May 2010 Beckman Bulletin

Image of a push pin on left, with the words Beckman Bulletin to the right

The Beckman Bulletin is a monthly digest from the director of the Beckman Institute. The Bulletin is sent to all faculty and staff. Each issue will highlight the latest happenings from around the Institute.

Communication from the Director
Issue 20: May 2010

As we close the academic year and transition to the summer months with high expectations of greater achievements, and hopefully also some much deserved relaxation, I myself am getting ready to transition back to my other life, as a full-time faculty member, at the end of this month. Hence, this will be my last opportunity to communicate with you through the pages of the Beckman Bulletin. It has been a real pleasure serving as your director for the past 20 months, getting to know you all, both personally and in terms of all the wonderful things you do for the Institute, the university, and the advancement of science and technology on a global scale. I have especially appreciated how friendly and accommodating you have all been during my tenure here. I wish you success and joy in all of your future endeavors.

Here now we go with this month’s Bulletin, starting with the most important event of this period.


ART KRAMER NAMED AS THE NEW DIRECTOR OF THE BECKMAN INSTITUTE
Vice Chancellor for Research (interim) Ravi Iyer and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (interim) Richard Wheeler announced on May 13 that Art Kramer (an original Beckman faculty, Director of BIC, Co-Chair of HCII, and faculty member in Psychology) has been named as the new (fourth permanent) director of the Beckman Institute. Congratulations to Art on assuming this important leadership position, which he will start on June 1. I wish him the best in moving the Institute to new frontiers in interdisciplinary research.

RESEARCH THEME REVIEW: HUMAN-COMPUTER INTELLIGENT INTERACTION
The Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction (HCII) research theme was reviewed during the first week of May, by a committee of six. The review committee was very engaged, and had thoughtful and insightful comments throughout the proceedings of the review. I thank all HCII faculty who have provided input to the review document and/or participated in the discussions with the committee. I am particularly thankful to those who made presentations during the review; they were all very well prepared, and were also rich in science and engineering, driven by innovative cutting-edge research. The students, post-docs, and research staff who participated in discussions with the review team over breakfast and during lab visits (particularly BIC and ISL) also contributed to the success of the review.

GRUEBELE ELECTED TO AAAS
Congratulations to Martin Gruebele, a member of Beckman's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group, who has been elected as a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The academy, founded in 1780, is one of the longest-standing honorary societies in the nation. Fellowship honors outstanding leadership and scholarship in a variety of fields. Members join the ranks of Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and many others. http://news.illinois.edu/news/10/0420aas.html

2010 BECKMAN INSTITUTE GRADUATE FELLOWS CHOSEN
I am pleased to announce that the Beckman Institute Graduate Fellows for 2010 are Wylie Ahmed, Chao Ma, Jihye Seong, Wladimir Benalcazar, and Mallory Stites. Congratulations to these University of Illinois students with impressive credentials! http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/news/2010GradFellowsAnnouncement

2010 SEEDING NEW RESEARCH DIRECTIONS GRANTS ANNOUNCED
The Beckman Institute recently held an open competition to seed new interdisciplinary research directions in engineering and the physical, social, life, and neurosciences. The competition brought many new ideas to the table. I am pleased to announce that eight proposals have been selected to receive support for the period May 16, 2010 - May 15, 2012. More details on the grantees and their projects can be found at http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/news/SeedProposals2010

POP WINS ONR AWARD
Congratulations to Eric Pop of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group. He has won an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. Pop was one of 17 winners chosen from 211 applicants nationwide. http://www.ece.illinois.edu/mediacenter/article.asp?id=1050

LIANG AND HERNANDO RECEIVE AWARDS AT ISMRM MEETING
Zhi-Pei Liang and his student, Diego Hernando, both received awards at the annual meeting of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) held in Stockholm, Sweden, May 1-7. Zhi-Pei, co-chair of Beckman's Integrative Imaging research theme, received an ISMRM Fellow Award for his outstanding contributions to constrained image reconstruction and processing. Diego received a Junior Fellow Award for his outstanding technical achievements as a young investigator. Congratulations to both Zhi-Pei and Diego!

GRANT FUNDING
Congratulations to the following investigators who have received grant funding during the one-month period of April 15 – May 21, 2010:

  • An interdisciplinary study of the dynamics of second language (PI: R. Sproat and M. Hasegawa-Johnson; Sponsor: NSF)
  • TSRI FUA 2010-03217 (PI: Robinson; Sponsor: Scripps Research Institute)
  • Accelerating advanced MRI reconstructions on GPUs (PI: B. Sutton; Sponsor: NIH)
  • Mechanochemically-active polymer composites HSAP (PI: J. Moore; Sponsor: DOD-Army)
  • Regeneration and remodeling of composite materials (PI: S. White; Sponsor: AFOSR)

NEW HIRES
Please welcome the following new hires to the Beckman Institute:

  • Susanne Neupert, Postdoctoral Research Associate (J. Sweedler)
  • Jianjun Cheng, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Shen Dillon, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Indranil Gupta, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • William Helferich, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Prasanth Kannanganattu, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Benita Katzenellenbogen, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Jian Ma, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Devarajan Manu, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Catherine Murphy, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Ann Nardulli, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Michael Novak, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Suma Peter, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)
  • Christine Weaver, Affiliate (Seed Proposal)

This is what I have for this month’s bulletin, which is also a farewell for me. As always, the Institute’s website www.beckman.illinois.edu continues to post in a timely manner all the important happenings in the institute involving our faculty, fellows, and graduate and undergraduate student researchers, their accomplishments, recognitions, and featured stories on our research programs.

Tamer Başar
May 21, 2010
Director (Interim)
director@beckman.illinois.edu