The five 2013 Postdoctoral Fellows come from a variety of disciplines, and have an array of research interests, from magnetic resonance imaging, to neuroscience and disease diagnostics, to mechanochemistery and applied machine learning. The 2013 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows are Chao Ma, Preethi Jyothi, Nathan Medeiros-Ward, Renee Sadowski, and Abhishek Singharoy.
Ma is scheduled to complete his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois in summer 2013. His research interests include developing advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to push the limitations of MRI on resolution, signal-to-noise ratio and imaging speed. As a Beckman Postdoc Fellow, he will focus on developing a novel magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) technique to enable high-resolution metabolic imaging of the brain. Specifically, he will devote systematic efforts on optimizing signal excitation, data acquisition, and image reconstruction and post-processing, and applying metabolic imaging to study brain functions. Chao will work with Yoram Bresler from the Image Formation and Processing group, Zhi-Pei Liang and Brad Sutton from the Bioimaging Science and Technology group, as well as Beckman neuroscientists.
Jyothi is completing her Ph.D. in computer science at the Ohio State University. Her main research interest is in automatic speech recognition, and more broadly in applied machine learning. She plans on working with Jennifer Cole in the Cognitive Science group, and Mark Hasegawa-Johnson and Paris Smaragdis in the Artificial Intelligence group. Her initial research as a Beckman Fellow will focus on problems in the broad area of multilingual speech recognition, using speech production models motivated by linguistic theories and models of prosody (i.e., cues such as duration, stress, intensity of different parts of the utterance).
Medeiros-Ward is completing his Ph.D. in cognition and neural sciences at the University of Utah. His research interests focus on the component processes of multitasking using a multifaceted approach that involves traditional behavioral methods, driving simulation, neuroimaging, and training/transfer regimens. Nathan is interested in knowing how shifting and dividing attention are similar and different in various laboratory and real-world contexts, as well as whether or not these abilities can be trained. He plans to work with Aron Barbey in Cognitive Neuroscience, as well as Art Kramer, Alejandro Lleras, and Dan Simons from the Human Perception and Performance group.
Sadowski is completing her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Illinois. Her research interests are currently focused on how early developmental exposure to an endocrine-disrupting toxicant, bisphenol A, leads to long-term alterations in cognition and anatomy of the prefrontal cortex. Her proposed studies are based on the hypothesis that early exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) decreases seizure threshold by changing the balance of inhibitory and excitatory circuits in the brain. Results from this study will identify PCB-induced alterations in neural activity and mechanisms that mediate long-lasting changes in the susceptibility to seizures. In turn, this work can be used to help identify populations that have an increased susceptibility to exhibit seizures. She will be working with Daniel Llano and Susan Schantz in the Neurotech group.
Singharoy is a graduate student of theoretical chemistry at Indiana University. His research focuses on two modern fields, biophysics of viruses and multiscale simulation. His research at the Beckman will focus on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, which provide biomedical researchers with a new perspective on the dynamics of cellular processes hitherto inaccessible by observation. The proposed study aims at developing a Molecular Dynamics Flexible Fitting (MDFF) software that interprets poorly resolved structures from X-ray crystallography experiments. This software, xMDFF, will be able to refine the phase angles in order to derive atomic models from X-ray data. With this, ADP binding/release induced conformational change in the molecular motor protein dynein will be studied. The research will be performed under the auspices of Wen-Mei W. Hwu in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Klaus Schulten from the Theoretical and Computation Biophysics group.