2018 Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows Announced

The new 2018 Fellows at the Beckman Institute span research areas as diverse as materials science, chemistry, neuroscience, biology, physical fitness, and nanomaterials. The fellowship recipients are Aaron Anderson, Kevin Clark, Jamila Hedhli, Ryan Hubbard, Matthew Moore, Tian “Autumn” Qiu, and Jianfeng Wang.

The new 2018 Fellows at the Beckman Institute span research areas as diverse as materials science, chemistry, neuroscience, biology, physical fitness, and nanomaterials.

2018 Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow

Jamila Hedhli has been named the 2018 Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow. Hedhli will receive her Ph.D. in bioengineering in May from the University of Illinois. She plans to develop gas-filled “smart bubbles” for ultrasound imaging of ovarian cancer with the ultimate goal of transforming the biomedical imaging landscape through the development of ultrasound probes, which will enable medical practitioners to use ultrasound to accurately diagnose diseases. Hedhli plans to work with Jeff Chan, an assistant professor of chemistry; Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, an assistant professor of bioengineering; King Li, the dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine; and Michael Oelze, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows

For 2018, four people have been chosen as Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows. They are Kevin Clark, Ryan Hubbard, Matthew Moore, and Tian “Autumn” Qiu.

Clark will receive his Ph.D. in chemistry from Iowa State University in June. His research focuses on developing methods to elucidate with single-nucleotide resolution the functional role of RNA modifications in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disease. He will work with Jonathan Sweedler, a professor of chemistry; Stephanie Ceman, an associate professor of cell and developmental biology; Aleksei Aksimentiev, an associate professor of physics; and Martha Gillette, a professor of cell and developmental biology.

A 2017 graduate from the University of Illinois, Hubbard received his Ph.D. in psychology. His previous research used novel paradigms and electrophysiological imaging to study prediction in language. As a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Hubbard will use multimodal imaging techniques and advanced signal processing to investigate a cognitive process (event segmentation) that impacts many aspects of human experience, including perception, memory, and language. He plans to work with Lili Sahakyan, an associate professor of psychology; Florin Dolcos, an associate professor of psychology; and Paris Smaragdis, an associate professor of computer science.

Moore will graduate in 2018 from the University of Illinois with a Ph.D. in psychology. He will work with Brad Sutton, a professor of bioengineering; Gabriele Gratton, a professor of psychology; and Dolcos, and he will collaborate with other Beckman faculty members Aron Barbey, an associate professor of psychology; and Sepideh Sadaghiani, an assistant professor of psychology, on a project that will help clarify the spatio-temporal dynamics of neural mechanisms underlying socio-emotional functioning using tri-modal simultaneous brain imaging. The resulting data sets will help elucidate the link between complex behaviors and their neural substrates.

Qiu will graduate in May 2018  from the University of Minnesota with a Ph.D.in chemistry. Her current research focuses on how bacterial cells respond to nano-scale materials at molecular levels. At Beckman, her project will use advanced analytical platforms and animal models to understand the “language,” namely signaling molecules, that gut microbiota uses to “talk” with nervous systems in order to delineate the role of gut microbiota in animal brain and health. She will work with Sweedler, Gillette, and Nathan Schroeder, an assistant professor of crop sciences, as well as Huimin Zhao, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Carle Foundation Hospital-Beckman Institute Fellows

Aaron Anderson and Jianfeng Wang have been chosen as Carle Foundation Hospital-Beckman Institute Fellows.

Anderson will receive his Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics in May from the University of Illinois. Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is uniquely capable of noninvasive imaging the material properties of brain tissue and has proven sensitive to a number of physiological changes and diseases. His research aims to improve specificity through higher-order material models for improved clinical outcomes. He will work with Sutton and Dr. Graham Huesmann, a neurologist and epileptologist at Carle Foundation Hospital and a research assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at Illinois.

Wang received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2017 from the National University of Singapore. His research plans to use cellular-resolution wide-field polarization-sensitive volumetric optical coherence tomography (PSV-OCT) in order to significantly improve the detection sensitivity and specificity of positive breast tumor margins. He will work with Stephen Boppart, Liang Gao, and Minh Do from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Drs. Anna Higham and Kimberly Cradock from Carle Surgical Oncology; and Dr. George Liu from Carle Pathology.