March 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 78: March 2016

Web Survey

A few changes are in the works for the Beckman Institute website and we’d like your input. Please take a few moments to answer this survey:

Please respond by APRIL 15, 2016.

Robb Receives Henkel Award

Maxwell Robb, a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, is the recipient of the 2016 Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry. The award will be made at a special symposium at the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia August 21-25, 2016.

Beckman Researchers Receive Turner Innovation Award

Illinois researchers, including Beckman affiliates Tim Bretl and Derek Hoiem, have developed predictive visual data analytics tools to automate and streamline today’s time-consuming practices for construction progress monitoring. The team earned the Turner Innovation Award in Turner’s Fourth Annual Award for Innovation program.

Startups Receive Awards

Diagnostic Photonics, co-founded by Scott Carney and Stephen Boppart, faculty members in Bioimaging Science and Technology, won first place in iBIO Propel Center's business plan competition last fall in Chicago. Diagnostic Photonics pioneers an imaging technique that is designed to make finding breast cancer much more effective. Photonicare, co-founded by Boppart, received second place in the same competition. It has developed a tool called Clearview to better diagnose ear infections in children.

Shisler Receives NIH Grant

Joanna Shisler, research staff in the Bioacoustics Research Lab and associate professor of microbiology at the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, has been named the recipient of a $238,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. Shisler, together with Dr. Brian Ward from the University of Rochester, will use the grant to study the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) in detail to identify ways to regulate its underlying proteins to formulate cures for infections and diseases such as cancer.

Inaugural Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow Named

Lydia Kisley has been awarded the inaugural Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow, which provides three years of funding for a postdoctoral student affiliated with the Beckman Institute. The fellowship is named in honor of Dr. Arnold O. and Mrs. Mabel Beckman, who provided the gift that created the Beckman Institute, and Theodore “Ted” Brown, founding director of the Beckman Institute. Kisley received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Rice University in 2015. She has been working as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois with Deborah Leckband and Martin Gruebele. Her research interests lie in using novel spectroscopic techniques to understand and inspire engineering of materials.

Beckman 2016 Postdoctoral Fellows Named

The 2016 Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows have diverse research interests that span the Beckman research themes: from bioengineering, chemistry, and materials science to language processing and neuroscience. The 2016 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows are James Checco, Junlong Geng, Kenneth Hernandez-Burgos, Si On Yoon, and Yue Zhuo. More:

New Cloud Computing at BIC

Researchers at Beckman's Biomedical Imaging Center (BIC) have created the Biomedical Imaging Center Neuroimaging Computing Cloud (BICNICC), a shared platform enabling a user to launch a large number of virtual computers configured with the appropriate software specifically for that user. Read more:

Welcome to the Following New Employees

  • Nicolas Spegazzini, Postdoctoral Research Associate (R. Bhargava)
  • Martin Schnell, 0% Visiting Scholar (S. Carney)
  • Xiangming Li, 0% Visiting Scholar (P. Braun)
  • Najah Imane Bentabet, 0% Visiting Scholar (K. Schulten)
  • Heeyoung Choo, Postdoctoral Research Associate (D. Beck)
  • Francisco Javier Roman, Postdoctoral Research Associate (A. Barbey)
  • Max Scheurer, 0% Visiting Scholar (K. Schulten)
  • Ayanjeet Ghosh, Postdoctoral Research Associate (R. Bhargava)
  • Sanghamitra Deb, Postdoctoral Research Associate (R. Bhargava)
  • Sandra Ivy, Accountant I (Business office)
  • Jennifer Hughes, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)
  • Ana Daugherty, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Rubi Hammer, Postdoctoral Research Associate (A. Barbey)
  • Dan Lanier, 0% Research Affiliate (N. Sobh)
  • Andrew Dinsmoor, Visiting Research Specialist (M.Fabiani & D. Beck)
  • Ladan Farsi, 0% Visiting Scholar (S.White)

Grants Awarded

Congratulations to the faculty and staff involved in the successful award of the following grants:

  • 3D prostate histochemometry to predict disease recurrence (PI; Bhargava, NIH)
  • High-resolution anatomical imaging, MR elastography and diffusion tensor imaging of the mini-pig PI: C. Johnson, ONR)
  • Structure Based Analysis and Recognition in Images and Videos (PI: Ahuja, ONR)

Resources Available for Posters, Presentations, and Other Communication Needs

Visit to find out how to edit your Beckman directory, find high-res versions of the Beckman wordmark, and Powerpoint and poster templates.


Graduate Student Seminar
Noon, Wed, April 6, Room 1005

  • Doc Nguyen - Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials
  • Saumya Tiwari - Bioimaging Science and Technology
  • Hector Lopez-Hernandez - Autonomous Materials Systems

Director’s Seminar
Noon, Thursday, April 7, 1005 Beckman Institute
Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows
“Using Brain Stimulation and Exercise to Change Cognition” by Nate Ward and “Data-Guided Computer Simulations Reveal the Bacterial Photosynthetic Engine in Full Chemical Detail” by Abhishek Singharoy, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows
State of the Beckman Institute
3 pm Thursday, April 7, Beckman Auditorium
Beckman Institute Director Art Kramer will provide comments regarding Beckman Institute and introduce the interim director.
Campus and Community Day of Service
Saturday, April 9
If you are interested in participating as part of a Beckman group, please contact Maeve Reilly at Individuals can register at
SmithGroup Lecture
Noon Friday, April 15, Beckman Auditorium
“Mechanisms of Brain Network and Brain State Training,” Michael Posner, professor emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon
Thursdays at 12:20
April 21
COLAB (interdisciplinary performance group: dance, music, engineering)
Good-bye Party for Art Kramer, Director of the Beckman Institute
3-5 pm on Thursday, April 21


Note from the Director

I hope many of you got the opportunity to recharge during Spring Break. I hope you can all attend the State of the Beckman Institute at 3 pm Thursday, April 7 in the Auditorium.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, our web site 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
Director, Beckman Institute