Beckman scientists have simulated every atom of a light-harvesting structure in a photosynthetic bacterium that generates energy for the organism. The work is a major step toward understanding how some biological structures convert sunlight into chemical energy, a biological innovation that is essential to life. Much of the work was conducted at the Beckman Institute with members of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group.
Baxter Healthcare Corporation recently presented Bioengineering Ph.D. Student Jungeun "Jenny" Won with a 2019 Young Investigator Award. Her research is titled “Middle Ear Imaging Device for Non-invasive, Real-time Diagnosis and Monitoring of Middle Ear Infections.” As part of the Biophotonics Imaging Lab, her adviser is Stephen Boppart. Fourteen graduate students received the award this year for "research that is challenging, applicable to critical care therapies, and that helps Baxter save and sustain human lives," said the Baxter award committee in its notification to Won.
In the growing need to improve imaging techniques, the US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an RO1 grant to improve breast ultrasound tomography. Beckman’s Mark Anastasio, Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering and the head of the Department of Bioengineering at Illinois, is the contact principal investigator on the project, titled “Advanced image reconstruction for accurate and high-resolution breast ultrasound tomography.” Illinois will partner with Wayne State University.
The Moore Group recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society that describes a new way of synthesizing ring polymers. These polymers are usually difficult to prepare, and the group hopes that their technique will have the potential to advance both science and technology as it relates to molecular architecture.
Cognitive neuroscientist Kara Federmeier was quoted in an article in the Washington Post about how seeing shapes in the sky has nothing to do with meteorology and everything to do with the mechanics of the human brain. “The visual system is constantly sending messy, only partially analyzed information forward into memory. It’s sort of saying: ‘Here’s some stuff. What do you have that looks anything like this?’ ” Federmeier said.
Researchers have developed a new technique that uses light to control the lifetime of a protein inside the cell. This method will allow scientists to better observe how specific proteins contribute to health, development and disease. Previous techniques for controlling protein levels involved adding chemicals that degrade specific proteins, said University of Illinois biochemistry professor Kai Zhang, who led the new research. Using light, a method called optogenetics, is a more efficient, nontoxic way to control protein levels, Zhang said.
Rishyashring “Rishee” Raman Iyer, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, works in the Biophotonics Imaging Lab.
A generous donation from John P. O’Donnell, an engineering alumnus, recently added two large paintings to the Beckman Institute’s collection.
Erik Hege is the director of Information Technology Services.
Two Beckman researchers have been named to the Analytical Scientist’s 2019 Power List, with Jonathan Sweedler, the James R. Eizner Family Endowed Chair in Chemistry and director of the School of Chemical Sciences at Illinois claiming the top spot. Rohit Bhargava, a Founder Professor of Engineering and the director of the Cancer Center, was also in the top 100. His primary faculty appointment is in the Department of Bioengineering. The annual Power List highlights tremendous talent, ingenuity, and leadership in analytical science across the world.
Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Ben Zimmerman will present his research at the Nov. 14 Director’s Seminar at noon in Room 1005 Beckman. Zimmerman will talk about “Approaching Tinnitus Mindfully.” The lecture is open to the public, and lunch is available. No registration is required.
Researchers in the Cognition and Brain Lab, led by Kara Federmeier, have recently published a paper in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that investigates how predicting during sentence comprehension affects memory. This study demonstrates that what you predict can affect what you later remember. The study can have potential applications in learning outcomes.