March 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 70: March 2015

Bhargava on WILL-TV
On March 30 through April 1, WILL-TV is airing “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” a three-part series produced by Ken Burns and based on the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” by Siddhartha Mukerjee. On April 2, at 8:30 pm, Rohit Bhargava, professor of bioengineering and full-time faculty member in Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, will be featured in “Living with Cancer in Central Illinois: Seeking a Cure.”  At 9 pm, Bhargava will also take part in a discussion with host Amanda Vinicky and cancer survivors in “Diagnoses and Decisions.” More at

Aaron Johnson Receives AHSA Award
Aaron Johnson, affiliate faculty member in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group and assistant professor of speech and hearing science, has received a 2014 New Investigator Research Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. His project is entitled "Laryngeal neuromuscular response to vocal exercise."

Cheng Chosen as AIMBE Fellow
The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Jianjun Cheng, part-time faculty member in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group and associate professor of materials science and engineering, to its College of Fellows, "for outstanding contribution to the development of polymeric biomaterials and translational nanomedicine." The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the country.

Suslick Receives Innovation Transfer Award
Kenneth Suslick, of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group and chemistry professor at Illinois, received the Innovation Transfer Award at the 2015 Innovation Celebration. As a collaboration among the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and the community, the Innovation Celebration recognizes local innovation and entrepreneurial excellence. The Innovation Transfer Award is awarded to a group or individual from the University of Illinois "whose research has resulted in either a discovery or a work with the potential for significant societal impact." Suslick was recognized for his work on an "optoelectronic nose—a way of detecting different chemicals, different odors, based on the response of an array of optical sensors."

Cunningham Invested as Willett Professor
Brian T. Cunningham, of Beckman's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group and professor of electrical and computer engineering, was invested as a Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering in a ceremony Feb. 26 on the Illinois campus. The professorship recognizes Cunningham's intellectual leadership and outstanding research.

Schulten Delivers National Lecture for Biophysical Society
Recently Klaus Schulten, of Beckman's Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group and professor of physics at the University of Illinois, delivered the National Lecture at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society in Baltimore, the highest award given each year by the Biophysical Society. The topic of Schulten's talk was “Discoveries in Biophysics Through the Computational Microscope,” in which he stressed that computation is now a tool for discovery, encompassing systems ranging from individual proteins, to larger complexes like the ribosome and the HIV virus capsid, all the way to a massive molecular machine––the photosynthetic chromatophore.

2015 Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows Announced
The 2015 Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows have diverse research interests that span the Beckman research themes: from behavioral and cognitive neuroscience to imaging techniques and autonomous materials. The 2015 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows are Ana Daugherty, Daniel Kleinman, Fan Lam, Maxwell Robb, Limei Tian, and Yingjie Zhang. More at

Pan Named to Board of Molecular Pharmaceutics Journal
Dipanjan Pan, from the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, was recently asked to join the editorial advisory board of Molecular Pharmaceutics. The journal has chronicled the expansion of the pharmaceutical chemistry industry for the past 11 years, and it covers the molecular pharmaceutics and drug delivery fields.

Campus Day of Service
Beckman staff members have signed up to participate in the University of Illinois Day of Service from 10 am to 11:30 am on Saturday, April 11. If you are interested in participating as a member of the Beckman team (family members are also welcome), please email Maeve Reilly, Individuals are encouraged to sign up at

Welcome to the Beckman Institute

New hires for February-March:

  • Qiegen Liu, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Neil Thackeray, Senior Systems Engineer (ITS)
  • Aneesh Alex, 0% Visiting Scholar (S. Boppart)
  • Eun Jung Min, a 0% Visiting Scholar (G. Popescu)

New Grants Awarded

  • Regeneration of Structural Materials in Adaptive Response to External Stimuli (PI: White, AFOSR)

Director’s Seminar
“Neurotechnology Comes to Beckman,” Susan Schantz, professor of comparative biosciences and full-time faculty member in Neurotech Group
Noon Thursday, April 2, 1005 Beckman

NIH Directors Seminar Series
“BRAIN: Where Neuroscience, Engineering, Informatics, and Psychology Meet,” Tom Insel, M.D., Director, NIMH
4 pm Tuesday, April 7, Beckman Auditorium
Reception at 5 pm

Graduate Student Seminar
Tae Woo Kim (Bioimaging/Neurotech), Pooya Khorrami (Image Formation & Processing), Tim Mahrt (Cognitive Science)
Noon, Wednesday, April 8, 1005 Beckman

UIUC- MGH Molecular Imaging Seminar Series
The UIUC-Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Molecular Imaging Seminar Series highlights the collaboration between MGH Department of Radiology and the Center for Advanced Medical Imaging Sciences (CAMIS) and the University of Illinois through a series of seminars provided by experts in their disciplines. This spring a number of faculty members from MGH will be visiting the Beckman Institute to provide seminars. All the talks will be held on Fridays at noon, see dates and location below. Pizza will be served.

  • Jonghye Woo, Ph.D., Instructor, MGH – Multimodal MRI Analysis of Speech, NOON Friday, April 10, Room 2269 Beckman Institute
  • Lee Josephson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, MGH– Magnetic Nanoparticles and MR: From Imaging to Assays and Back Again, NOON Friday, April 24, Room 2269 Beckman Institute
  • Neil Vasdez, Ph.D., Director of Radiochemistry MGH, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School – Cutting-edge Radiochemical Methods and Technologies for Human PET Imaging, NOON Friday, May 1, Room 1005 Beckman Institute
  • Quanzheng Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, MGH – Task Based Maximization of Information in Medical Imaging, NOON Friday, May 8, Room 1005 Beckman Institute

Brain Awareness Day
Saturday, April 18, Orpheum Children’s Museum, Champaign
Illinois’ Neuroscience Community engages in educating the community about brain function.

Although the research schedule isn’t tied to the academic calendar, I hope you all had a chance to catch your breath and relax for a few days over Spring Break. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, our website 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.

Art Kramer
March 30, 2015