December 2017 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 91: December 2017

Beckman Institute Town Hall

1:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 14
Beckman Institute Auditorium

Please plan on attending for a discussion of

Strategic Planning

  • Research Areas
  • Research Programs


  • Furniture, Carpeting, Feasibility Studies, and more

Being excellent in what we do is essential, but Beckman will be even better by bringing focus and relevancy to its research mission. Please take a moment to review two recent posts on the Beckman Institute Discussion Board.

Introducing the BIXC

Formerly called the Main Research Theme Co-chairs Committee, the Beckman Institute Executive Committee (BIXC) is comprised of part- or full-time faculty members of the Beckman Institute who are invited to join for renewable five-year terms. The BIXC provides a faculty voice in the governance of the Institute and represents a range of the Beckman research portfolio. The committee formally meets approximately twice monthly with the Director, Associate Directors, and the Director of Communications. Additional meetings may be scheduled to address special matters of interest, including upcoming external reviews. 

The current members of BIXC are:

  • Narayana Aluru
  • Rohit Bhargava
  • Stephen Boppart
  • Kara Federmeier
  • Zhi-Pei Liang
  • Susan Schantz
  • Elizabeth Stine-Morrow
  • Brad Sutton
  • Jonathan Sweedler
  • Scott White

Honors and Awards

Garg Awarded PPG-Materials Research Lab Graduate Research Assistantship
Mayank Garg, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering who works with the Autonomous Materials Systems Group at Beckman in the area of environmentally triggered transient polymers, was awarded a PPG-Materials Research Lab graduate research assistantship to pursue cutting-edge research broadly related to the areas of interest to PPG, a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and specialty materials.

Nie and Sweedler Named to Power List 100 of International Analytical Scientists
Two University of Illinois faculty members with ties to the Beckman Institute were named to the 2017 Power List, the “Magnificent Tens” published by The Analytical Scientist magazine. Shuming Nie, a professor of bioengineering and member of Beckman's Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, was selected as one of the 10 Giants of Nano, including microfluidic and nanoscale science; and Jonathan Sweedler, a professor of chemistry and co-chair of the Intelligent Systems research theme, was selected as one of the 10 leaders influencing the progress of measurement science.

Aluru Named APS Fellow
Narayana Aluru, professor of mechanical science and engineering and member of the Computational Multiscale Nanosystems Group, has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), an honor bestowed to no more than one half of one percent of the society’s membership. He was selected by APS’ Division on Computational Physics (DCOMP).

Welcome to the Following New Employees

  • Yang Chen, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Karan Kapoor, Postdoctoral Research Associate (E. Tajkhorshid)
  • Casey Myers, Visiting Research Data Manager (S. Schantz)
  • T’Chana Harden, Grants and Contracts Coordinator (Business Affairs)
  • Lanata Kendrick, Grants and Contracts Specialist (Business Affairs)
  • Genoa Warner, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)

Recently Awarded Grants

  • Evaluation of EPA DHA Supplementation on the Myopathic Effects of Cholesterol Lowering Agents (PI: M. Boppart; Nordic Naturals)
  • Centers for Chemical Innovation (PI: Moore; UMASS, NSF)

Fall 2017 Synergy Now Available

The Fall 2017 Synergy features the “Discoveries in Bioimaging” Research Experience for Undergraduates; the Vis Lab’s first ballistics experiment, which was done for the local METRO Sniper Unit; an update on the GSK Center for Optical Molecular Imaging; a feature on professor Zahra Mohaghegh, who is helping position Illinois as a global leader in socio-technical risk analysis; and an award-winning image by a Beckman postdoc research associate. See

Computing Support for Research

If you need technical support for your next research project, please consider consulting with the Information Technology Services (ITS) early in the proposal process. ITS can help you identify solutions for your technical needs and point you to tools to help you accomplish your project. Contact us at

For your high performance computing needs, the Beckman Institute is now an investor in the Illinois Campus Cluster Program.  This service is available to all faculty, staff, and students of the Beckman Institute for research projects (not classroom instruction), subject to the approval of the administrative point of contact, who is Associate Director for Research Patty Jones. Our primary queue is currently called “INSIGHT” and its name will change soon to some variant of “BECKMAN”. To become a user, please use the ICCP Access Request form here ( ) and select “INSIGHT” as your primary queue.  All INSIGHT users will migrate to a renamed primary queue later when NCSA sets that up. For more information, please contact Patty Jones (

Beckman and Illinois Branding Resources

Campus has released a new logo, a new Beckman wordmark, and guidelines for their use. Please visit for more information, or contact for more information.


Graduate Student Seminar
Noon Wed, Dec. 6, 2017
1005 Beckman

  • “Pixelated Spatial Gene Expression Analysis from Tissue, ”Anurup Ganguli, a member of Beckman’s 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering
  • “Biosynthesis of D-amino Acid-containing Peptides in the Nervous System," Hua-Chia Tai, a member of Beckman’s Cellular and Molecular Foundations of Intelligent Behavior Group, Department of Chemistry, and Molecular and Integrative Physiology
  • “cFLIP Inhibits Interferon Expression Controlled by the Regulatory Factor, IRF7,” Lauren T. Gates-Tanzer, Bioacoustics Research Laboratory, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the College of Medicine.

Director’s Seminar
Noon Thurs, Dec. 7, 2017
1005 Beckman

  • "Soft, Skin-mounted Electronics for Health Care," Limei Tian, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • "Materials by Design: Two-Dimensional Electronic Metamaterials," Yingjie Zhang, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow

Yoga at Beckman
Noon Fri, Dec. 8 and 15, 2017

5269 Beckman Institute (Tower Room)

Beckman Tech Talks on Tuesday
Noon Tues, Dec. 12, 2017
5602 Beckman
Brad Sutton, professor of bioengineering and technical director of the Biomedical Imaging Center, describes clinical and preclinical imaging equipment available, and Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, assistant professor of bioengineering, provides an overview of in vivo optical imaging methods. Lunch will be served.

Flu Vaccination Clinic
11 am – 1pm, Wed, Dec. 13, 2017
1003 Beckman
Faculty and staff need to bring their Illinois ID and proof of insurance. Students need to bring their IDs. 

Beckman Institute Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Seminar Series
Noon, Wed, Dec. 13, 2017
1005 Beckman
Travis Ross, manager of the Visualization Lab, will present on the ethics and best practices of “Image Enhancement.” Lunch will be served. 

Thursday at 12:20 Concert
12:20 pm Thurs, Dec. 14, 2017
Beckman Atrium
Concert Jazz Band Quartet Featuring Chip McNeill 

Beckman Institute Town Hall
1:30 pm Thurs, Dec. 14, 2017
Beckman Institute Auditorium 

Beckman Institute Holiday Party
2:30pm Thurs, Dec. 14, 2017
Beckman Institute Atrium

NIH Clinical Trials Workshop organized by the Beckman Institute, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, and Office of Proposal Development. For more information, please contact Patty Jones (
Friday January 12, 2018, 2-4pm, 5602 Beckman

 Note from the Director 

The Beckman Institute encompasses a historical legacy of interdisciplinary research and excellence, and a track record of success in spinning off prodigies (like NCSA). But not having a specific identity, or not having an identity that aligns with our campus, could be problematic. There is a real danger that, because of Beckman’s broad research portfolio, the institute will continue to drift. The window of opportunity to make a difference is right now as campus creates a new strategic plan. The BI can become an institute where interdisciplinary innovation happens, yet, do so with a more tightly focused portfolio that rings with an identifiable research message. 

There are a couple of posts on the Beckman Discussion Board ( that contemplate Beckman 2.0. What should our focus be and should we align with campus initiatives? 

Beckman is successful because of the people who are passionate about what happens here. We want your input into how to focus our work and continue our success. Please make comments on the blog, share your thoughts at our upcoming town hall meeting, or email me with your comments,

As the calendar year draws to a close, I thank you for all that you do to make Beckman a success and I look forward to your thoughts as we begin a new year and, perhaps, a new spirit at the Beckman Institute. 

Best wishes,
Jeff Moore, Director
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology