The Beckman Institute is a unique engine for research. We're making incredible advances while helping ordinary people.

Research that matters

The Beckman Institute is a community of researchers that transcend traditional boundaries, and a state-of-the-art facility that allows their work.


Our three research themes:


Meet a researcher

“Broadly, I study bioinspired designs and materials, which is how we as humans can use adaptations found in the natural world to create new and innovative technologies.

"I think my best piece of advice would be to always ask questions. Don’t be afraid of looking silly or that you’re asking a “dumb” question — there’s no such thing. … Just keep practicing and as your skills grow, your confidence will too."

-Elizabeth Bello, graduate student

Portrait for Graduate Fellow


Light in, sound out: Molecular probe targets disease using photoacoustics

Jefferson Chan and his team at UIUC are creating small-molecule photoacoustic probes that, when excited by laser light, emit sound waves that help them non-invasively detect the biomarkers of harmful substances in the body. Recent work successfully targeted excess copper in tissue, like that found in the livers of Wilson's disease sufferers.

Changing the culture of science

21st Century Scientists

This Beckman initiative is working to improve inclusion and diversity, create incentives for engagement, and innovate scientific training.

Inclusive Lab Leaders

21st Century Scientists leads this training initiative, which puts on regular workshops for both student researchers and their leaders.


Visit the 21st Century
Scientists' website


A collage of different scientists talking into a microphone.


Mantis Shrimp Bioinspired Camera for Cancer Surgery

Researchers at the Beckman Institute have adapted the unparalleled visual system of the mantis shrimp to create a camera that can help guide doctors during cancer surgery.

Meet a researcher

"By using the physics of MRI, we can see more than just the parts of the brain. It's a look at how they dynamically communicate with each other. The fun part of my job is to figure out how to get that information out of the imaging data."

-Professor Brad Sutton, bioengineering



Professor Brad Sutton poses in front of an MRI scanner
Journal of Physical Chemistry B cover art depicting work from Yang Zhang's lab group

Become a Beckman researcher

Whether you're a student hoping make a difference, already leading research on campus, or thinking about becoming a faculty member at the University of Illinois, the Beckman Institute could be the right place for you.

Become a student researcher

Become a Beckman faculty member

Need resources for your research?

We provide state-of-the-art facilities for faculty, staff, and students.


Biomedical Imaging Center

BIC is a state-of-the-art imaging facility that develops and applies cutting-edge techniques using magnetic resonance and molecular imaging tools.

Staff members employ advanced MRI, optical imaging, EEG, PET, SPECT, CT, fluorescence, and bioluminescence techniques to address questions about structure and function of systems across a variety of disciplines.

Visit BIC's website

Imaging Technology Group

ITG is home to Beckman's Microscopy Suite and its Visualization Lab.

Hundreds of researchers from the Beckman Institute and nearly every department on campus use its state-of-the-art microscopy, spectroscopy, image processing, and rendering capabilities.

Visit ITG's website

Research images

The latest research images from Instagram. Follow Beckman Institute @beckmaninstitute