Developed by Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Tim Bretl and his students, Aadeel Akhtar and Kyung Yun Choi, the fingers of this flexible model prosthetic hand are smashed, twisted, and bent in every direction. Surviving the torment, the digits bend back into shape. Bretl and Akhtar are members of Beckman’s Mechanisms of Cognitive Control Group.
U of I entomologist Andrew Suarez, a member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Techology Group, commented in Smithsonian Magazine on a new study about how ants have successfully migrated around the world. “I think ants globally really are one of the bigger and more problematic invasive taxa,” said Suarez, who has long studied invasive ants. He points to fire ants as a prime example. Their aggression in colonizing new areas and attacking rival insects helps them push out native insects and even nesting birds and reptiles.
Randy Ewoldt, an assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering and member of Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, was one of just 82 of the nation’s brightest young engineers selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 23rd annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium in September. He is one of three engineers invited from the University of Illinois.
Scientists may have found a fix for one of the recurring problems of virtual reality and augmented reality: eye fatigue. A new type of display module was developed by Liang Gao, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and graduate student Wei Cui, both members of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group. The module uses an approach called optical mapping to create realistic 3D images by using a series of 2D subpanel images.
In two new studies, University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Naiman Khan; postdoctoral researcher Anne Walk, who is affiliated with the Beckman Institute’s Intelligent Systems research theme; and their colleagues found links between levels of lutein in the eye and cognition and academic performance in pre-adolescent children.
Yang Zhang, an assistant professor of nuclear, plasma, and radiological engineering and a member of Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, has won the 2017 Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society.
When the University of Illinois was established, its physical presence consisted of 10 acres for its main campus and a ramshackle five-story building, nicknamed The Elephant, located where the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology now sits on the north end of campus. As the U. of I. celebrates its 150th birthday, the campus now consists of 4,550 acres (excluding the farms) and 647 buildings. A recently released book— “An Illini Place: Building the University of Illinois Campus,” published by the University of Illinois Press—traces the history of the physical place, including the many plans for the look and expansion of the campus, the architectural style of its buildings and where they would be located.
Last month, Lav R. Varshney, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of Beckman’s Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, participated in “Computational Creativity: AI and the art of ingenuity,” part of the 2017 World Science Festival at New York University. The panel discussed artificial intelligence and the development of creativity in computers.
Kimberly Sam, who earned a B.S. in molecular and cellular biology from the U of I in May 2017, was one of 14 Illinois students and alumni offered student Fulbright grants to pursue international educational, research, and teaching experiences this coming year. Sam, a member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group as an undergraduate, was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct medical research in Ecuador. She received the Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research in 2016 to support research in neuroscience at the Beckman Institute, and she spent two years studying models of traumatic brain injury in neuronal network models while serving as a research assistant for Bioengineering Professor Parijat Sengupta, also a member of the BST Group. Upon completing her Fulbright, Sam plans to attend medical school to pursue an M.D./Ph.D.
Little has been known about visceral fat and brain health in children. For a soon-to-be-published study, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston and at Illinois tracked hundreds of 8- to 10-year-old children in a nine-month after-school exercise program in Urbana. Charles Hillman, now at Northeastern University, conducted the study while at the Beckman Institute.
What do you think the next version of Beckman should look like? Would you like to comment on the recent design presentation or the Atrium and Café design proposals that are in the Atrium? We invite you to continue the conversation online by posting on the Beckman Institute Discussion Board (NetID and password required). Feel free to share new ideas or comment on current conversations. (Click "Read Article" below to go to discussion board.)
In the "News and Views" section of Nature Materials, Joseph Lyding, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of Beckman's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group, discusses work by H-J Gao and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which uses bottom-up patterning to pattern atomically precise metal-semiconductor junctions that could be used in future devices.
Kyle Smith, an assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering and a member of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, believes that mechanical engineers have skills and knowledge to engineer the next generation of redox flow batteries, particularly in their training with design, mechanics, and transport phenomena. This includes recent work done by a Senior Design group advised by Smith.
Dipanjan Pan, an assistant professor of bioengineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, was elected a 2018 Fellow of the American College of Cardiology for his contributions to translational nanomedicine in cardiovascular science. Working with clinical researchers, Pan has developed several patented classes of targeted theranostic nanotechnologies that are useful for diagnostic imaging and drug delivery in the treatment of artherosclerosis and cancer. In fact, scientists at Washington University have licensed this technology for commercial development.
Research by Rosalba Hernandez, an assistant professor of social work who is in the Social and Emotional Dimensions of Well-Being Group, was mentioned in a commentary in the Standard-Examiner. “Various national surveys have shown that U.S. Latinos have a positive view of their lives and the future, surpassing whites and African-Americans in their belief that better times are ahead,” said Esther J. Cepeda, of the Washington Post Writers Group. The author went on to point out that Hernandez’s research even found a statistical connection between this positive outlook and better cardiovascular health outcomes for Latinos.