2017 Beckman Student Award Recipients Announced

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.  

Beckman Institute Undergraduate Fellowship

Supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the fellowship offers University of Illinois undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the Institute during the summer.

Yuan Bian is majoring in psychology with minors in linguistics and statistics. He will work with Gary Dell, a professor of psychology and member of the Illinois Language and Learning Initiative. His research proposal is titled "Second Order Constraint Learning with Stress Context: Can Early Linguistic Experience Affect Implicit Learning in the Language Production System?"

Jerome Davis is majoring in chemistry with a minor in French. He plans to work with Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and engineering and member of the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, on a project titled "Electrodeposition of Doped Lithium Cobalt Oxide."

Dongkwan Lee is studying chemical and biomolecular engineering with a minor in electrical and computer engineering. He plans to work with Rohit Bhargava, a professor of bioengineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, on a project called "Attenuated Total Reflectance Using Quantum Cascade Lasers for Fast, Sub-Diffraction-Limited Chemical Imaging."

Kang Yong Loh is studying chemistry. His project, "NIR DNAzyme Metal Sensors," is under the direction of Yi Lu, a professor of chemistry and member of the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group.

Natalia Wojnowski is studying molecular and cellular biology. She will work with Catherine Christian, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology and member of the Cellular and Molecular Foundations of Intelligent Behavior Group, on a project titled "Astrocyte-Specific Expression of Opsins through Co-injection of GFAP-GFP-Cre and Opto-α1AR Viruses.”

Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research

In honor of Erik Haferkamp’s life and achievements, his family, friends, and colleagues established the Erik Haferkamp Memorial Fund, which provides awards to undergraduate students who are conducting research in neuroscience at the Beckman Institute.

Anastassia Sorokina is studying psychology, and molecular and cellular biology, with a minor in Russian language and literature. Her research project, a genetic analysis of mice that have been bred to display symptoms that mimic Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), will be supervised by Justin Rhodes, an associate professor of psychology and member of the Cellular and Molecular Foundations of Intelligent Behavior Group.

Janssen Family Undergraduate Research Award

The Janssen Family Award supports summer research for undergraduate students in neuroscience or psychology, with preference to support female students.

Ashley Lenhart is studying chemistry with a minor in anthropology. Her research proposal, "Improving Detection of Neuropeptides Released from the Rodent Dorsal Root Ganglion," will continue her work with Jonathan V. Sweedler, a professor of chemistry and member of the Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition Group.

Carle Neuroscience Institute Undergraduate Research Award

These awards allow promising undergraduates to pursue research in neuroscience or psychology at the Beckman Institute in collaboration with clinicians in the Neuroscience Institute at Carle Foundation Hospital during the summer.

Kathleen Murphy is studying engineering physics with a concentration in neuroscience. She will work with members of the Cellular and Molecular Foundations of Intelligent Behavior Group including Daniel Llano, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology, and Justin Rhodes, an associate professor of psychology. Her research proposal is titled "A Method for Mapping Mouse Brain Metabolism and its Sensitivity to Aging."

Laura Pritschet is studying behavioral neuroscience. Her research, "Dynamic Changes in Perception and Oscillatory Spectral Analysis," will be supervised by Sepideh Sadaghiani, an assistant professor of psychology who is a member of the Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group.

Nadine Barrie Smith Memorial Fellowship

In honor of Nadine Barrie Smith’s life and achievements, Nadine’s husband, Andrew Webb, established the Nadine Barrie Smith Memorial Fund that is supported by Nadine’s family, friends, and colleagues. The fund provides fellowships to female engineering graduate students who are conducting research in the general field of medical imaging (e.g., ultrasound, optical, magnetic resonance) at the Beckman Institute.

Fatemeh Ostadhossein is a Ph.D. student in bioengineering. Her research project, "Intrinsically Antimicrobial Caged Hafnium Oxide Nanoparticles for Detection and Therapeutic Intervention of Infective Endocartitis," will take place in the lab of Dipanjan Pan, an assistant professor of bioengineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

Jungeun (Jenny) Won is working toward a Ph.D. in bioengineering. Her research proposal, "Optical Characterization of Middle Ear Effusions in Otitis Media Using Optical Coherence Tomography," will be supervised by Stephen Boppart, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

Thomas and Margaret Huang Award for Graduate Research

In honor of Thomas and Margaret Huang’s contributions to science, technology, and society, the Thomas and Margaret Huang Fund for Graduate Research was established by the Huang family and their friends and colleagues. The fund provides awards to graduate students who are conducting research in the Intelligent Systems research theme at the Beckman Institute.

Renato Azevedo is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology. This award will help him continue his research in interdisciplinary cognitive science with Dan Morrow, a professor of educational psychology and member of the Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience Group.

Ning Xu is a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering. He will work with his adviser, Thomas S. Huang, a research professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, on his research project, "Using Deep Learning for Video Object Segmentation."

Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience Awards

The Beckman Awards Program in Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience (CLEAR), supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, offers University of Illinois students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research in cognitive aging. The fund will support one graduate student and one undergraduate student pursuing research at the Beckman Institute during the summer.

Taylor Jansen is studying psychology. Her research project, "Aging and Chronic Disease Prevention and Management: Investigating the Relationship Between Geographical Location and Participation in Community Health Programs," will be supervised by a team that includes Jacob Sosnoff, an associate professor of kinesiology and community health and a member of CLEAR.

Hsiao-Ying Huang is working toward a Ph.D. in informatics. Her research proposal is titled "Online Privacy-enhancing Experience for Older Adults: An Interdisciplinary Perspective." She plans to collaborate with four faculty members: Masooda Bashir, an assistant professor of information sciences; Wendy Rogers, a professor of kinesiology and community health and member of CLEAR; Liz Stine-Morrow, a professor of educational psychology and member of CLEAR; and Michael Twidale, a professor of information sciences and a member of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group.

Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition Awards

The Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition Awards, supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, offers at least one University of Illinois graduate student and one University of Illinois undergraduate student the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research in neuroscience and technology development at the Beckman Institute during the summer.

Michael Jorgensen is studying chemical and biomolecular engineering. His research proposal, "Development of Photoacoustic Probes for Nitric Oxide Imaging," will be directed by Jefferson Chan, an assistant professor of chemistry and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

Kevin Horecka is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience. His research project, "Human Memory in Virtual Reality, Spatiotemporal Navigation," is supported by Neal Cohen, a professor of psychology and member of the Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group.

Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Awards

The Beckman Awards Program in Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science (OrgInt), supported by funding from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, offers University of Illinois students the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research in the study of social networks and large-scale social systems. This program will fund one graduate student and one undergraduate student pursuing research at the Beckman Institute during the summer.

Lily Benig is studying bioengineering with a minor in communication. Her research proposal, "Theranostic Copper Nano Beacons (CuNBs) Targeted to Angiogenesis and Inflammation in Coronary Artery Disease," will be supervised by Dipanjan Pan, an assistant professor of bioengineering and member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

Amit Das is working toward his Ph.D. in electrical engineering. His research in speech and language technology includes automatic speech recognition (speech to text conversion), gesture recognition, and speech enhancement. He will work with Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group.