Jonathan Waskan is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department who rejoins the Institute as a member of the Cognitive Science group. Waskan earned his Ph.D. in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at Washington University in St. Louis. His research includes topics in the philosophy of cognitive science, including representational formats, levels of explanation, prediction and explanation in the special sciences, connectionism, folk psychology, and theories of content.
Beckman Institute researchers Diane Beck, Dirk Bernhardt-Walther, Eamon Caddigan, and collaborator Fei-Fei Li are reporting in the Journal of Neuroscience on their research looking at how the brain categorizes natural scenes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and distributed pattern analysis they were able to correlate activity in certain regions of the brain with natural scene categorization and even predict significantly above chance the categories of previously unseen images.
The Fall 2009 Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminar series begins on Wednesday, September 2. The seminar will feature three short talks from graduate students Danielle Chandler, Doug Davis and Shu Zhang. The seminar will be held in Beckman Institute Room 1005 and a pizza lunch will be served.
Art Kramer, a Beckman researcher and professor of psychology at the U. of I. who specializes in brain changes and aging, says he personally doesn’t use any brain training games, but makes sure to exercise five times a week. “I get enough mental stimulation in my job,” he says. From Kramer’s perspective, brain training games still haven’t proven their value for the general public, either. “They may be fun, and that’s good,” he says. “But a lot of people have higher expectations.”
Ashwini Chhatre has joined the Beckman Institute as a faculty member in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy (SDEP) strategic initiative. Chhatre is a faculty member in the Department of Geography and at the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois.
An article in the journal Science by Beckman Institute faculty member John Rogers and collaborators reports on their development of a process for creating ultrathin, inorganic LEDs for new classes of lighting and display systems. Darren Stevenson and Chas Conway of Beckman’s Imaging Technology Group created the image accompanying the article.
A summer school held in June at the Beckman Institute to learn about and explore current topics in the emerging field of nanobiophotonics was a big success, organizers said.
In a new approach to an effective “electronic tongue” that mimics human taste, scientists at Illinois led by Beckman researcher and U. of I. chemistry professor Kenneth Suslick report the development of a small, inexpensive, lab-on-a-chip sensor that quickly and accurately identifies sweetness.
Beckman Institute researchers Doug Jones and Todd Coleman are co-principal investigators on a new 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation to provide training for 30 to 40 University of Illinois engineering and neuroscience graduate students in the area of neuroengineering.
Rashid Bashir is the Bliss Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Bashir, who earned his Ph.D. from Purdue in 1992, joined the Computational Multiscale Nanosystems group. His research interests include BioMEMS, Lab on a chip, nano-biotechnology, interfacing biology and engineering from molecular to tissue scale, and applications of semiconductor fabrication to biology, all applied to solve biomedical problems.
Martin Gruebele is one scientist who found the popular press a good resource for ideas. Gruebele, who studies the dynamics of complex chemical and biological systems, got an idea from a New York Times article and used it to make a new discovery about the movement of glass molecules.
Brian Dill is an Assistant Professor of Sociology who has joined the Institute’s Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy strategic initiative. Dill earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His areas of study include development, democratization, globalization, and Africa.
Registration is now open for the Beckman Institute’s 20th anniversary Symposium. The Symposium will be held October 5-7, 2009, at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.
The Symposium will begin the evening of Monday, October 5, with a reception and keynote address by Nobel Laureate Susumu Tonegawa of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The program will continue Tuesday, October 6, with a keynote address by Thomas R. Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. The Wednesday morning session will begin with a keynote address by award-winning nanoscientist Charles M. Lieber of Harvard University. The symposium program also includes world-renowned researchers, and agency and industry professionals with both past and present connections to the Beckman Institute.
For more information on the Beckman Institute’s 20th Anniversary Symposium, on-line registration, feature stories, photos, and more, visit: www.beckman.illinois.edu/anniversary
Scientists at Illinois led by Beckman researcher Paul Braun have used a laser to write a hydrophilic pathway into a three-dimensional hydrophobic porous matrix, a technique with potential uses for selective transportation of aqueous and oily phases in 3-D microfluidic systems.