To exploit zinc’s useful properties in next-generation batteries, researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory have prepared zinc electrodes in a porous spongelike structure. Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, says the NRL team “has found a particularly compelling system, where the 3-D electrode structure provides high power, as expected, but perhaps surprisingly, results in dendrite suppression and thus very good long-term cycling.”
A new study by Brian P. Bailey, an associate professor of computer science, Alex Kirlik, a professor of computer science, and colleagues suggests that reading supportive comments, “likes,” and private messages from social media friends prior to taking a test may help college students who have high levels of test-anxiety significantly reduce their nervousness and improve their scores.
Aron Barbey, a professor of psychology, led a group of researchers at the Beckman Institute that used a specialized MRI technique to measure the structural integrity of the hippocampus in healthy young adults and correlated it with their performances on fitness and memory tests.
Four Beckman Institute faculty members were among those honored April 26 at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence awards reception. Laura DeThorne, an associate professor of speech and hearing science and a member of the Illinois Language and Literacy Intitative; Rebecca Stumpf, an associate professor of anthropology and a member of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory; and Andrew Suarez, a professor of animal biology and a member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, were among the faculty members awarded the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, which recognizes sustained excellence in and innovative approaches to undergraduate teaching and contributions beyond classroom instruction that have an overall positive impact on undergraduate student learning. Jennifer Robbennolt, a professor of law and member of the Social and Emotional Dimensions of Well-Being Group, received the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching. Recipients of this award are honored for sustained excellence and innovation in graduate or professional teaching and their contributions to graduate or professional learning beyond classroom instruction.
So far, life as a postdoctoral researcher is what Kenneth Hernandez-Burgos expected. “You’re expected to know what you’re doing,” he said. “You don’t have to take any more exams, so you have the freedom of just developing yourself as a scientist.” Postdoctoral researchers, or postdocs, are researchers who have completed their Ph.D. and are pursuing additional research to prepare them for their career. Hernandez-Burgos, a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, is one of over 500 postdocs at the U of I.
Stephen Boppart, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, was quoted in an article in Scientific American about Facebook’s newly formed Building 8 “moon shot” factory that is working on a device that would let people type out words through a brain-computer interface. One of the remaining challenges is whether the changes in the returning light will create patterns unique enough to represent each of the letters, words, and phrases needed to translate brain waves into words on a screen, Boppart said.
Aditya Parameswaran, an assistant professor of computer science and member of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, is the recipient of a 2017 National Science Foundation CAREER award for his proposal, “Advancing Open-Ended Crowdsourcing: The Next Frontier in Crowdsourced Data Management.” The award provides monetary support over the next five years in support of his research and educational activities. He also was named this year’s recipient of the IEEE TCDE Early Career Award. Presented at the recent IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE), the award honors an individual for their body of work in Data Engineering in the first five years after their Ph.D.
Wenjuan Zhu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group, is the recipient of a 2017 National Science Foundation CAREER award for her proposal, “Transforming Electronic Devices Using Two-dimensional Materials and Ferroelectric Metal Oxides.” The award provides monetary support over the next five years in support of her research and educational activities.
Nineteen students were recently named recipients of the 2017 Beckman Institute student awards. The awards, which are presented to undergraduate and graduate students, will be presented during a reception in May.
Rashid Bashir, a professor of bioengineering and member of Beckman's 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, was one of four University of Illinois faculty members honored with Campus Awards for Excellence in Faculty Leadership at a dinner reception April 25. The Office of the Provost sponsors the campus-level awards to recognize excellence in leadership for those faculty members who distinguish themselves with their vision of the future and their efforts to enable and promote others in shaping that future.
Electronic health record portals should make it easy and convenient for patients to view the important information in their medical records. But having access to the information and understanding how to use it are two different things. That’s especially true for older adults, whose increased health care needs can coincide with age-related declines in cognitive abilities, such as working memory and attention. It’s a reality that motivates Daniel Morrow in his work on health literacy.
IEEE reports that Wai-Tat Fu, an associate professor of computer science and a member of the Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience Group, and his graduate student Ping-Jing Yang have collaborated to develop Mindbot, a virtual therapist. Still a prototype, it relies on natural language processing and machine learning to interact with patients the way therapists do.
Seven graduate students have been awarded 2017 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowships. The program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D.-level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the Institute. The honorees: Andrew Bower, electrical and computer engineering; Zhikun Cai, nuclear engineer; Hassaan Majeed, bioengineering; Shachi Mittal, bioengineering; Timothy Moneypenny, materials chemistry; Matthew Moore, psychology; and Nitya Sai Reddy Satyavolu, chemistry.
An article about competitors in the 2017 Cozad New Venture competition, cited a connection to research at the Beckman Institute. The article explains how the technology, championed by bioengineering professors Wawrzyniec Dobrucki and Brad Sutton—both members of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group—is being further developed by student startup, PhantomCor, a finalist in the Cozad New Venture Challenge.
Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows John Biggan and Semin Lee will present the final spring Beckman Institute Director’s Seminar on April 27. Biggan will discuss “Prenatal Physical Activity Effects on Childhood Cognition,” and Lee will talk about “Hoops and Cages by Connecting Carbons.” The talk begins at noon in Room 1005 of the Beckman Institute. The lecture is open to the public and lunch is provided.
Variations in how mammals function may explain why most species are promiscuous, why a few are monogamous—and why some, like humans, are somewhere in between. “We can go from the bottom up and build our knowledge base, and then ask questions about human biology,” said Gene Robinson, a biologist and member of Beckman’s Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group, who commented on but was not involved in a pioneering study published April 19.
Experts from Illinois have built a robot that can wheel itself around farms to monitor plants—an invention that could make it easier and cheaper for farmers to collect data on crops. Girish Chowdhary, an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering and a member of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, specializes in autonomous decision-making robots. Chowdhary and more than a dozen other researchers are testing out the farm robot by collecting data on sorghum, a biofuel crop that can grow up to 14 feet tall.
L. Mahadevan, Harvard University's Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, who also is a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and a professor of physics, will present the Beckman Institute's 2017 SmithGroup JJR lecture on "Shape: Mathematics, Physics, Biology, and Engineering." The lecture is at noon, Friday, April 21 in the Beckman Institute Auditorium and is free and open to the public.
Research from the Beckman Institute was referenced in an article on Fox News about technology that would allow you to instruct your cellphone to self-destruct on command if it is lost or stolen. Teams at the Beckman Institute working on remotely commanding devices to self-destruct using methods such as heat and ultraviolet light have included members of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group Jeff Moore, a professor of chemistry; Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering; and Scott White, a professor of aerospace engineering; and John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering and member of the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group.
Lav Varshney, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, was quoted in an article on Fox News about Facebook using pattern recognition to combat people posting inappropriate images of others on the Internet without their consent. If a user labels an image as revenge porn, Facebook has started using pattern recognition that can block the propagation of those images and warn users about the issue.
Brad Sutton, an associate professor of bioengineering and a member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, talks about how moving MRI data processing to Amazon Web Services (AWS) is helping researchers at Illinois contribute to our evolving understanding of the human brain.
Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.
The News-Gazette's weekly Q&A featured Marni Boppart, an associate professor of kinesiology and community health and a member of Beckman's Bioimaging Science and Technology Group. Boppart chats with staff writer Paul Wood about her personal and professional interests.
Jean-Pierre Leburton, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Aditya Sarathy, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, have developed a method to detect and map DNA methylation, which can be a sign of cancer, by threading the DNA through a tiny hole in a thin sheet of conductive material with a current running through it. Both researchers are members of Beckman's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group.
Jodi Schneider, assistant professor of information sciences, has been named an affiliate faculty member in the Beckman Institute's Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science (OrgInt) Working Group within the Intelligent Systems research theme.
Rohit Bhargava, Founder Professor of Engineering and full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, has received the Beckman Institute Vision and Spirit Award.