July 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 72: Summer 2015

Kramer Serving on National Panel on Aging and Technology
Arthur Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute and professor of psychology and neuroscience, has been invited to serve on a panel of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that deals with “Aging and Technology.” The goal of the committee is to provide recommendations to the president about how technology might be best used to aid older adults.

Moore Receives Leete Award
Jeffrey S. Moore, part-time faculty member in the Autonomous Materials Systems Group and professor of chemistry, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Leete Award by the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry. The Leete Award recognizes outstanding contributions to teaching and research in organic chemistry.

Beckman Researchers Win Cozad Competition
Aadeel Akhtar, a graduate research assistant in Tim Bretl's lab in the Artificial Intelligence Group, and Patrick Slade, junior in mechanical science and engineering, were awarded $15,000 for winning the university-funded track of the Cozad New Venture Competition. They co-founded PSYONIC, a start-up company aiming to create highly advanced prosthetic hands at 10 times less cost to improve the lives of people with amputations worldwide.

Johnson Named 2015 ISMRM Junior Fellow
Curtis Johnson, the assistant director for magnetic resonance operations in the Biomedical Imaging Center, has been named a 2015 ISMRM Junior Fellow. This award, given by the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), recognizes “outstanding researchers at an early stage in their careers, with an established and long-term commitment to ISMRM.” With this fellowship, Johnson will have the opportunity to work with a mentor in ISMRM for a year to further his research in elastography, a magnetic resonance imaging technique used to determine the elasticity of soft tissues in the body. He will receive his award at the 23rd Annual ISMRM meeting on June 1 in Toronto, Canada.

Bhargava Chosen as Fellow of the AIMBE
Rohit Bhargava, full-time faculty member in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, has been chosen a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) “for pioneering the development of chemical imaging technology and the use of optical spectroscopic methods for digital pathology.”

Aksimentiev Receives NCSA Fellowship
Aleksei Aksimentiev, part-time faculty member in Beckman's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group and associate professor of physics, has been selected to receive a one-year NCSA Fellowship for 2015-2016. His collaborative project is entitled “Patchwork Molecular Dynamics: A New Paradigm for Hardware-Accelerated Large-Scale All-Atom Simulations of Biological Systems.”

New Hires at the Institute
Welcome to the following new employees:

  • Agata Ploska, 0% Visiting Scholar (W. Dobrucki)
  • Marcia Mathis, Finance Specialist (Business office).
  • Mostafa Yourdkhani, Postdoctoral Research Associate (S. White and N. Sottos)
  • Ramisha Knight, Postdoctoral Research Associate (D. Beck)
  • Vincent Tutich, Assistant Director of Facilities (Facilities)
  • Erika Hussey, Postdoctoral Research Associate (A. Kramer and L. Stine-Morrow)
  • Agata Ploska, 0% Visiting Scholar (W. Dobrucki)
  • Kristin Hutchins, Postdoctoral Research Associate (J.  Moore)
  • Kathleen Maxwell, Account Technician II (Business Affairs)
  • Jari Willing, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)
  • Sumit Mittal, a 0% Visiting Scholar (E. Tajkhorshid)
  • Ke Qin, Student Intern (J.  Moore)

Job Promotion
Kelli Wendt has been promoted to Finance Coordinator in the Business Affairs Office. Kelli first joined Beckman as a Grants and Contracts Specialist in November 2012 where she has focused her efforts on pre- and post-award activities for the NIH grant portfolio with the Institute.  As Finance Coordinator, Kelli will expand her current knowledge and experience to include the non-grant financial operations and manage the Finance Team.

Grants Awarded

  • Multi-Layer Solid State Membranes with Nanochannels for Bio-Molecule Manipulation and Sensing (PI: Leburton; Oxford Nanopore Technology)
  • Skin residency study of topically applied GSK2894512 cream in healthy volunteers (PI: Boppart; Carle/GSK)
  • Research Training Program in Environmental Toxicology (PI: Schantz; NIH)

Truman Fellows Recruitment
Sandia National Labs is recruiting their next class of Truman (Postdoctoral) Fellows.
Applications are due November 1, 2015.
For more information, see http://www.sandia.gov/careers/students_postdocs/fellowships/truman_fellowship.html

Sign up for Illini Alerts
The Illini-Alert service sends email and text messages, posts to Facebook (external link) and Twitter (external link), and triggers the Emergency Web Alert System (external link) for University websites in the event of a campus emergency. Sign up here: https://emergency.cites.illinois.edu/

Grants Team Receives Certification
The following Beckman Grants team members completed the SPaRC Ed Research Administration Certification Series and achieved the designation of UIUC Certified Research Administrators.
They were honored at ceremony held on April 22, 2015.

  • Lori Butler
  • Jackie Harden
  • Kelli Wendt
  • John Pirtle

Happy summer! I hope everyone has been able to make some time for some summer activities, whether it be vacation, cookouts, or just taking some time to enjoy the great outdoors (hopefully, on a humidity-free day!)

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 feature stories on our research programs.

Best wishes,
Art Kramer
Beckman Institute Director