle foot orthosis to restore a normal walking gait in patients with multiple sclerosis or ankle injury. She is pursuing a degree in bioengineering with a biomechanics concentration.

This article is part of the Fall 2015 Synergy Issue, a publication of the Communications Office of the Beckman Institute.