A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including Beckman faculty members Rashid Bashir and Taher Saif, demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function. The group published its work in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Fatima Husain, Beckman part-time faculty member and U of I speech and hearing science professor, and her colleagues found that tinnitus, a condition in which a person hears a ringing sound despite the lack of an actual sound, is associated with emotional processing in a different part of the brain than in those without the condition.
Aleksei Aksimentiev, a part-time faculty member of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group, used the National Science Foundation-supported Stampede supercomputer to explore a cutting-edge method of DNA sequencing. The method uses an electric field to drive a strand of DNA through a small hole, or “nanopore,” either in silicon or a biological membrane.
Klaus Schulten of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany, discussing his work with the Blue Waters supercomputer to observe how the HIV capsid interacts with drugs and host proteins at the atomic level. Schulten invented the Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD) software program, one of the most widely used tools for understanding diseases at a molecular level.
Mead Johnson Nutrition awarded a $945,000 gift to Ryan Dilger, Beckman part-time faculty member, to build a new biomedical swine research unit at the U of I that will increase the capability for research regarding learning and memory in young pigs with the goal of understanding how nutrition affects brain development in human infants.
Camille Goudeseune, a computer systems analyst at the Beckman Institute’s Illinois Simulator Laboratory (ISL), recently captured a panoramic photograph of the new Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) building at the University of Illinois using only an inexpensive toy quadcopter equipped with a video camera, his flying ability, and good weather.
An optical imaging technique developed in the Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute was recently featured on Black Box, a new TV show on ABC that follows the life of a neurologist who diagnoses rare brain conditions.
Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, Beckman full-time faculty member, joins Mark Hasegawa-Johnson as co-chair in the Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction (HCII) research theme.
Children who are physically fit might have better language skills than their peers who are less fit, new research from the U of I suggests, led by Beckman affiliate Charles Hillman. “Our study shows that the brain function of higher-fit kids is different, in the sense that they appear to be able to better allocate resources in the brain towards aspects of cognition [thinking] that support reading comprehension,” says Hillman, member of the Human Perception and Performance Group.
Controlling the flow of heat through materials is important for many technologies. For the first time, researchers at the U of I, including Paul Braun of Beckman's 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, have experimentally shown that the thermal conductivity of lithium cobalt oxide, an important material for electrochemical energy storage, can be reversibly electrochemically modulated over a considerable range.
The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells, with potential to become any tissue type, to take the first step to specialization. A group of U of I researchers, lead by Beckman affiliate Ning Wang, published their results in Nature Communications.
Brad Deutsch, Dave Mayerich, Rohit Bhargava, and Scott Carney were finalists in the Alan Alda Flame Challenge for answering the question “What is color?” in a way that made sense to an 11-year-old.
A recent study from Stanford University found that as little as 10 minutes of daily walking can boost creativity. How does it work? "There are a variety of molecular and cellular changes that occur in animal experiments that support the cognitive benefits we observe in humans," said Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute. In one of Kramer's studies, researchers found that taking three 40-minute walks a week improved memory and other aspects of cognitive thinking in older adults.
Canan Dagdeviren, graduate student in 3D Micro- and Nanosystems, has always been interested in science. At a very young age, this Turkish native tried to find the atom by cutting stones into pieces. Her supportive father introduced her to electron microscopy, where she realized that was an impossible task, but confirmed her passion for the field. The pursuit also took a personal tone when she learned that her granddad had passed away from heart failure at the age of 28.