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The Beckman
Institute is a barrier-busting,
interdisciplinary
research facility
and community
of innovation.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Break Barriers.

The Beckman Institute was created to support interdisciplinary research among University of Illinois faculty. We foster scientific advances that couldn’t be done in any other way.
Our founder, Arnold Beckman, was an inventor and philanthropist who knew firsthand the power of interdisciplinary work.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Propel Science and Technology.

The Beckman Institute is a unique engine for research. We're making incredible advances while helping ordinary people.
Beckman researchers have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time, and energy needed.
The Beckman Institute is a barrier-busting, collaborative
research facility
and community of innovation.

We Help You Connect.

We offer a café with drinks and daily specials, events from concerts to research lectures, and plenty of study and meeting spaces.
The Beckman Institute was built to help people connect. Learn more about exploring Beckman.

Latest news

Upcoming events

Gather in the Garden

Beckman garden, west of the building through the cafe's double doors

Contact name: Stacy Olson
Contact email: srolson@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-8373

Join Director Nadya Mason and your colleagues this fall for informal conversation and coffee in the Beckman garden, which is west of the building through the café’s double doors.

This Gather in the Garden Series will be from 10-10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through the fall semester.

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Responsible Conduct of Research: Science communication

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Patty Jones
Contact email: pmjones5@illinois.edu

The Beckman Institute Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series is held on select Tuesdays throughout the fall semester on Zoom or in person. Tune in or come to room 5602 to learn from the experts about topics including scientific misconduct, data collection, animal and human subjects research, data privacy and security, and ethics in the research environment.

Topic: Science communication

Speaker: Lexie Kesler, an outreach and communications specialist at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

This meeting is free and open to the public. Register in advance on Zoom.

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Neuroscience Program Fall Seminar Series : Emily Jacobs

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Neuroscience Program
Contact email: nsp@life.illinois.edu

Title: "Applying dense-sampling methods to reveal dynamic endocrine modulation of the nervous system"

Speaker:  Emily Jacobs, Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California- Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California.

Sex hormones are powerful neuromodulators of learning and memory. Dr. Jacobs highlights recent findings from her lab suggesting that neuroendocrine factors rapidly and dynamically influence the human brain over the lifecourse.

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Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery: Todd Coleman

2269 Beckman Institute

Contact name: Anne McKinney
Contact email: amckinn@illinois.edu

Todd Coleman, Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, will lecture on “Monitoring and modulating nervous systems in the brain and visceral organs” at 4:00 pm in 2269 Beckman Institute and on Zoom September 28, 2022.  One of our MBM trainees will give an introduction.

The lecture is free and open to the public courtesy of the Miniature Brain Machinery Program. Zoom details are below.

Abstract:

We will highlight recent technological and methodological advances in deploying miniaturized technologies that can monitor the electrophysiologic patterns of the visceral nervous system.  Specifically, we will showcase recent developments in biomedical signal processing that enable non-invasive tracking of the slow wave patterns associated with the neuromuscular activity of the stomach.

We will also describe recent developments of thin, stretchable, wireless biosensor patches that can be embedded within routinely used medical adhesives for ambulatory recording of these gastric electrophysiologic patterns.  We will illustrate how such systems can also be used in tandem with novel miniaturized pacing devices to enable closed-loop neuromodulation of the enteric nervous system.

We will also discuss recent efforts in exploring the electrophysiologic basis of the gut-brain axis with concurrent non-invasive electrophysiologic recordings of the brain and stomach. We will conclude with a summary of the knowns and unknowns in how multi-organ physiology research, technology miniaturization, and data science may create unique opportunities for the intersection of engineering, applied probability, neuroscience, and medicine.

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Theoretical & Computational Biophysics Group Seminar

Contact name: Lesley Butler
Contact email: lesleym@illinois.edu

Title: 

Advances in free-energy calculations at the dawn of exascale computing

Speaker: Chris Chipot, Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological Physics, The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France 

In recent years, free-energy calculations have emerged as an indispensable tool to bridge the gap between molecular dynamics simulations and biological events, and help tackle deep biological questions that experiment alone has left unresolved. In spite of spectacular advances on the hardware front, which have paved the way for brute-force molecular dynamics to time and size scales hitherto never attained, free-energy calculations represent a cogent alternative to access with unparalleled accuracy the thermodynamics and possibly the kinetics that underlie complex processes of the living. In this lecture, I will review recent developments for free-energy calculations of both alchemical and geometrical transformations. In particular, I will show how combination of importance-sampling schemes can be used profitably to map with unprecedented efficiency and without any loss of accuracy complex free-energy landscapes from whence physically meaningful transition pathways can be extracted. I will compare this strategy with an alternative route consisting of a path search in multidimensional space followed by a potential of mean force calculation along the putative minimum free-energy pathway. I will also show how GPU-acceleration can be harnessed to boost free-energy calculations of an alchemical nature, and, thus, allow large sets of mutations to be performed in a routine fashion on affordable platforms equipped with GPUs. I will close discussing the hurdles free-energy calculations have overcome in recent years, and the challenges they are facing as we are at the dawn of exascale computing.

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Gather in the Garden

Beckman garden, west of the building through the cafe's double doors

Contact name: Stacy Olson
Contact email: srolson@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-8373

Join Director Nadya Mason and your colleagues this fall for informal conversation and coffee in the Beckman garden, which is west of the building through the café’s double doors.

This Gather in the Garden Series will be from 10-10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through the fall semester.

Read more

Responsible Conduct of Research: Human subjects research

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Patty Jones
Contact email: pmjones5@illinois.edu

The Beckman Institute Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series is held on select Tuesdays throughout the fall semester on Zoom or in person. Tune in or come to room 5602 to learn from the experts about topics including scientific misconduct, data collection, animal and human subjects research, data privacy and security, and ethics in the research environment.

Topic: Human subjects research

Speaker: Jennifer Ford, an assistant director in the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects.

This meeting is free and open to the public. Register in advance on Zoom.

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Neuroscience Program Fall Seminar Series : Hiroyuki Kato

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Neuroscience Program
Contact email: nsp@life.illinois.edu

Title: "Integration of parallel ascending pathways in the primary and higher-order."

Speaker: Hiroyuki Kato, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Information flow in the cortex is classically considered as feedforward-hierarchical computation. However, recent findings have started to reveal rather parallel and distributed processing. Dr. Kato will discuss his team's work studying parallel sensory pathways across the primary and higher auditory cortices in extracting complex sound features.

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Graduate Student Seminar: Chung and Mishra

1005 Beckman Institute and Zoom

Contact name: Chaimongkol Saengow
Contact email: saengow@illinois.edu

Two graduate students will present their research at the second Beckman Graduate Student Seminar of the fall 2022 semester: Winnie Chung, psychology; and Abhiroop Mishra, materials science and engineering.

The event takes place Wednesday, Oct. 5 at noon. Register in advance to attend in person or on Zoom.

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Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery: Hee Jung Chung

2269 Beckman Institute

Contact name: Anne McKinney
Contact email: amckinn@illinois.edu

Hee Jung Chung, Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience at Illinois, will lecture on “The role of brain specific tyrosine phosphatase STEP in hippocampal excitability and seizures” at 4:00 pm in 2269 Beckman Institute and on Zoom October 5, 2022.  One of our MBM trainees will give an introduction.

The lecture is free and open to the public courtesy of the Miniature Brain Machinery Program. Zoom details are below.

Hee Jung Chung completed her PhD at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as a postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests focus on neurological and behavioral disorders with an emphasis on the study of epilepsy.

The Chung Lab endeavors to understand how epilepsy mutations affect ion channel function and lead to hyperexcitability in inherited or de novo epilepsy, and identify molecular mechanisms that alter ion channels to cause hyperexcitability in acquired epilepsy. To investigate these two areas, they use interdisciplinary approaches including primary neuronal culture, live and fixed microscopy, biochemistry, electrophysiology, and mouse genetics.

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Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science

Contact name: Stacy Olson
Contact email: srolson@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-8373

Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science

Professor Fei-Fei Li, Stanford University

2 p.m. CST Wednesday, Oct. 6

Her virtual talk is titled, "From Seeing to Doing: Understanding and Interacting with the Real World." Visual intelligence is a cornerstone of intelligence. From passive perception to embodied interaction with the world, vision plays a critical role. In this talk, she will discuss work in the Li Group lab that spans both perception and robotic learning, underscoring the importance of an ‘ecological approach’ to learning. Register in advance on Zoom.

The annual Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science honors Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, the founder of the Institute, and Dr. Theodore “Ted” Brown, the founding director. The series is funded by a gift from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Learn more.

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Theoretical & Computational Biophysics Group Seminar

Contact name: Lesley Butler
Contact email: lesleym@illinois.edu

Title: Coarse-grained modeling for nucleic acid nanotechnology.

Speaker: Petr Sulc, Assistant Professor, Center for Biological Physics, School of Molecular Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

DNA and RNA nanotechnology use designed nucleic acid strands to self- assemble large-scale nanostructures and devices. Computer simulations can provide valuable insights into their function but modeling such systems faces several challenges: The nucleic acid nanostructure assembly and function consists of rare events such as creation and breaking of base pairs, and their sizes are typically up to few thousands of nucleotides. Dr. Sulc will present a top-down coarse-grained model, oxDNA, which was specifically designed for simulations of DNA nanotechnology systems, and present examples where it has been used to help design and understand function of DNA, RNA and protein-DNA hybrid nanostructures and processes. In particular, Dr. Sulc will show the model's use to study of DNA origami tetrastack lattice design (a multicomponent nanostructure consisting of a million of nucleotides, with promising applications to metamaterial design), DNA and RNA strand displacement reaction (a fundamental mechanism in nucleic acid computing) and simulations of ATP-powered DNA leaf-spring engine. Dr. Sulc will also present our online browser-based tools for design of DNA and protein-DNA/RNA hybrid nanostructures and provide interactive in-browser simulations to help users design structures with desired function.

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Gather in the Garden

Beckman garden, west of the building through the cafe's double doors

Contact name: Stacy Olson
Contact email: srolson@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-8373

Join Director Nadya Mason and your colleagues this fall for informal conversation and coffee in the Beckman garden, which is west of the building through the café’s double doors.

This Gather in the Garden Series will be from 10-10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through the fall semester.

Read more

Responsible Conduct of Research: Laboratory safety

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Patty Jones
Contact email: pmjones5@illinois.edu

The Beckman Institute Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series is held on select Tuesdays throughout the fall semester on Zoom or in person. Tune in or come to room 5602 to learn from the experts about topics including scientific misconduct, data collection, animal and human subjects research, data privacy and security, and ethics in the research environment.

Topic: Laboratory safety

Speaker: Stephanie Hess, a director in the Division of Research Safety.

This meeting is free and open to the public. Register in advance on Zoom.

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Neuroscience Program Fall Seminar Series : Richard Betzel

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Neuroscience Program
Contact email: nsp@life.illinois.edu

Title: "Edge-centric connectomics."

Speaker: Richard Betzel, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, IU Network Science Institute, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Brains can be modeled as functional networks, where interregional connections and their weights are estimated as a correlations. Dr. Betzel will present an approach for exactly decomposing these connections (edges) into their time-varying contributions. This approach yields framewise estimates of networks across time and can be used to estimate the novel construct of "edge functional connectivity".

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The Willard J. and Priscilla F. Visek Lecture: David Moore

Beckman Institute Room 1025-Auditorium

Contact name: Angela Dean
Contact email: aedean2@illinois.edu

Title: "Regulation of liver energy balance by nutrient sensing nuclear receptors"

Speaker: David Moore, Professor and chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California.

The liver is crucial for maintaining whole body energy balance. For example, it responds to fasting by secreting glucose and to feeding by both metabolizing it and storing it as glycogen. The nuclear receptors FXR and PPARα are activated in the fed or fasted liver, respectively, and regulate many basic metabolic processes. Dr. Moore's lab have found that both receptors also regulate processes that are not directly related to metabolic pathways but are central to liver energy balance. Dr. Moore's presentation will focus on the previously described roles of FXR and PPARα in control of autophagy and more recent results on control of the liver secretome. 

 

 

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Beckman Director’s Seminar: Marianne Alleyne

Contact name: Darin Doty
Contact email: ddoty@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-6553

Marianne Alleyne will speak at the Beckman Institute's virtual Director's Seminar at noon Thursday, Oct. 13. Alleyne, assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, will be discussing a topic to be decided. The seminar will be a hybrid event held in Beckman, room 1005 and via Zoom. A boxed lunch will be provided to those who register as in-person attendees. Please indicate whether you will attend virtually or in-person.

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Gather in the Garden

Beckman garden, west of the building through the cafe's double doors

Contact name: Stacy Olson
Contact email: srolson@illinois.edu
Contact phone: 217-244-8373

Join Director Nadya Mason and your colleagues this fall for informal conversation and coffee in the Beckman garden, which is west of the building through the café’s double doors.

This Gather in the Garden Series will be from 10-10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through the fall semester.

Read more

Responsible Conduct of Research: Animal research

Beckman Institute Room 5602

Contact name: Patty Jones
Contact email: pmjones5@illinois.edu

The Beckman Institute Responsible Conduct of Research Seminar Series is held on select Tuesdays throughout the fall semester on Zoom or in person. Tune in or come to room 5602 to learn from the experts about topics including scientific misconduct, data collection, animal and human subjects research, data privacy and security, and ethics in the research environment.

Topic: Animal research

Speaker: Jiajie Jessica Xu, an assistant director, veterinarian, in the Division of Animal Resources

This meeting is free and open to the public. Register in advance on Zoom.

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