June 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 21: June 2010

I am pleased to bring you my first issue of the Beckman Bulletin since I took over the reins as Director just a few short weeks ago. I am very much looking forward to my new role at the Beckman Institute and I plan to continue using the Bulletin to share news and information with you. If you have any items to include, please feel free to send them to me via email at director@beckman.illinois.edu.


COLE, NELSON NAMED AS CO-CHAIRS OF BIOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH THEME
Jennifer Cole and Mark Nelson have been named as the new co-chairs of the Biological Intelligence research theme. Cole, a member of the Cognitive Science Group replaces Monica Fabiani in the role. Nelson is a member of the NeuroTech group and replaces Bill Greenough. I’d like to thank all of these faculty members for their commitments in helping the Beckman Institute continue to achieve its mission.
http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/news/NewBioIntelcochairs

MILLER NAMED DIRECTOR OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING CENTER
Greg Miller has been named the Director of the Beckman Institute’s Biomedical Imaging Center (BIC). Miller, head of the Cognitive Neuroscience group, replaces me in this role. I think Greg is the perfect choice to serve as the BIC Director and I personally appreciate his decision to take this position at this time. http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/news/MillerBIC

LANSING NAMED HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE GROUP LEADER
Charissa Lansing has been named the Group Leader of the Human Perception and Performance Group. She is taking over the role that I vacated since taking over as Director. I know Charissa will do an excellent job in this leadership position and I look forward to working with her in this capacity.

NADINE BARRIE SMITH MEMORIAL FUND ESTABLISHED
Andrew Webb, former Director of BIC, together with his colleagues here, have established a memorial fund to honor his late wife, Dr. Nadine Barrie Smith. The fund has been set up to recognize her accomplishments in science, engineering, and education. Nadine, an Illinois alumna and postdoctoral researcher at the Beckman Institute (1987-1995), died very suddenly at the age of 48. The fund will initially support the installation of a memorial bench in the Beckman Institute garden. Future funds will be used to support and promote the role of women in engineering through education and research, and to support graduate and postdoctoral research in biomedical imaging at the Beckman Institute. http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/news/NadineBarrieSmithMemorial

SPINTRONICS CONFERENCE HELD AT BECKMAN JUNE 21-23
The Third International WUN Conference on Spintronic Materials and Technology is currently being held at the Beckman Institute. The co-chairs of the conference are Beckman’s Jean-Pierre Leburton and Duane Johnson of Materials Science and Engineering. The conference is a forum for experts to discuss the new scientific and technological developments in spintronics. An emphasis will be placed on spintronic applications and impact on technology. For more information visit: http://www.beckman.illinois.edu/wun-spin2010/index.aspx

LIANG INVITED TO PRESTIGIOUS 2010 NAKFI CONFERENCE
Congratulations to Zhi-Pei Liang for being invited to the 2010 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Conference, “Seeing the Future with Imaging Science.” This “think-tank” style conference brings together some of the best and brightest researchers from academic, industrial, and government laboratories to explore and discover interdisciplinary connections in important areas of cutting-edge research. Participants are also invited to compete for $1 million in seed grants for the pursuit of new ideas stimulated by the conference.

FEDERMEIER HONORED WITH JAMES S. MCDONNELL FOUNDATION SCHOLAR AWARD
Congratulations to Kara Federmeier for being honored with a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar award in the Understanding Human Cognition program. The JSFM Scholar Awards support research studying how neural systems are linked to and support cognitive functions and how cognitive systems are related to an organism’s observable behavior. Federmeier’s research will explore cognitive and neural mechanisms of meaning comprehension.

GRANT FUNDING
Congratulations to the following investigators who have received grant funding during the period of May 22 – June 21, 2010: 

  • Novel acquisition and computation in vibrational spectroscopic imaging (PI: R. Bhargava; Sponsor: NSF)
  • The role of sensorimotor function, associative memory and reinforcement learning in automatic acquisition of spoken language by an autonomous robot (PI: S. Levinson; Sponsor: DOD-Naval Research Lab)

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

  • Huiquan Du, Visiting Scholar (Z.P. Liang)
  • David Dremann, OTM in Residence Intern
  • Gail Trent, Extra Help (Human Resources)
  • Lei Ding, Visiting Scholar (T. Huang)

Congratulations to Judy Allen (administrative support staff) on her retirement that will be effective June 30, 2010. Thank you Judy for your hard work and dedication to the Beckman Institute and the University of Illinois.


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, our website www.beckman.illinois.edu will continue 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.

Art Kramer
June 22, 2010
Director
director@beckman.illinois.edu