While many strides have been made in the treatment and diagnosis of cancer, the 21st century promises to deliver a significant leap forward. And all signs point to engineering being at the center of those advances. Beckman researchers are at the forefront of setting a new standard for cancer treatment and research, including Rohit Bhargava, the director of the new Cancer Center, located at the Beckman Institute; Stephen Boppart, a medical doctor and faculty member of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine; Brian Cunningham, who directs the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory; and Princess Imoukhuede, an assistant professor of bioengineering.
The Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Program provides an opportunity for young scientists to spend several years doing independent research in the behavioral and biological sciences, chemistry, engineering, or physics before launching formal academic careers. We introduce you to two of these promising researchers and scholars: Ana Daugherty, who researches health factors and behaviors that modify changes in brain structure and cognitive ability across the lifespan; and Kenneth Hernández-Burgos, who researches electronic and ionic interactions in redox-active polymers. We asked them each the same four questions.
New research shows exercise can have a profound effect on thinking skills. Art Kramer, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and member of Beckman's Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group, is quoted explaining the benefits of exercise on hippocampal volume. "The new cells and increased neural connections improve long-term and short-term memory," says Kramer. Exercise increases the volume in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates memory by 2 percent each year.
Three Ph.D. students will discuss their research at the Beckman Institute’s first spring Graduate Student Seminar at noon Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Room 1005. The presenters: Svyatoslav Dvoretskiy, a Ph.D. student in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group; Hassaan Majeed, a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group; and Timothy P. Moneypenny II, a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow in the Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures research theme. Lunch will be provided.
Paul Braun, Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Lab and member of Beckman's 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, has been named a Materials Research Society Fellow. “I can honestly say this was only possible due to the incredible support I have received from the University, the College of Engineering, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Beckman Institute, the MRL, and the Department of Chemistry from my earliest days as an assistant professor until today," Braun said.
Ying Diao, assistant professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and member of Beckman's Autonomous Materials Systems Group, co-authored a study identifying a mechanism that triggers shape-memory phenomena in organic crystals used in plastic electronics. This mechanism could allow for advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices and multifunctional shape-memory materials.
Anthony Griffin, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering, recently received the 2017 Annual Innovation Award for Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis. Griffin’s thesis, titled “Facile and Inexpensive Coatings for a Wide Range of Applications,” focuses on microvascular materials for adaptive electronic devices. He initially developed a polarization reconfigurable patch antenna using structural microfluidics. Griffin is a member of Beckman's Autonomous Materials Systems Group.
In the last few months, the Department of Defense agency tasked with funding science’s most far-out hopes has begun investing millions in discovering radical, non-binary ways to work with data. “Molecules offer a very different approach to ‘computing’ than the 0s and 1s of our existing digital systems,” says Anne Fischer, program manager for the Molecular Informatics Program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has so far awarded $15.3 million to projects at Harvard, Brown, the University of Illinois, and the University of Washington. Olgica Milenkovic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and member of Beckman's Computational Multiscale Nanosystems Group, is cited in the article in relation to her team's work with naturally-occurring bacterial DNA.
Elizabeth is a junior double majoring in Psychology & Anthropology, working in Justin Rhodes' Laboratory.
Ryan Dilger, associate professor of animal sciences and member of Beckman's Bioimaging Science and Technology Group co-wrote a recent study from the Piglet Nutrition and Cognition Lab at Illinois. The study found that adding prebiotics to infant formula enhanced piglets’ cognitive performance. The findings back up earlier work and suggest an important role for prebiotics in brain development.
Mike Yao, professor of advertising and member of Beckman's Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, discusses the role of targeted marketing and how it may change Super Bowl ads, and privacy, forever. The individualized ads already common online are also coming to our smart TVs – a challenge not only to mass television marketing but also to personal privacy, says Yao.
Jeff Moore, a professor of chemistry and the director of the Beckman Institute, is among four U of I faculty members selected for endowed chairs deemed to be among the most distinguished honors on the campus. Moore was named a Stanley O. Ikenberry Endowed Chair. The endowed chairs take effect Aug. 16, extend for five years and are renewable. They provide a salary stipend and financial support for the recipient's research.
The Beckman faculty members named Center for Advanced Study Associates and Fellows include: Brian Cunningham, of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group; Lynford Goddard, of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group; Rebecca Stumpf, of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory; Lav Varshney, of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group; and Smitha Vishveshwara, of the Social and Emotional Dimensions of Well-being Group. CAS awards release time for one semester to pursue projects in the coming academic year.
Laxmikant "Sanjay" Kalé, a professor of computer science and member of Beckman's Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, has been named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is one of 54 new ACM Fellows named for 2017.
Kyle is a research facility attendant.
Kiel Christianson, a professor of educational psychology and a member of the Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative at Beckman, will present the Feb. 1 Beckman Institute Director’s Seminar at noon in Room 1005. In his talk, “Good-Enough Language Processing: Theory and Data,” Christianson will talk about a framework that attempts to account for misinterpretations. Lunch is provided.
The Beckman Institute is now accepting applications for its Graduate Fellows Program (for grad students at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. level), Undergraduate Fellows Program, and seven more research fellow and awards programs. Applicants may apply to be considered for more than one award. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, with recipients being announced in late March. The awards are supported by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation or private donors. More information is online.
Rashid Bashir, professor of bioengineering and member of the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, co-led a research team that has demonstrated a novel gene expression analysis technique that can accurately measure levels of RNA quickly and directly from a cancerous tissue sample while preserving the spatial information across the tissue —something that conventional methods cannot do.
Serving counterfeit liquor is not only unethical, but can also be dangerous to the people consuming it. It was with this in mind that U of I scientists recently developed a portable device that can tell fake alcohol from the real thing. Created by Kenneth S. Suslick, a professor of chemistry and member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, and Zheng Li, a postdoctoral research associate, the device consists of a handheld image analyzer that contains a disposable sensor cartridge.
The College of Engineering started a bold experiment in undergraduate education using a “challenge-inspired” education model and piloted the Cancer Scholars program in 2014. The idea was to form a small cohort of students and mold their undergraduate experience around the idea of cancer research. Three years later, members of the first cohort are now seniors. The program is led by director Rohit Bhargava, a professor of bioengineering and the director of the Cancer Center, located at the Beckman Institute. Several of the students have Beckman affiliations.
A team led by Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, a professor of food science and human nutrition and member of Beckman’s Biomedical Science and Technology Group, found that treating ovariectomized mice with a combination of conjugated estrogens and the drug bazedoxifene improved metabolism and prevented the weight gain often associated with low estrogen levels without posing increased risk to their reproductive tissues.
Aron K. Barbey studies the neurobiological foundations of human intelligence. Barbey is a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and bioengineering; the director of the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory; and the leader of the Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group at the Beckman Institute. Find out more about Barbey’s research in this Q&A posted by the U of I’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Blood vessels are the supply lines of the human body, bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells and carrying away waste. Controlling the growth of these supply lines can be an effective tactic to combat several different types of disorders, including cancer, stroke, and injury. A new study led by Princess Imoukhuede, an assistant professor of bioengineering and a member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, has added layer of nuance to our understanding of the signals that direct blood vessel growth.