August 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 88: July-August 2017


Looking for a quiet space to work, but nothing seems welcoming? Have you wondered why there are so many plants by the north windows, but very few people? Are you excited to make a positive difference to the Beckman Institute?

Leave a lasting mark on the Beckman Institute by designing a space in the Institute!

We have identified a number of areas in the building (the hallways on the north side of building floors 1-3, and the former phone closet outside Room 1003) as “purgatory” spaces. These are spaces that are underutilized, yet have great potential.

Beckman Designers-in-Residence Deana McDonagh and Amanda Henderson are available to work with faculty, staff, and students on proposals. McDonagh is a professor of industrial design and designer-in-residence at the Research Park. Henderson is a graduate student in the School of Architecture.

Beginning Friday, September 15, McDonagh and Henderson will be on hand to help provide guidance and expertise. All you need is an idea.

Design proposals will be displayed throughout the month of December, and all Beckman faculty, staff, and students will be encouraged to vote. The top three designs will go on to the final judging by Jeff Moore, the director of the institute, in consultation with the designers in residence.

A permanent plaque will be located in the space, identifying the winner/winning group.

Contact Deana McDonagh at to get the process started.

Honors, Awards, and Gifts!

$3 Million Awarded for Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Training
The National Science Foundation recently granted the University of Illinois $3 million for an interdisciplinary graduate student training program to help form new insight on the brain—and to expand participation in the field of brain science itself. Sixty graduate students from across campus will participate in the five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship, led by Martha Gillette, a member of the Beckman's Intelligent Systems research theme. HyunJoon Kong, a member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, is the lead co-principal investigator. Co-directors on the project include Beckman faculty members Rashid Bashir, Neal Cohen, and Jonathan Sweedler. More at

Lyding Lab Receives STM Control System
Zyvex Labs, a Texas-based company that designs and constructs atomically precise manufacturing technology in order to build products with microscopic accuracy, has donated a 20-bit ZyVector scanning tunneling microscope (STM) control system to the lab of Joseph Lyding of the Nanoelecronics and Nanomaterials Group. The ZyVector, optimized for operation on passivated surfaces such as Si(100)-H, helps find optimal voltage and current conditions to tune the effective lithography linewidth from a single atom to greater than 10 nanometers. More at

Pan Elected Fellow of American College of Cardiology
Dipanjan Pan, a member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, was elected a 2018 Fellow of the American College of Cardiology for his contributions to translational nanomedicine in cardiovascular science.

Zhang Receives ANS Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award
Yang Zhang, a member of Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, has won the 2017 Landis Young Member Engineering Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society.

Dell, Gruebele, and Murphy Named New CAS Faculty Members

Three Beckman Institute researchers are among those recently appointed to the Center for Advanced Study’s permanent faculty: Gary Dell, a member of the Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative; and Martin Gruebele and Catherine Murphy, members of Beckman’s Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group. The appointment is one of the highest forms of academic recognition the Illinois campus makes for outstanding scholarship.

Beckman Researchers Among Those Receiving Blue Waters Supercomputer Awards
Eight Beckman researchers were among the Illinois researchers awarded 3,697,000 node hours of time on the Blue Waters supercomputer by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) from spring 2017 proposals: Aleksei Aksimentiev, a member of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials; Aaron Anderson and Narayana R. Aluru, members of the Computational Multiscale Nanosystems Group; Juan Perilla and Jodi Hadden, members of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group; Alex Cerjanic and Brad Sutton, members of Bioimaging Science and Technology Group; and Nancy Makri, a member of Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group.

Hernandez-Burgos Receives Author Award from Electrochemical Society
Kenneth Hernandez-Burgos, a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow, and Mark Burgess, a doctoral student at Illinois, have been named recipients of the Norman Hackerman Young Author Award for best paper published by young authors in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. Both Hernandez-Burgos and Burgess work with Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, a member of the Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group. They will be recognized for their publication, "Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy and Hydrodynamic Voltammetry Investigation of Charge Transfer Mechanisms on Redox Active Polymers" at the October 2017 meeting.

Illinois Team Places Second in ImageNet Challenge
For the second time in three years, a team from the University of Illinois has placed high in the global ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC 2017). Honghui Shi, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering who works with Beckman’s Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group, led a team that placed second in all four categories of object detection and tracking from video. Shi works in the lab of Thomas Huang, a Beckman research professor and a founding figure in computer vision and image processing.

iVenture Announces 2017-18 Class
Twelve student ventures have been named iVenture Acclerator startups, including Autonomic Energy Solutions, created by Anthony Griffin, a graduate research assistant in Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group. More on the company at

Sam Among 14 Illinois Students, Alumni Offered Fulbright Grants
Kimberly Sam was awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct medical research in Ecuador. She received the Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research in 2016 to support research in neuroscience at the Beckman Institute, and she spent two years studying models of traumatic brain injury in neuronal network models while serving as a research assistant for Parijat Sengupta, a member of the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

In Case You Missed It

New Cancer Center at Illinois Unites Programs, Facilities, and Researchers
The Cancer Center at Illinois plans to make an impact in the fight against the second leading cause of death in Illinois and the United States. The center will bring together more than 90 faculty members from across campus, and numerous graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, to pursue cancer-related research. Rohit Bhargava, from the Bioimaging Science and Technology Group, is the founding director. More at

Recent Grants Awarded

  • Impact of Select Nutrients on Eye and Brain Health (PI: Erdman, CNLM)
  • Cancer Research Advocacy group (Madak-Erdogan, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute)

New Hires

Welcome to the newest members of the Beckman Institute.

  • Stacy Olson, Administrative Assistant (Director’s Office) 
  • Hillary Schwarb, Visiting Research Scientist (BIC)
  • Rachel Bollaert, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Zi'An Zhao, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Zhiruo Zhou, 0% Student Intern, (Z. Liang)
  • Aurora Turgeon, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)
  • Xinhang Song, J-1 Student Intern (J. Allen)
  • Kuida Liu, 0% Student Intern (L. Gao)
  • Kyle Wilcoxon, Research Facility Attendant (Facilities)
  • Aurora Turgeon, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)
  • Michelle Rodrigues, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Courtney Sobieski, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Zhichao Liu, 0% Student Intern (T. Huang)
  • Charlotte Coombs, 0% Visiting Scholar (M. Boppart)
  • Christine Walls, Office Manager (Research Support Staff)
  • Caterina Lamuta, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Jiayang Wang, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)

The Importance of F&A Reimbursement

Facilities and Administrative costs (also called F&A, or “Indirect Costs”) are expenses related to the cost of conducting research—things like utilities, IT support, laboratory space, safety programs, library infrastructure, and compliance staff to meet federal, state, and university requirements, among other costs. This issue has been in the news recently as congress considers the president’s budget proposal. Fair reimbursement of these expenses is critical to the continued vibrancy of our Research Enterprise. Here is a fact sheet that explains F&A at Illinois. Also see attached sheet about the cost of research. Contact the OVCR if you have questions,

Dawson, Former BRML Associate Director, Has Died

Joan Dawson, Ph.D., died Thursday, July 27, 2017 in Traverse City, Michigan.

Joan and her husband, Paul Lauterbur, were recruited to the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign in 1985 to form and build a magnetic resonance imaging research facility on campus, which was named the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (BMRL). Joan was an associate professor in the Department of Medical Molecular and Integrative Physiology and served as associate director of the BMRL. She also held affiliate faculty appointments in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Information Sciences, Biophysics and Computational Biology, the Bioengineering Program, the Biotechnology Center, and the Neuroscience Program. In addition, she held a faculty appointment in the Department of Radiology on the UIC campus.

Dawson played a pivotal role in the development of in vivo NMR spectroscopy as an accepted tool for physiological research and for investigations of human disease. This work included some of the original and fundamental work on muscle and the development of methods for use in the clinical environment, setting high standards for the entire field.  At Illinois, Professor Dawson’s research examined the relationship between metabolism and function in living systems using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and included a number of collaborative studies with her husband, Nobel Laureate, Paul Lauterbur.  She was a respected member of the magnetic resonance community.

Cards or notes of sympathy and condolences can be sent to Elise Lauterbur at 33 Crooked Hill Rd, Huntington, NY 11743.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services is a secure cloud services platform that offers computing power, database storage, content delivery, and other functionality to help organizations and researchers move faster and lower IT costs. Learn more about Amazon Web Services at Illinois through this instructional video created by Technology Services.

OLLI Citizen Scientist Program

Researchers who are interested in hosting a Citizen Scientist from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the coming semester, e-mail IGB Outreach Fellow Danny Ryerson at with the following information by August 18, 2017:

  • A short summary of your research project, described for a general audience
  • Your plan for the OLLI volunteer 
  • The number of hours that you would expect the OLLI volunteer to spend on the project (typically 3-5 hours per week)
  • The name and e-mail address of a person in your lab who the OLLI volunteer will be working with

Book Exchange

Feel free to donate or take books at the Book Exchange in the Beckman Atrium.

Once the exchange is over, the remaining books will be donated.

Students Interested in Leadership Opportunities

If you’d like to be involved in making students’ voices heard at the Beckman Institute or are interested in facilitating outreach activities, please contact Patty Jones, Now is the time to organize a Beckman Registered Student Organization:


Graduate Student Seminar
Noon, Wed, Sept 6, Room 1005</p

Director’s Seminar
Noon, Thurs, Sept 7, Room 1005
Joseph Lyding
For more events and detailed information, visit the Beckman calendar:

PYGHACK at Pygmalion
PYGHACK, a 24-hour hackathon takes place September 23-24, 2017, at EnterpriseWorks in Research Park. PYGHACK is absolutely FREE and open to the public — professionals, students, and everyone in between — register today at Website: Check out the website for all information about the hack, prizes, FAQs, partners and other opportunities! If you have any questions at all, please email us at

Note from the Director

Once again, we’re gearing up for the start of the academic year, and I am grateful to be beginning my tenure as the Beckman Institute director!

I’d like to thank all of you for your support, ideas, and contributions during the past year. I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead as we look at reimagining and reinvigorating the Institute. I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me at

Jeff Moore
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology