August 2015 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.

Issue 73: August 2015

Barbey Receives Award
Aron Barbey, full-time faculty member in Cognitive Neuroscience and assistant professor of speech and hearing science, recently received an “Outstanding Associate Editor Award” from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Gillette Named Director of Neuroscience Program

Martha Gillette, full-time faculty member in Beckman's NeuroTech group and professor of cell and developmental biology, has been named the director of the Neuroscience Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Science at the University of Illinois. Gillette is a world-renowned scholar who has mentored more than 50 graduate and postdoctoral trainees. She served as Head of the Department of Cell and Structural/Developmental Biology from 1998-2008. Gillette replaces Susan Schantz, full-time faculty member in the NeuroTech Group and professor of comparative biosciences, who was serving as interim director.
Imoukhuede Named Young Innovator
Princess Imoukhuede, Beckman affiliate in Bioimaging Science and Technology and assistant professor in bioengineering, has been named a 2105 Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering for her work focusing on the endothelial receptor numbers VEGFRs, NRP1, and PDGFRs. This research demonstrates there is a cross-talk between receptor classes and lays a solid foundation for the development of more accurate, complex computational models to describe the factors driving angiogenesis. She will present a lecture at the Biomedical Engineering Society meeting in Tampa in October.
Roth Named Linowes Faculty Fellow

Dan Roth, part-time faculty member in the Artificial Intelligence Group and professor of computer science at Illinois, has been named a 2015-2016 David E. Linowes Faculty Fellow by the Cline Center for Democracy at Illinois. As a Fellow, Roth plans to expand the long-term partnership between the Cline Center and the Cognitive Computation Group by developing machine-learning based tools for transforming the raw natural language of news text into structured data about civil unrest and political violence.
New Instruments in BIC and Microscopy Suite
Thanks to funding from the Beckman Foundation and the U of I Vice Chancellor for Research, and departmental and individual faculty contributions some new instruments have been added to both Biomedical Imaging Center (BIC)and the Imaging Technology Group Microscopy Suite.
BIC’s Molecular Imaging Laboratory recently installed a PerkinElmer IVIS Spectrum CT live-animal imaging system. This instrument is the only in vivo small animal imaging system on the market that supports both 3D optical and x-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging, which are necessary for spatial co-localization of functional information with the anatomy. The IVIS Spectrum CT system allows for noninvasive longitudinal monitoring of disease progression, cell trafficking, and gene expression patterns in living animals. Functional information can be obtained with bioluminescence or fluorescence imaging whereas the location of optical signals in relation to anatomical landmarks can be determined with X-ray imaging.
The Microscopy Suite has recently installed a state-of-the-art field-emission environmental scanning electron microscope, called a Quanta 450 FEG ESEM. The instrument represents 15 years of improvements over its predecessor and includes capabilities for collecting high-resolution images of wet, uncoated samples; imaging frozen samples and heating samples to 1000 C; and hydrating and dehydrating uncoated samples in situ. Uncoated samples that cannot be exposed to water may be imaged using argon as a cascade amplifier of secondary electrons. A wide variety of samples may thus be subjected to multistep modifications and imaged at each step. The microscope features a 100-mm-diameter five-axis electronically controlled stage and the ability to take color photographs of samples as they are oriented on the stage for accurate navigation. It also incorporates a new x-ray elemental analysis system. Other capabilities include beam deceleration, which permits users to take advantage of high accelerating voltages to greatly improve resolution without damaging soft or fragile samples; three modes of backscattered electron imaging; STEM (scanning transmission electron microscopy) imaging, which allows users to image the surfaces of transmission electron microscopy grids; and the ability to take movies of dynamic processes as they occur. These capabilities are essential in supporting research faculty in bioengineering, materials science, food science, crop sciences, entomology, and other disciplines that require non-destructive imaging of rare and/or delicate samples. Image taken with new microscope: a few strands of cocci (Streptococcus bacteria) on a silver membrane filter. The very tiny dots show us that the silver has oxidized, as has the gold-palladium coating on the cocci.
Grants Awarded

  • Endocrine Disruptors: Maternal Estrogen, Metabolism and Fetal Fatty Acid Supply (PI: Strakovsky, Co-PI: Schantz, NIH)
  • Spectroscopic imaging analyses of polyolefin polymers (PI: Bhargava, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company)
  • System Level Simulation of a Bioenergetic Membrane (PI: Schulten; NIH)
  • Combined Magnetic Resonance Elastography and Diffustion Tensor Imaging of the Brain (PI: C. Johnson, NRL)
  • EAGER: Matching Non Native Transcribers to the Distinctive Features of the language Transcribed (PI: Hasegawa-Johnson, NSF)
  • Microenvironments fit for protein (PI: Leckband, NSF)
  • NRI: Collaborative Research:  ASPIRE: Automation Supporting Prolonged Independent Residence for the Elderly (PI: Hovakimyan, NSF)
  • Distribution of Fibers in nonwoven Fabrics (PI: Robinson, University of Miami)
  • Ultra-high Resolution 3D MR Spectroscopic Imaging (PI: Liang, NIH)
  • The effects of Fortified Nutritional Supplementation on Cognition, Memory, and Achievement (PI: Hillman, CNLM)
  • Novel methods to Assess the Effects of Chemicals on Child Development (PI: Schantz, NIH)

New Hires
Welcome to the following new Beckman staff members:

  • Zhen Bi, 0% Visiting Scholar (P. Braun)
  • Shengwen Guo, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Limei Tian, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Latifeh Navidpour,  Visiting Scholar (E. Tajkhorshid)
  • Dan Kleinman, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow

Thursdays at 12:20 Concert: Chip McNeill and Mikel Combs Jazz Duo
12:20 pm Thursday, September 3, Beckman Atrium

Beckman Institute Graduate Student Seminars
Noon, Wednesday, September 16, Room 1005

  • Matt Rosenberg – 3D Micro- and Nanosystems

  • Ariel James – Cognitive Science

  • Ian Robertson – Autonomous Materials Systems

Director’s Seminar: The Cell by Cell Chemical Characterization of the Brain: From New Tools to New Insights, Jonathan Sweedler, professor of chemistry
Noon, Thursday, September 10, Room 1005
The Role of Nutrition in the Management of Alzheimer’s Disease
Richard Isaacson, MD, and Max Lugavere
6 pm on Wednesday, September 23, Beckman Institute Auditorium, sponsored by Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory
Dr. Isaacson is the director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College and author of the books The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment (Volume 1) and The Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Diet. His research focuses on the impact of multi-modal behavioral and nutritional modifications in Alzheimer’s disease management. Max Lugavere is a 32-year-old independent documentary filmmaker and Dr. Isaacson’s patient. His mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her 50s. Lugavere is using his skills as a filmmaker to document how nutrition plays a critical part on staving off the disease. Together they will discuss the role of nutrition in managing Alzheimer’s disease. The talk is free and open to the public.
Pygmalion Tech Fest
Friday, September 25, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
At the inaugural Tech Fest, Beckman will be hosting a table featuring demos of 3D printing a prosthetic hand and a cooling helmet. Kevin Jackson, from Bioimaging Science and Technology, will be part of a panel on “Pushing Performance in Sports and Wearables,” beginning at 4:45 pm.
Innovation and Start-Up Showcase
October 8, iHotel and Conference Center. Register at
For more on events, visit the Beckman calendar:
Make a Difference for a C-U Youth
Representatives from the C-U One-to-One Mentoring Program will attend a brownbag lunch at the Beckman, Room 5369, on Thursday, September 17, from noon – 1pm. Join us for dessert and a chance to find out about this program—only one hour a week is required. Email to RSVP.
Communications Office Can Help!
You are invited to a brief overview of the services offered by the Beckman Communications Office, which will include information on media relations. Noon-1 pm on Wed, September 23, in Room 5602. Pizza will be served. Please RSVP to by Friday, September 18.
To obtain the Beckman wordmark, Beckman Powerpoint templates and more, please visit:
Register for Illini Alert
Visit to receive information regarding emergencies affecting campus.

I hope your fall 2015 semester is starting off well. For updates on Beckman news and events, visit If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Art Kramer,
Beckman Institute Director