August 2016 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 80: August 2016

Honors and Awards

White Honored as Eminent Faculty Member

Scott R. White, professor of aerospace engineering and member of Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, is the 2016 winner of the College of Engineering’s Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award.

Bretl Receives Teaching Award

Tim Bretl, associate professor of aerospace engineering and member of Beckman’s Artificial Intelligence Group, has gained two honors for his teaching: the College of Engineering’s Rose Award for Teaching Excellence and the Engineering Council's William L. Everitt Award.

Beckman Graduate Research Assistants Awarded Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Zhangyang Wang, from the Image Formation and Processing Group, and Peiyun Zhou, from the Cognitive Science Group, were both awarded Dissertation Completion Fellowships by the Graduate College. Both Wang and Zhou work as graduate research assistants at Beckman. Wang is a doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering, and Zhou is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology.

Boppart Receives 2016 EMBS Award

Stephen Boppart, professor of bioengineering and full-time faculty member in Beckman's Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, will receive the 2016 Technical Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

Pan Selected for Scientific Reports Board

Dipanjan Pan, assistant professor of bioengineering and full-time faculty member in the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, has been invited to join the editorial board of the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing) and will become the editor for the chemical biology subject area.

Grants Awarded

  • Collection and Reader Interpretation of OCT Images of the Ear (PI: Boppart, Photonicare)
  • Multi-Layer Solid State Membranes with Nanochannels for Bio-Molecule Manipulation and Sensing (PI: Leburton, Oxford Nanopore)
  • Impact of Infant Formula on Brain and Eye Development (PI: Erdman, Abbott/CNLM)
  • Audiovisual Speech Recognition in a Deep Learning Framework (PI: Hasegawa-Johnson, Intel)
  • Computational Adaptive Optics for Imaging the Mouse Retina (PI: Boppart, Wasatch Photonics)
  • Functional Role of adult neurogenesis in cognitive recovery from fetal alcohol (PI: Hamilton, NIH)

New Hires

Welcome to new employees.

  • Mehmet Cetin Kocak, 0% Visiting Scholar (N. Sobh)
  • Yoon Sik Kim, Postdoctoral Research Associate (M. Gillette)
  • Xinchao Wang, 0% Visiting Scholar (T. Huang)
  • Junlong Geng, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Eric Drollette, Postdoctoral Research Associate (C. Hillman)
  • Yang Pu, Imaging Research Scientist (S. Boppart)
  • Xi Peng, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Nagendra Athreya, 0% Visiting Scholar (J. Pierre Leburton)
  • Jang Hyuk Lee, Postdoctoral Research Associate (S. Boppart)
  • Ilia Rasskazov, Postdoctoral Research Associate (S. Carney)
  • Yue Zhuo, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Ariel Zhang, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Hua Liu, 0% Visiting Scholar (S. Robinson)
  • Si On Yoon, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow

Communications Help

A number of tools to help you communicate about your research, including Beckman Powerpoint templates, the Beckman wordmark and information on how to update your directory profile, can be found on the Beckman website.

Upcoming Events

Director’s Seminar
Alejandro Lleras, associate professor of psychology and member of Beckman’s Human Perception and Performance Group, presents “Modeling Parallel Information Processing in Goal-Directed Vision”
Noon, Thursday, September 15, Room 1005 Beckman Institute

Inaugural Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science
Dr. Frances Arnold, Caltech
“New Enzymes by Evolution: Expanding the Scope of Biocatalysis”
Noon, Monday, September 19, Beckman Institute Auditorium

Pygmalion TechFest
5-9:30 pm Thursday, September 22
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Displays from campus and business partners include Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, the Illinois Simulator Lab’s flight simulator, drones from the Human Perception and Performance Group, and more.

Fenton-Rhodes Lecture on Proactive Wellness
Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University
“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress and Health”
6:30 pm Thursday, September 22
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, as part of the Pygmalion Festival

Huang Symposium
In honor of longtime Beckman faculty member Thomas S. Huang
5 pm Friday, September 30, through Saturday, October 1, 2016
For program details and to register, visit

Undergraduate Engagement Events
Associate Director for Research Patty Jones will continue a series of tours and receptions for undergraduate students in coordination with the Living Learning Communities of University Housing. Two of the receptions have been scheduled on Friday September 30 and Friday October 28, 4-5pm.

Please contact Patty Jones if you would like an invitation to either reception to mix with undergraduate students and talk about your research.

Note from the Director:

Welcome back to another academic year!

As we begin the process of finding our next permanent director, I want to encourage everyone to voice his or her opinions about what it will take to keep the Institute a world leader in interdisciplinary science and a research gem on our campus.

What kind of Institute do you want? Should the next permanent director bring disruptive change or evolve the existing Beckman framework with slow and steady maneuvering? 

Everyone has a voice in this conversation. I’d like to hear yours. You’ll find me from 10-10:30 am on Tuesdays during September in the Beckman Café. I welcome you to join me to share your vision for the future of the Beckman Institute. If you can’t meet with me there, feel free to send me an email,


Jeff Moore
Interim Director
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology