2006 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows Announced

The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is pleased to announce the 2006 Graduate Fellows selections. The Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows program provides an excellent opportunity for young scholars who are engaged in thesis research at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. level. The Fellows were selected based on the quality of their proposed work, the likelihood that the work would lead to important new results in science and engineering, and the relevance of the proposed project to existing Beckman Institute research.

The 2006 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows are as follows:

Daniel Heller:
Daniel is pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry. As a Beckman Graduate Fellow he plans to investigate and create a working optical biosensor to measure DNA damage that occurs during carcinogenesis and as a result of chemotherapeutic drugs. The optical biosensor will use near-infrared emissive properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes. The sensor will report the rate, type, and extent of damage occurring in real time, providing an important investigative and diagnostic tool for cancer research, detection, and treatment.

Dimitrios Karampinos:
Dimitrios is working on his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. His research proposal is focused on the development of a model-based analysis of MRI dispersion measurements in order to quantify perfusion in microvascular networks. His proposed research plan combines multi-scaled computational models with microscopic MRI.

Chun-Yu Tse:
Yu is working on his Ph.D. in the Brain and Cognitive Division of the Psychology Department. His research applies fast optical imaging methods toward our understanding of language processes. He will work with a recently developed imaging method - event-related optical signal (EROS) - to study the sequence of activation of language areas in the brain. He will use EROS to reveal the temporal dynamics of the left inferior frontal cortex, left temporal cortex, and perisylvian structures in the processing of syntactic and semantic information in human language.

Ruchika Shaurya Prakash:
Ruchika is working toward a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her proposal will examine the effects of aerobic fitness training on cognition, brain structure, and brain function of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. The ultimate goal of the study is to design an intervention program that would help ameliorate the cognitive deficits observed in MS patients and improve overall quality of life.

Tae-Jin Yoon:
Tae-Jin is working on a Ph.D. in Linguistics. He will explore the relationship between the prosodic structure of speech and other dimensions of linguistic structure such as phonology, syntax, semantics and discourse structure. He will also examine the elements of prosodic structure, intonational and rhythmic, in terms of acoustic and/or perceptual cues. The broad goal of his research is to develop a better understanding of prosodic structure in spoken language and to improve the performance of automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech systems through prosody modeling.

The Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows each receive an 11 month, 50% appointment commensurate with the pay rate of the graduate student's home department. Funds will also be provided to each awardee to attend one national meeting to present the results of their research.