Biggan and Lee to Present Beckman Director’s Seminar on April 27

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.

Prenatal Physical Activity Effects on Childhood Cognition

Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow John Biggan
Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow John Biggan

For years, the Beckman Institute has been a leader in the study of physical activity and its ability to influence cognitive health in older adults and children. This talk expands this interdisciplinary work to the prenatal period where less than 16 percent of pregnant women meet recommended levels of physical activity. This lack of physical activity is despite the substantial health benefits to the mother alone, such as a reduced risk of gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia, indicating that additional motivation may be necessary to change this inactivity. A possible motivator is present in the potential benefits to the child. Unfortunately, these potential benefits have gone largely unexamined. This presentation will describe early work aimed at beginning to elucidate the relationship between prenatal physical activity and physical and cognitive development.

John Biggan biography

John Biggan is a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. He earned his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Following this, Biggan spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Kinesiology at UTA studying the effects of exercise interventions on cognition and fall risk in community-dwelling older adults. His current research focuses on more fully understanding the role that physical activity plays in promoting and maintaining cognitive health across the lifespan. At Beckman, he has maintained interdisciplinary collaborations with Drs. Arthur Kramer, Charles Hillman, Neal Cohen, Naiman Khan, and Hannah Holscher, with whom he is researching the effects of prenatal physical activity and nutrition on cognition.

Hoops and Cages by Connecting Carbons

Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Semin Lee
Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Semin Lee

Carbon-rich materials (e.g., carbon nanotube, graphene) are in the forefront of organic electronics and optical materials. They tend to have tunable materials properties and great thermal/chemical stabilities. However, their bottom-up preparation are commonly plagued by inefficient and irreversible reactions that result in low yields. This presentation will discuss creating carbon-rich cage and nanohoop molecules in extremely high yields using a reversible process, which is able to self-correct errors by making and breaking carbon-carbon bonds. In addition, their potential materials and biological applications will be discussed.

Semin Lee biography

Semin Lee is a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. He earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from Sogang University, South Korea, and his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His major interest has been in creating new molecules using computational molecular modeling and organic synthesis. At the Beckman Institute, he primarily works with Jeff Moore, a professor of chemistry and member of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group, on making new carbon-rich materials. He also was involved in developing shockwave dissipating materials with AMS. Lee has contributed to five publications during his time as a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow. He will start his career as an assistant professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University in fall 2017.