October 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 97: October 2018


Han Joins Select Group with Funai Achievement Award
Jiawei Han, a professor of computer science and pioneer in the data mining field, becomes only the fourth-ever non-Japanese computer scientist to win the prestigious Funai Achievement Award—Japan's highest honor for information science. Han is a member of the Organizational Intelligence and Computational Social Science Group.

Gene Robinson Elected to National Academy of Medicine
Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and member of the Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine "for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior." Robinson directs the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Bhargava Named ISTC ‘Researcher to Know’
Beckman faculty member Rohit Bhargava, a professor of bioengineering and director of the Cancer Center at Illinois, has been named a “Researcher to Know 2018” by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). Bhargava was recognized in the “Tackling Cancer” category. ISTC noted that “Instruments developed in Prof. Bhargava’s laboratory are providing new ways to characterize and define cancer.”

Zhuo to Receive Inaugural Fellowship in Biomedical Optics at MGH
Yue Zhuo, a 2016 Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, has received the inaugural Thomas F. Deutsch Fellowship in Biomedical Optics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The one-year fellowship will start later this month.

Microscopy Today Awards 2018 Innovation Award to Popescu and Wheeler
Gabriel Popescu, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Matthew B. Wheeler, a professor of animal sciences, were awarded the 2018 Innovation Award by Microscopy Today, the official magazine of the Microscopy Society of America, for the development of Gradient Light Interference Microscopy (GLIM), a low-coherence interference microscopy system. GLIM is a new method that solves the challenge of imaging thick, multicellular samples.

Drake Wins Fourth Regional Emmy
Steve Drake, video producer, was awarded a regional Emmy for Informational-Instructional: Feature Segment for “Nemo’s Dad: Clownfish Fathering,” featuring the research of Justin Rhodes, an associate professor of psychology, and Ross DeAngelis, a graduate student in the Rhodes Lab. Watch the video at https://beckman.illinois.edu/video/watch/oztHwnfl-38.

Thakare Takes Third Place in Research Live!
Dhawal Thakare, a graduate student in mechanical science and engineering and a member of Beckman's Autonomous Materials Systems Group, received third place in Research Live!, sponsored by the Graduate College, for his presentation “Self-Healing Coatings: The Future of Smart Materials.”

About the Building

VOTE! for Your Favorite Beckman Innovation
Take a look at our randomly selected list of favorites and choose your top pick: http://bit.ly/top30inno OR come up with a new list and send it to communications@beckman.illinois.edu. We'll be revising the list of "candidates" on a regular basis leading up to the October 2019 30th anniversary celebration.

ESCO Informational Meeting Set for Nov. 13
A major energy savings project will disrupt lab activities starting early in 2019. Plan to attend an informational meeting scheduled for 10-11:30 a.m. Nov. 13 in the Beckman auditorium to learn details of the ESCO project and how it will affect your lab.

2019 External Advisory Committee (EAC) Updated Membership
We are pleased to announce that Janet Hyde (Wisconsin) and Marie Banich (Colorado) are joining the panel, and that others have been invited as well.

The current list of EAC members:

EXTERNAL MEMBERS – with additional people TBD

  • John Baldoni, Glaxo Smith Kline
  • Marie Banich, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Paul Bohn, University of Notre Dame
  • James Brink, Harvard Medical School
  • Neil Charness, Florida State University
  • Dennis Dougherty, California Institute of Technology (Director of their Beckman Institute)
  • James Eberwine, University of Pennsylvania
  • Janet Hyde, University of Wisconsin
  • George Karniadakis, Brown University
  • Jennifer Lewis, Harvard University
  • Scott Strobel, Yale University


  • Antoinette Burton, Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
  • William Gropp, Director of NCSA
  • Gene Robinson, Director of Carl Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Mail Room Renovations Complete
Renovations have been completed on the Beckman Institute mail room. The mail room is now in Room 1225, just west of the previous. All mail has been transferred to the new space.

2019 Beckman Institute Open House
SAVE THE DATE: The Beckman Institute will host its biennial Open House on March 8 and 9, 2019.
In preparation for open house, we are accepting designs for the T-shirts worn by staff and volunteers during the event. Only faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the Beckman Institute may submit a design. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018.
For guidelines and to submit an original design, go to http://bit.ly/OH19-contest.

Neuroscience Research Group Mailing List
There is interest in revitalizing the postgraduate/postdoc group in neuroscience. If you are involved in neuroscience research and are interested in being part of this group, contact Michael Dulas or Nien-Pei Tsai to get on the mailing list. Weekly breakfasts with the NSP seminar speakers are offered on Tuesday mornings and additional activities are underway.

New Hires

Welcome to the Beckman Institute to the following new employees:

  • Ryan Hubbard, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Yuheng Jiao, 0% Visiting Scholar (G. Popescu)
  • Ziyu Meng, 0% Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Sueyoun Hwang, Visiting Laboratory Coordinator (L. Stine-Morrow)
  • Yi Wang, 0% Visiting Scholar (G. Popescu)
  • Daryl Meling, Postdoctoral Fellow (S. Schantz)

Recently Awarded Grants

  • Optical Measures of Cerebral Arterial Function as Predictors of Brain and Cognitive Aging (PI: Fabiani, NIH)
  • LEAP HI: Manufacturing USA: Energy Efficient Processing of Thermoset Polymers and Composites (PI: Sottos, NSF)
  • Evaluating the ReSound Relief App using task and rest-based fMRI (PI: Husain, GN Hearing Care Corp)
  • Development of a Cell-Gased Therapy to Improve Recovery Following Immobilization (PI: M. Boppart, NIH)
  • Development of super Resolution Ultrasound for Detecting Microcalcifications (PI: Oelze, NIH)

Featured Student Researcher

Meet our latest Student Researcher of the Week, Elizabeth Murphy, from the Braun Research Group. Is there a student researcher you’d like featured? Email communications@beckman.illinois.edu.


Wednesdays at noon
5th floor tower room

Thursdays at 12:20 Concert in the Beckman Atrium

  • Oct. 25: Chip McNeill Jazz Quartet
  • Nov. 1: Guido Sanchez-Portuguez, guitar

Curious and Eclectic Seminar Series
Noon on selected Fridays, Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch will be served.

  • Oct. 26: Kay Kirkpatrick on “BIO-LOGIC: Biological Computation beyond the Turing Limit”
  • Nov. 2: Amy LaViers Minnick on “Dancing with Robots: Expressivity in Natural and Artificial Systems”
  • Nov. 16: Jose Vazquez Cognet on “Curiosity and the Pleasures of Learning: Leveraging Internal Student Motivation to Learn Through Curiosity”

Neuroscience Program Seminar
4:00 pm Tuesdays

  • Oct. 30: Linda Rinaman - Florida State University “Gut-Brain Signaling and Motivated Behavior”
  • Nov. 13: David Hampson - University of Toronto “Is it Possible to Correct or Mitigate Neurodevelopmental Genetic Disorders using Viral Vector-mediated Gene Therapy”

Fall 2018 Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery (MBM) Lectures
4:00 pm Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2269 Beckman Institute.
Mattia Gazzola, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science & Engineering, NCSA
“Mechanical intelligence and control of soft musculoskeletal architectures”

Graduate Student Seminar
Noon Wednesday, Nov. 7, Room 1005. Lunch will be served.
Three current Beckman graduate students will give short talks about their research.

  • Noah Trebesch, who works in the Computational Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics Group;
  • Hyukjin Jang, who is a Beckman Fellow working in the Chemical Imaging and Structures Group; and
  • Kelly Hewes, who works in the Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity Group.

Director’s Seminar
Noon Thursday, Nov. 8, in Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch will be served.
Dan Morrow, a professor of and the head of educational psychology, will speak on "Health Literacy as a Resource for Older Adults' Self-care: Implications for Technology Design."

Safety Training
10:00 am Monday, Nov. 12 Room 1005
Presented by Stephanie Vogelsang, public safety training coordinator

Note from the Director

Thanks to everyone who helped plan or attended this year’s Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science and the accompanying daylong symposium, “Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change.” What a great way to celebrate the 90th birthday of Ted Brown, the founding director of the institute, who wrote a book on climate change in 1971. Many thanks to Ted for the idea of celebrating his birthday in this manner.

In keeping the Beckman Institute dynamic and vibrant, it is important that all of us faculty members recognize that our time in the institute is finite. Beckman is a place to become a better collaborator and a training ground for team-based science. Be grateful for the opportunity to be here, knowing that there are many other researchers who would welcome the chance that you've been given. The space you and your group occupy at Beckman is shared space; sharing builds stronger collaborative ties that will last when your group returns to another location.

Those of us who have enjoyed years working in the institute must be prepared to step aside, to give the same opportunity to the next generation of interdisciplinary collaborators. Illinois continues to bring outstanding new faculty to campus, and we want to spread the special, collaborative culture of Beckman to them and others. The best way to do that is for us seasoned collaborators to return to our home units when the time is right. On that note, the time is right for my research group, which has been based at the institute for nearly 25 years, to return to our home unit, the Department of Chemistry. The Beckman space we occupy can then be used in new and exciting ways, such as for a molecule maker lab. Such decisions are not easy, but I think that this move signifies a true commitment to keeping the institute on the cutting edge.

You will still find me in the Director's office here at Beckman. Feel free to talk to me if you have exciting ideas, suggestions or thoughts about making the Beckman Institute better.

Jeff Moore, director of the Beckman Institute