Beckman Institute Open House
Welcome to the virtual Beckman Institute Open House!
Every other year, the Beckman Institute Open House offers an amazing look into the interdisciplinary research happening within our walls.
This year's open house is all online. We're offering a behind-the-scenes look into our research labs, unique facilities, and even the thoughts of our institute's founders.
Scroll down for a variety of videos and Google slideshows, which can all be expanded for easier viewing. We hope you enjoy our virtual open house experience.
As usual, this year's open house coincides with Engineering Open House, which is virtual as well.
The Beckman Institute is home to a huge number of labs and research groups, and provides support for others around the University of Illinois campus. These exhibits offer a sampling of Beckman's research portfolio and how those involved are crossing disciplines to solve unique challenges.
All exhibits were created safely and according to CDC guidelines. Several included videos were shot before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interactive exhibits and virtual experiments
A few labs created websites that allow you to interact as if you were participating in their research. You can also check out Bugscope and our MRI guessing game.
Attention and Perception Lab
Our lab, led by Diane Beck, a professor of psychology, studies the visual brain. We ask questions like: How does our experience change what we perceive, and what happens when we focus our attention? Visit our virtual lab to watch a video and participate in some sample experiments! You can test your visual speed and your ability to maintain focus.
Participate in a virtual experiment
Take a closer look with Bugscope
Bugscope has been allowing elementary, middle school, and high-school students to see their insect specimens through the Beckman Institute's environmental scanning electron microscope for more than 20 years.
We offered two Zoom sessions during our 2021 virtual open house. You can watch them below.
Cognition and Brain Lab
The Cognition and Brain Lab studies how the brain converts sentences into the rich ideas we experience when we listen or read, and how those processes might change from young to older adulthood. We do this by measuring brain electrical activity while people comprehend.
Watch our video below to learn more about your electric brain and try examples of our online experiments. To learn more or participate in research in our lab, email us. Kara D. Federmeier, a professor of psychology, leads the lab.
Illinois Kids Development Study
Learn more about Illinois Kids Development Study, known as IKIDS! Below you will find two videos describing a little bit about our study. Next, we invite you to try out an online tool we're developing that will tell each study participant about the levels of chemicals we measured in their bodies.
Use code 'report' to see our online tool
Thank you for taking time to learn about IKIDS! Please contact us with any questions or for more information about the study. Susan L. Schantz, a professor emerita of comparative biosciences, leads IKIDS.
MRI guessing game
This little quiz features actual MRI scans of 30 different fruits and vegetables. See these interesting scans, keep track of your score, and share your thoughts with us on social media using #bioh21.
Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory
The Tissue Biomechanics Lab, led by Mariana Kersh, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, is an innovative solid mechanics lab. Its members are working to relate the structural and mechanical properties of musculoskeletal tissue to their function, with the hope of improving the treatment of bone and joint diseases.
Learn more about motion capture with the guessing game below. And, the lab's videos help explain the variety of methods members use.
Watch exhibit videos and view slideshows
These labs and groups submitted videos and presentations all about their research. You can expand both types of media for easier viewing.
Adaptive Cognition and Interaction Design Lab
The Adaptive Cognition and Interaction Design (Action) Lab is led by Jessie Chin, an assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences. We are an interdisciplinary team, and are interested in translating theories in cognitive psychology, human-computer
interaction and informatics to develop sociotechnical solutions for supporting our daily activities, especially for promoting health communication and behavior.
Chemical Imaging and Structures Laboratory
Welcome to the Chemical Imaging and Structures Laboratory! Bioengineering Professor Rohit Bhargava leads our lab. It features interdisciplinary research, which can be divided into three major themes, including imaging theory and instrumentation, biological and micro-fabrication, and translational applications. The video below gives a glimpse of our research activities.
Learn more about our research
Educational Psychology Psycholinguistics Lab
The EdPsych Psycholinguistics Lab is directed by Kiel Christianson, professor of educational psychology. Research conducted in the lab covers most aspects of language use, including reading, comprehension, bilingualism, syntactic parsing, accent bias, and second language acquisition.
Learning and Language Lab
The Learning and Language Lab studies language learning and language use using a variety of methods and approaches. They include lab-based behavioral experiments with children and adults, collection and analysis of naturalistic datasets, and computational modeling. Lab members believe this approach allows them to understand the language input upon which language learning operates, and the learning and cognitive processes that operate in our brains when we use language. Jessica L. Montag and Jon A. Willits, both faculty members in psychology, lead the lab.
Miniature Brain Machinery Program
The next frontier for studying brain development and function lies in rationally deciphering, harnessing, and engineering the living 3D brain. The Miniature Brain Machinery Program is a National Science Foundation-funded research traineeship that combines cognitive and behavior studies with brain cell and tissue biology studies. Its goal: To train the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce in advancing discovery. Twelve faculty members are involved in this program.
See our virtual exhibit
Mobility and Fall Prevention Research Lab
The Mobility and Fall Prevention Research Lab focuses on the study of the control of movement by using tools from neuroscience and biomechanics. In the video below, you can see efforts at developing an immersive virtual reality paddleboarding game that motivates those going through physical rehabilitation by testing their balance in a fun way.
Manuel Hernandez, an assistant professor of kinesiology and community health, leads the lab.
Socio-Technical Risk Analysis Laboratory
The Socio-Technical Risk Analysis Research Laboratory, led by Zahra Mohaghegh, an associate professor of nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering, is a multidisciplinary research laboratory with a proven track record of developing scientific and innovative approaches for risk assessment, risk management, and risk-informed decision-making and regulation.
Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group
The Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group is a leading method and software developer in computational biophysics and molecular simulation. The group’s software, used by hundreds of thousands of researchers around the world, has enabled some of the largest simulations ever in biological systems, including recent simulations of viruses (such as SARS-CoV2) and cellular organelles.
Recipes from the Beckman Café
The Beckman Café is an important part of the Beckman Institute. Located on the first floor, it's a place where researchers and staff members can connect, collaborate, and exchange ideas over a healthy meal.
Even though the café isn't offering food specials for this year's open house, here are a few healthy recipes from Manager Joshua Walker.
Learn about Beckman's research facilities
Beckman has three core research facilities. The Visualization Laboratory, Microscopy Suite, and Biomedical Imaging Center offer Beckman researchers a range of specialized tools to help them conduct interdisciplinary research. Scroll down to take a peek into what each facility offers.
Biomedical Imaging Center
Beckman’s Biomedical Imaging Center develops cutting-edge techniques to image humans, animals, and other samples to discover their structure and function. BIC uses a variety of imaging equipment including magnetic resonance imaging, molecular imaging with PET and SPECT, fluorescence imaging, and ultrasound. Its staff members and researchers combine EEG and eye tracking with brain MRI in human experiments.
The Biomedical Imaging Center also conducts all University of Illinois research on the new Siemens Terra 7 Tesla MRI scanner, which was purchased with Carle Foundation Hospital and is housed at the Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center.
Tour BIC with Director Tracey Wszalek and Technical Director Brad Sutton and learn more about the 7 Tesla MRI.
Beckman's Microscopy Suite offers a range of imaging options and equipment. Researchers also use it to prepare, image, and analyze their specimens. Expert staff members are on hand to train researchers, including undergraduate and graduate students, about how to best get the data they need.
The Microscopy Suite is open to all faculty, students, and staff on the Urbana campus, as well as approved users from other universities and industry.
Learn more about the Microscopy Suite
Beckman's Visualization Laboratory is full of incredible tools that help researchers visualize their work. The labs offerings include:
- image analysis and quantification in two, three, and four dimensions
- scientific visualization
- ultra-high speed video
- macro-video and video production
- 3D animation
- high-resolution 2D scanning
- 3D object scanning
- publication graphics
Take a virtual look at the Illinois MRI Exhibit
The Illinois MRI Exhibit at the Beckman Institute highlights the researchers who made this incredible technology possible, dating back to the middle of the 20th century. The physical space features the first two human MRI scanners, interesting artifacts, and information shared on interactive screens. The exhibit covers the past, present, and future of MRI research at Illinois.
The exhibit, located off the atrium on Beckman's first floor, is open during the building's regular hours. Visitors should enter the building from the south rotunda entrance.
Learn about Beckman and our interdisciplinary research in the science theater
Beckman's research is unique and varied, and our science theater shows off that breadth.
Watch current Beckman Director Jeff Moore ask Founding Director Ted Brown, a professor emeritus of chemistry, to share the behind-the-scenes story of the institute's creation 30 years ago.
Watch "The Instrumental Chemist," a documentary about the remarkable life and legacy of chemist, inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Arnold Beckman. Arnold and his wife, Mabel, gave $40 million to create the Beckman Institute in the 1980s.
The rest of our award-winning videos offer more peeks into the barrier-breaking research happening every day at the Beckman Institute.
Tour the Beckman Institute
The Beckman Institute is the largest research facility on campus. Faculty members from every college on campus are affiliated with Beckman. They study topics in three themes:
- Integrative Imaging
- Intelligent Systems (which include the brain)
- Molecular Science and Engineering
Tour Beckman with Patty Jones, the associate director of research
Take a 360-degree look inside the Beckman Institute
Solve Beckman puzzles in our virtual escape room
Complete puzzles about Beckman research and find crucial, missing equipment for our Illinois MRI Exhibit. Our virtual escape room was created by Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space.
Registration is now closed.