August 2018 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 95: August 2018

Honors and Awards

Elbanna Receives NSF CAREER Award
Ahmed Elbanna, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and Beckman affiliate, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to study the physics behind earthquakes with an eye toward more accurate predictive models.

Bell and Goddard Named University Scholars
Beckman affiliates Alison Bell and Lynford L. Goddard were among five faculty members recently named 2018-2019 University Scholars. The systemwide Faculty Scholar Program recognizes outstanding faculty members and provides each recipient with funding to enhance their scholarly activities.

IFP Team Wins Computer Vision Competition
A team from the Image Formation and Processing (IFP) Group housed at the Beckman Institute has won first place in all three human parsing tracks in the Look Into Person (LIP) Challenge organized at the 2018 International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), the premier artificial intelligence conference with focus on computer vision. The winning team was advised by Beckman faculty member Thomas Huang, a research professor of electrical and computer engineering, a leader in tackling imaging challenges from human facial and biometrics recognition, medicine, big data, and astronomy.

Li Selected ISMRM Fellow
Dr. King Li, dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and Beckman faculty member, has been selected as a Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM). The fellowship is awarded for significant and substantial contributions to research in the field of magnetic resonance, and for significant contributions to the development of the society.

Oelze Named ECE Associate Head
Michael L. Oelze, a professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and Beckman faculty member, has recently been named ECE associate head for graduate affairs.

Cunningham Named IEEE Distinguished Lecturer
Brian Cunningham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and Beckman affiliate, has been named as a distinguished lecturer by the IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer Program. This program was designed to honor excellent speakers who have made technical, industrial, or entrepreneurial contributions to the field of photonics and to enhance the technical programs of the IEEE Photonics Society chapters.

In Case You Missed It: New York Times Features Illinois Research
A recent article in the New York Times focused on research in the Autonomous Materials Systems Lab on self-destructing synthetic polymers:

Recently Awarded Grants

  • Advanced Image Reconstruction for Joint PET/MR Imaging (PI: Liang, NIH)
  • JCESR Renewal (PI: Moore, DOE)
  • Collection of Ultrasound Scan Data from Animal Models using a custom probe (PI: Oelze, TDI)

HR Office Location

Due to construction going on in the 1200-office suite that comprises the Beckman Institute Human Resources Office, the offices of the Biomedical Imaging Center, and our mailroom, the Beckman Institute Human Resources office has moved to its new temporary location in Room 5208.

That is on the fifth floor, in the “hot desk” area next to the offices of the Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows.

The office hours of Room 5208 remain the same: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00 pm.

If you have timesheets to turn in, you can either keep using the Timesheet slot on the door of room 1209, or bring them upstairs to the new slot on a cabinet within Room 5208. Either way, HR staff will keep track of them.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact

Illinois Wins Freezer Challenge

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took first place in the 2018 International Laboratory Freezer Challenge, sponsored by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. Labs were asked to reduce the energy required for laboratory cold storage. The Beckman Institute is grateful to the Biophotonics Imaging Lab (PI: Stephen Boppart) and the Chemical Imaging and Structures Lab (PI: Rohit Bhargava) for their participation.

More on the challenge:

Welcome to New Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Jianfeng Wang, Carle Foundation Hospital-Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Aaron Anderson, Carle Foundation Hospital-Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Jamila Hedhli, Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Kevin Clark, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Tian (Autumn) Qiu, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Matthew Moore, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

Welcome to New Employees

  • Jill Evans, Office Support Specialist (Director’s Office)
  • Thomas Durbin, Assistant Director of Facilities (Facilities)
  • Laura Thurlwell, Office Manager (S. Olson)
  • Chaowei Wu, 0% Visiting Scholar- Student Intern (Z. Liang)
  • Catalin Stoean, 0% Visiting Scholar-Fulbright Scholar (R. Bhargava)
  • Xiaolin Zhang, 0% Visiting Scholar (T. Huang)
  • Ramazan Kizil, 0% Visiting Scholar (R. Bhargava)
  • Sudipta Mukherjee, Postdoctoral Research Associate (R. Bhargava)
  • Mina Mahdavi, 0% Visiting Scholar (TCBG)
  • Hai Qian, Postdoctoral Research Associate (J. Moore)
  • Soumyo Sen, Postdoctoral Research Associate (E. Tajkhorshid)
  • Valentina Di Pietro, 0% Visiting Scholar -BRIDGE Fellow (P. Jones)
  • Rui Qian, 0% Visiting Scholar-Student Intern (T. Huang)
  • Wubing Shen, 0% Visiting Scholar (L. Gao)
  • Dylan Brault, 0% Visiting Scholar-Student Intern (G. Popescu)
  • Jiachen Li, 0% Visiting Scholar- Student Intern (T. Huang)
  • Mariano Spivank, 0% Visiting Scholar (E. Tajkhorshid)
  • Ruihao Liu, 0% Visiting Scholar - Student Intern (Z. Liang)
  • Yu Wang, 0% Visiting Scholar - Student Intern (Z. Liang)

Interested in Planning Beckman’s 30th Anniversary?

Contact Maeve Reilly,, or Patty Jones,

Coming Events

Scott White Memorial Symposium and Annual Meeting for M(4) Program
Monday-Thursday, Aug, 13-16, 2018
Auditorium and Room 1005

Noon, Wednesdays through Aug. 22
5th floor tower room

Beckman Accounting and Reporting System [BARS] Open House
Faculty and research support staff: learn more about the BARS system and meet the business affairs and human resources staff.
10 – 11:30 am OR 1:30 – 3 pm Wednesday, August 29

Director’s Seminar
“Tracking the Neuroecology of Avian Recognition Systems for Self and Others”
by Mark Hauber, professor of animal biology
Noon Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Room 1005

Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science
“Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming”
by Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center
3 pm Monday, Oct. 15, 2018
Followed by
Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018
Beckman Auditorium
Register at

Note from the Director
Welcome back to the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. Like many of you, I look to the start of school as an exciting new beginning. In 2019, we will take a glimpse at the past when we celebrate our 30th anniversary as an Institute, and we are beginning to organize events to celebrate our accomplishments.

However, like Arnold Beckman and our Founding Director Ted Brown, I’m never content to rest on our laurels. I’d like us to examine where we can be in the next 30 years and beyond. What can we begin now at the Beckman Institute that people will look back on at the 60th anniversary and say “This started at Beckman!”

I’m eager to hear your thoughts. Contact me at

Jeff Moore
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology