September 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 96: September 2018

Beckman Theme Revisions
Thanks to the recent External Advisory Committee reviews, the work of the Integrative Imaging theme members, and members of the theme formerly known as Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures, some of our research themes are undergoing substantive changes.

To better reflect the research aims of Integrative Imaging, the theme has reconfigured the two previous research groups (Bioimaging Science and Technology and the Bioacoustics Research Lab) into six working groups:

  • Selective Theranostic Agents and Systems for Multiscale Photoacoustic Imaging (PAI) Group Leader: Liang Gao
  • Radio-Opto-Nano (RON) Working Group Leaders: Jianjun Cheng and Ling-Jian Meng
  • Understanding Brain Function through Networks (BFN) Group Leader: Brad Sutton
  • Computational Imaging (CompIm) Working Group Leader: Zhi-Pei Liang
  • Multimodal Vascular Imaging (MVI) Group Leader: Michael Insana
  • Extracellular Vesicle Imaging and Therapy (EVIT) Working Group Leader: Stephen Boppart

New web pages are online.

Likewise, Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures is now called Molecular Science and Engineering—MSE.

The new groups within MSE are:

  • Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS), led by Nancy Sottos and Jeff Moore
  • Computational Molecular Science (CMS), led by Yang Zhang
  • Molecular Design and Engineering (MDE), led by Charles Schroeder
  • Theoretical and Computational Biophysics (TCB), led by Emad Tajkhorshid

The MSE web pages are in the process of being revised.

The Intelligent Systems theme is updating its faculty memberships as well. This will soon be reflected on the Beckman website.

Luthey-Schulten Named BPS 2019 Fellow
Zaida “Zan” Luthey-Schulten, professor of chemistry and member of the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, has been selected as a Fellow of the Biophysical Society in 2019.

Moore Receives U.S. Secretary of Energy's Achievement Award
Jeff Moore, professor of chemistry and director of the Beckman Institute, is one of the recipients of the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Achievement Award for his work as a member of the Scientific and Operational Leadership team for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) project. JCESR is a Department of Energy-funded partnership of public and private institutions that is developing high-performance, low-cost energy storage technologies for transportation.

Smith Wins Award for Battery-based Desalination Work
Kyle Smith, an assistant professor of mechanical science and engineering and member of Beckman’s Autonomous Materials Systems Group, was honored by the International Society of Electrochemistry with the 2018 ISE-Elsevier Prize for Applied Electrochemistry. The prize is awarded annually to a scientist under age 35 for achievements in the field of applied electrochemistry.

Cunningham Named Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE Photonics Society
Brian Cunningham, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of Beckman’s Molecular Design and Engineering Group, 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.

New Hires
Welcome to the following new Beckman Institute employees!

  • Tian (Autumn) Qiu, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Kevin Clark, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Yuan Wu, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Matthew Moore, Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Chi Zhang, Postdoctoral Research Associate (S. Boppart)
  • Jinming Gao, Visiting Scholar (L. Gao)
  • Matthew Gelber, Postdoctoral Research Associate (R. Bhargava)
  • Brahim Mohammedi, Visiting Scholar (N. Sobh)
  • Feng Li, Visiting Scholar (M. Hasegawa-Johnson)
  • Ying Zhang, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Yangyang Li, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)
  • Lihong Tang, Visiting Scholar (Z. Liang)

Student Researcher of the Week
Meet our recent Student Researcher of the Week, Josh Whitely, from the Chemical Imaging and Structures Lab. Is there a student researcher you’d like featured? Email

Wednesdays at noon
5th floor tower room

Thursday at 12:20 Concert: The Black Chamber Choir
Sept. 27, 2018, Beckman Atrium

Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group at Pygmalion
5:30 – 9 pm Thursday, Sept. 27, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
TCBG offers the opportunity to pick up strands of DNA for a look at how life's blueprint is coded, to poke your head into the structures and bonds of a functional protein, and to step inside the chromatophore, the intricate apparatus that enables bacteria to harvest energy from sunlight.

Graduate Student Seminar
Noon , Wednesday, Oct. 3, Room 1005. Lunch will be served.
Three current Beckman graduate students will give short talks about their research:
Renato Ferreira Leitão Azevedo, educational psychology; Eddie Jira, chemical engineering; and Sameer Manchanda, computer science.

Director’s Seminar
Noon, Oct. 4, in Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch will be served.
Brad Sutton, a professor of bioengineering, the technical director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute, and a faculty member of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine will speak on "How Stiff is Your Brain: Measuring Mechanical Properties with MRI."

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

  • October 5: Carol Symes, on “A Radical Re-Reading of the Past: The Historical Evidence of Mediated Medieval Texts”
  • October 12: Adam Bleakney, “The University of Illinois Wheelchair Track Team”
  • October 19: Ben Grosser, “Less Metrics, More Rando: (Net) Art as Software Research”
  • October 26: Kay Kirkpatrick on “BIO-LOGIC: Biological Computation beyond the Turing Limit”

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Writing

  • Session 2: NIH Peer Review Process
    September 25, 3:30 - 5 p.m. | Beckman Institute room 2269 (second floor tower room; note room change)
  • Session 3: Specific Aims Development
    October 2, 3:30 - 5 p.m. | Beckman Institute room 3269
  • Session 4: Building a Successful Proposal, Part 1
    October 9, 3:30 - 5 p.m. | Beckman Institute room 3269
  • Session 5: Building a Successful Proposal, Part 2
    October 16, 3:30 - 5 p.m. | Beckman Institute room 3269
  • Session 6: Responding to Reviews
    October 23, 3:30 - 5 p.m. | Beckman Institute room 3269

RSVP (registration for the open sessions is requested, but not required)

Fall 2018 Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery (MBM) Lectures
4:00 pm Wednesday 2269 Beckman Institute.

  • October 10: Marni Boppart, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Community Health
    “Perivascular Stem/Stromal Cell Regulation of Muscle Growth”
  • November 7: Mattia Gazzola, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science & Engineering, NCSA
    “Mechanical intelligence and control of soft musculoskeletal architectures”

Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science
“Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming”
Dr. Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center
3:00 pm Monday, Oct. 15, 2018
Beckman Auditorium

Confronting the Challenges of Climate Change
A symposium on the topic of energy and the environment in honor of Theodore “Ted” Brown, the Founding Director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
8:15 am Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018
Beckman Auditorium
To register and view the agenda.

McKinley Health Center Flu Clinic at Beckman
10:30 am – 1:30 pm Tues., Oct. 23, 2018, Room 1003 Beckman

Note from the Director
Exciting changes are underway at the Beckman Institute with the reconfiguration of the Integrative Imaging and Molecular Science and Engineering themes. We’re aiming to create a more agile Beckman Institute, and are beginning the strategic planning process with members of BIXC and under the direction of Deepak Somaya, professor of business administration. More details will follow.

Don’t forget to join us to celebrate Ted Brown’s 90th birthday after the Beckman-Brown Lecture on Interdisciplinary Science on Monday, Oct. 15! Ted would be delighted to see Beckman faculty, researchers, staff, and students!

Jeff Moore
Director, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology