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LEADING AN IMAGING REVOLUTION

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LEADING AN IMAGING REVOLUTION Powered By Docstoc
					SYNERGY
BECKMAN INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY             ISSUE 10 • FALL 2008




Leading an imaging RevoLution                                                      Page 2




z
             Some Beckman              Beckman Alumni               Faculty Profile:
             Institute discoveries     Profile: Ben Schaeffer       Beckman researcher
             are on their way to       applied some of his          Todd Coleman uses his
             the marketplace.          experiences working at       expertise in electrical
             Read about Beckman        Beckman’s Integrated         engineering and
             researchers who have      Systems Laboratory           computer science to
             also taken on the title   toward his current           explore the human
             of entrepreneur.          position on Wall Street.     brain.

             Page 5                    Page 8                       Page 10
Leading
an
imaging
RevoLution
Beckman Researchers Creating New Biomedical Imaging
Methods for Screening Breast Cancer, Other Diseases
    Using sound and light, mathematical equations, chemistry, and            Some of these advancements have come through the improvement
computer processing power, Beckman Institute researchers will be          of current imaging methods like ultrasound (US) and magnetic reso-
giving doctors new tools and patients peace of mind through the de-       nance imaging (MRI) and some through the development of novel
velopment of fast, accurate, and powerful medical imaging technolo-       imaging techniques like a new optical-based system created at Beck-
gies for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases.            man. These researchers are at the forefront of an imaging revolution
    Beckman researchers are imagining and creating exciting new tech-     that will in the next few years lead to earlier, more accurate diagnosis
nologies that could in the near future perform non-invasive breast bi-    of disease, and more effective procedures for treating those diseases.
opsies – using light in one method and sound waves in another – or           While the approaches and applications may vary and the research-
differentiate between non-cancerous and cancerous mammary tissues         ers have different backgrounds, many are applying themselves to
through an advanced ultrasound method. Institute faculty members          breast cancer screening methods. Several Institute researchers are part
from different disciplines are seeking to arm physicians, clinicians,     of a Beckman seed proposal for developing molecular scale imaging
and other medical personnel with more detailed information on the         technologies for imaging breast cancer and are collaborating on proj-
physical structure of cells and the cellular processes involved in dis-   ects with medical institutions, including some who are working with
ease, knowledge that could improve patient care in numerous ways.         Carle Foundation Hospital’s Mills Breast Cancer Institute. Others are
    Among their efforts are the creation of real-time imaging tech-       applying their methods toward other cancers and disorders, and all
niques for diagnosis that will give physicians visual information at      say the technologies can someday be used for numerous biomedical
the moment of screening rather than waiting days or even weeks for        applications.
lab results, taking away at least some of the stress patients feel when      Beckman researchers Stephen Boppart, Michael Insana, William
potentially facing a serious disease. These technologies will also give   O’Brien, and Rohit Bhargava recently participated in short video in-
doctors performing biopsies and operations more detailed images,          terviews to discuss their innovations in bioimaging and the impact
down to the cellular and in some cases molecular level, allowing for      their work could have for doctors and patients. Short summaries of
much more precise surgical procedures that remove cancer cells, for       the researchers are on the following pages, as well as links to the video
example, while leaving healthy tissue intact.                             interviews.



SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                 
Stephen BoppaRt                                                Bioimaging Science and technoLogy gRoup
    As a medical doctor and professor of Electrical and Computer En-
gineering, Bioengineering, and Medicine at Illinois, Stephen Boppart
works at the very heart of technology development for medical ap-
plications.
    Boppart is director of the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory at
Beckman, where he has developed novel methods and technologies
for biological imaging. An important part of his research has been
the development of non-invasive or minimally invasive methods for
generating high-resolution, real-time images of biological tissue at the
cellular and molecular level for disease diagnosis at earlier stages and
in greater detail than current methods.
    A focus for Boppart is diagnosis of breast cancer through the use
of an imaging technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT)
that provides micron-scale images of subsurface biological tissue. In
the OCT-based system Boppart’s lab developed, a beam of near-in-
frared light is focused on the tissue and the resulting reflections are
measured by their intensity and position to provide a high-resolution
image in real time. While the possible applications of this technology
are many, the potential of using the OCT system for what are called             In his video interview, Boppart talks about the advantages the
“optical biopsies” for breast cancer is a major thrust of Boppart’s re-     OCT-based system offers over other methods, the results of clinical
search and technology development efforts. Boppart is currently us-         trials and reactions to the system, as well as future goals for this
ing the OCT system at Carle Hospital’s Mills Breast Cancer Institute        exciting new technology.
in Urbana.




michaeL inSana                                             Bioimaging Science and technoLogy gRoup

    Michael Insana is not only heads the Bioimaging Science and
Technology group at Beckman but also a leader in developing novel
ultrasonic instrumentation and methods for biological imaging. In-
sana is part of a Beckman seed proposal with four other Institute
collaborators – Thomas Huang, Zhi-Pei Liang, Stephen Boppart, and
Rohit Bhargava – for developing molecular scale imaging technolo-
gies for imaging breast cancer.
    Insana, interim head of the Bioengineering Department at Illi-
nois, is interested in biomedical imaging and biological modeling
and instrumentation. His research focuses on “the development of
novel ultrasonic instrumentation and methods for imaging soft tis-
sue microstructure, elasticity and blood flow” toward understanding
the “basic mechanisms of lesion formation, disease progression, and
responses to therapy.”
    One project of Insana’s lab is development of applications for im-
aging the elasticity of breast tissue, a diagnostic technique that will
allow noninvasive visualization of soft tissue stiffness. A current proj-
ect in Insana’s Ultrasonic Imaging Laboratory measures the elasticity
of cancer tissue using sonographic imaging, a technique that converts          In his video interview, Insana talks about the role his research
high-frequency sound waves into a picture on a video monitor. Their         plays in advancing bioimaging technology, especially sonographic
goal is to dynamically optimize diagnostic capabilities for different       imaging, as well as the importance of elasticity imaging for
examination types and patient physiologies and therefore significant-       diagnosing breast cancer, how this technology can track tumors, and
ly improve diagnosis of breast cancer, a disease that affects one in        the advantages it offers to patients.
eight American women.




SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                 www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                  
WiLLiam o’BRien                                              BioacouSticS ReSeaRch LaBoRatoRy
    William O’Brien, Director of the Bioacoustics Research Labora-
tory at the Beckman Institute, is pushing ultrasound imaging meth-
ods in new directions, including the development of an innovative
method for breast cancer screening.
    O’Brien’s research involves ultrasound-tissue interactions, includ-
ing a major effort to understand and develop quantitative ultrasound
imaging (QUS) approaches.
    The work is dedicated to real world solutions as O’Brien and his
collaborators seek to advance ultrasound technology for medical ap-
plications, including developing QUS technology as a reliable, fast,
and inexpensive method that has advantages over conventional quali-
tative medical ultrasound for diagnosing disease. They write that QUS
imaging “relies heavily on signal processing techniques to extract in-
formation about underlying tissue microstructure” and that to fully
exploit its potential, digital signal processing methods are needed.
    While working to improve the technique, O’Brien and his col-
laborators have already applied QUS to detect and diagnosis both
malignant tumors and non-cancerous ones such as a mammary tu-
mor called fibroadenoma, an important innovation for breast cancer
screening.                                                                    In his video interview, O’Brien explains the advantages, such
    O’Brien also applied the technique toward the detection of cervi-     as real-time diagnostics, that QUS imaging technology offers over
cal ripening – a disorder which leads to preterm births, the second       conventional, qualitative medical ultrasound techniques, describes
leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. The technique     the method’s ability to differentiate tumors, and talks about other
gives doctors an imaging method that provides real-time information       applications of this approach.
on cervical ripening, an advancement that could be a breakthrough
in preventing preterm births.



Rohit BhaRgava                                            Bioimaging Science and technoLogy gRoup
    Rohit Bhargava’s research is focused on developing chemical imag-
ing methods for medical and research applications. His truly innova-
tive work is leading to new imaging techniques that provide for better
diagnosis of human cancers.
     Bhargava’s work contributes a chemical information component
to the field of bioimaging. By developing these methods, Bhargava
says that researchers and technicians are able to look at how both
structure and chemistry change over time when they evaluate an im-
age.
    While the original chemical imaging methods were created else-
where, Bhargava’s work has taken the technology to a new level, creat-
ing techniques that allow imaging in a matter of seconds as opposed
to older methods requiring several days. Bhargava said the method is
valuable for evaluating the technology for diagnosing cancer, for use
as an analytical tool for tissue engineering, and for studying funda-
mental scientific problems.
    One facet of Bhargava’s research seeks to create an automated
method for determining whether certain kinds of prostate cells have
the potential to cause life-threatening cancer. Current methods pro-
vide, at best, a correct diagnosis one-half of the time for the more         In his video interview, Bhargava talks about his method that
than 00,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Cre-           incorporates chemistry into bioimaging, how the techniques will
ating an automated technology with chemical imaging techniques            help medical personnel in making assessments about cancers, how
could provide more accurate diagnoses for prostate cancer, and pre-       the automated method works, and the ultimate goals of this project.
vent unneeded surgery.
    Bhargava said the most important question facing medical person-
nel in this area is how to determine which patients will get the truly
risky kind of prostate cancer versus those who have prostate cancer
that is unlikely to cause death.


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                
Beckman at the Research Park




                                       Taking Discovery to the Marketplace
                                           Their motivations for trying to turn scien-         “It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of stress.
                                       tific discovery into a viable business enterprise   There are so many things coming up on a
                                       are as different as their inventions. For Scott     daily basis that you’ve never had experience
                                       White, it was impatience with the standard          dealing with. You have to go with your gut
                                       business model. For Narendra Ahuja, it was          and talk to people who have something to
                                       partly a desire to follow his funding agencies’     say, and then do it.”
                                       wishes, even if that meant going it alone. For          White and other campus researchers who
                                       Magnus Andersson it was the challenge.              are looking to take their discoveries to the
                                           The reasons why these Beckman Institute         market are much better off than someone in
                                       researchers took a plunge into the exciting         their position 1 or even 10 years ago. After
                                       and sometimes frightening world of the start-       failing to capitalize on valuable technologies
                                       up company are varied and personal. A deep          that came out of University research, Illinois
                                       belief in the science behind the discovery was      officials began pursuing technology transfer
                                       foremost, they say, but whatever the reasons,       and intellectual property rights issues more
                                       the journey from research scientist to start-       aggressively in the late 1990s. The Office of
                                       up entrepreneur is not an easy one.                 Technology Management (OTM) at the Uni-
                                           White, who along with Beckman col-              versity of Illinois was restructured in 00,
                                       leagues Jeff Moore and Nancy Sottos pio-            with more staff added, just about the time
                                       neered self-healing materials, led a success-       that the Research Park located on the south
                                       ful effort this year to start a company that is     end of campus started to take shape.
                                       seeking to turn their groundbreaking discov-            Steve Wille, a Technology Manager at
“Everybody there is on the same team   eries into marketable applications.                 OTM who maintains an office at Beckman,
 in some sense. They want to see you       “I would say this experience has been the       said U of I researchers can now go from dis-
                                       best education I’ve had in 0 years of work-        covery to patent to start-up, all with the help
              succeed.”                ing at the University,” White said. “There are      of University or University-related resources.
   – Scott White on the University’s   books out there where you can read about it             Those resources include the Office of
                                       but they don’t really give you what you need        Technology Management, which facilitates
           Research Park.              to know on a daily basis.                           technology transfer to the public, including



SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                      www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                   
help with issues like disclosure and the patent         Larry Evans, a veteran of the chemical in-      could not pass up.
process. Illinois Ventures LLC is a start-up         dustry, joined AMI as CEO in July. Ander-              “This was the challenge of a lifetime,” An-
services company that offers help to would-          sson and Gerald Wilson were the first two          dersson said. “You know, it’s sink or swim.
be entrepreneurs regarding issues of financ-         employees of AMI when the company was              When I first started there we didn’t even
ing. Finally, the University’s Research Park         launched earlier this year. AMI is seeking         know if we could go beyond three months.
site, home to more than 70 high-technology           to incorporate their self-healing technology       I’ve worked at Beckman for a lot of years and
firms, plays host to EnterpriseWorks (EW),           as an anti-corrosive additive for coatings for     given tours and, with Scott, would meet with
a ,000 square-foot building that serves as         large steel structures and, eventually, coatings   companies. It’s just such a cool technology to
the University’s start-up business incubator.        for consumer products. With three employ-          be able to take that into the world. I knew
     “All of that is right here, right now,” Wille   ees and a cutting edge product, AMI is the         the technology but the rest is just a blank
said. “It makes it so easy for the researcher.”      definition of a high-tech start-up.                piece of paper.”
     Beckman Institute Director Pierre                                                                      Perhaps that blank piece of paper is what
Wiltzius said helping researchers turn dis-                                                             scares off many researchers from going the
covery into an application and potentially a                                                            start-up route. After waiting for something
product is now part of the Institute’s mission,            “There is very much a                        to develop with large, established companies,
with Associate Director Van Anderson over-
seeing that area.
                                                          research aspect and an                        White finally chose to begin his own firm.
                                                                                                            “I didn’t see the progress in moving this
     “That is explicitly part of his job descrip-          educational aspect (to                       technology from these great labs and writing
tion, being the liaison to OTM and making                                                               these great papers and having everybody say
sure the researchers – the faculty, the students          the Beckman Foundation                        this is great to something applied,” White
and also the Fellows and research staff – mak-                                                          said. “As an engineer, that’s the culmina-
ing sure that they are really fully aware of                mission) but it is also                     tion of what I do. I want to go out to Lowe’s
how the process works.” Wiltzius said. “The
process starts with disclosure to figure out
                                                            supposed to support                         or wherever and see a self-healing adhesive
                                                                                                        or paint. And it’s frustrating not to see this
whether there is something there or not and               activities that might lead                    make it there because it works.”
beyond that there are different paths: there                                                                Ahuja, a member of Beckman’s Artificial
is licensing it to an outside company, a third             to development of new                        Intelligence group, first went the patent route
party, and getting royalties, and then there is                                                         about a decade ago with his NiCam Imaging
the path of forming a start-up.”                               technologies…”                           System that allows all of the objects in view to
      Several Beckman researchers who chose                                                             be in focus regardless of their distance from
to start their own company have taken ad-               – Beckman Institute Director                    the camera. Ahuja said that at that time, the
vantage of the Research Park and Enterprise
Works. Ahuja has had a company called Vi-
                                                               Pierre Wiltzius                          University declined to help fund the patent-
                                                                                                        ing process so he financed it himself and be-
sion Technology Inc. at the Research Park                                                               gan a company to market the product.
for several years while other Beckman fac-                                                                  Since then another camera system, the
ulty members involved in companies there                 “It was Gerald and I who started this          Hemview, has come out of the work in Ahu-
include researchers like Jont Allen from             and we had to build a lab, we had to drive         ja’s Vision Computing facility at Enterprise-
Mimosa Acoustics and Yoram Bressler of In-           the technology forward, and just do what it        Works. The HemView boasts a 0 degree
staRecon. Numerous Beckman researchers               takes,” Andersson said.                            field-of-view in a hemispherical dome and is
were involved with the Intelligent Hearing               “When you’re a small start-up company          able to produce real-time, seamless images of
Aid project, an innovation that was sold to          like this, the operative word is multi-task,”      an entire room scene, a feature which makes
a global hearing technology company called           White said. “Everybody does everything be-         it advantageous for monitoring purposes,
Phonak that had a presence at the Research           cause you’re talking to investors one day and      for example. It could replace a multi-camera
Park when the hearing aid was being devel-           the next day you’re mixing chemicals in the        set-up, such as security systems that require
oped.                                                lab, then the next day you’re planning out the     several regular pan/tilt cameras that may not
     More than 0 companies have used the            next ten year’s budget. Everybody has to be        capture all of a scene because they are point-
EnterpriseWorks facility in getting off the          involved in every aspect of everything.”           ed at one area.
ground. White, who along with Sottos,                    Evans, whose experience had him working            “Those cameras have this sort of flashlight
Moore, other collaborators and investors             mostly at large companies like AstraZeneca,        mode, where they see only so much,” Ahuja
including Illinois Ventures, founded Auto-           said sometimes division of labor in a start-up     said. “Imagine that flashlight expanding to
nomic Materials, Inc. (AMI) in 008. He              needs to be done on the fly, such as when he       cover the entire hemisphere and now noth-
said locating at EW and the Research Park is         took a phone call about information technol-       ing is beyond it. What we have is a seamless
“crucial” to his company’s early success.            ogy.                                               single image of everything. But this camera
     “Access to the University is one of the             “I said just a second let me put my Di-        records everything. You can come back and
strong suits for us,” White said. “The rents         rector of Information Technology on and I          search it for whatever. It will replace several
and facilities are in line with what a start-up      looked over at Gerald and said, ‘Gerald you        different cameras.”
company can afford. Everybody there is on            want to take it?’” he said with a laugh.               Ahuja began his research with the Ni-
the same team in some sense. They want to                For Andersson, a native of Sweden who          Cam through grants from the National Sci-
see you succeed. They will bend over back-           worked first as a postdoctoral researcher with     ence Foundation and the Department of
wards if you need something, some expertise;         Beckman’s Autonomous Material Systems              Defense and it was partly due to their sug-
it’s a really nice set-up. They are there to help    group and then as a research scientist, the        gestion that the work be marketable that he
you succeed.”                                        opportunity to join AMI was something he           took the start-up path. Ahuja is currently



SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                    www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                  
demonstrating the company’s latest camera          for Technology and Economic Development            the marketplace is very much in line with the
technology to potential investors. He said the     (OVPTED) that oversees and facilitates the         Arnold Beckman philosophy.
fact that the University has a research park       transfer and commercialization of Universi-            “If you look at what the mission of Ar-
for fledgling companies may inspire reluctant      ty-based technologies and intellectual prop-       nold and Mabel’s Foundation is, it is also
researchers to take that step toward commer-       erties. Wille said people from the different       explicitly developing technology,” he said.
cializing their inventions.                        resources have regular meetings and share          “There is very much a research aspect and an
    “The very fact that it’s there makes people    reports on new technologies.                       educational aspect but it is also supposed to
cross that hurdle of just doing it,” he said.          “We definitely communicate a lot,” he          support activities that might lead to devel-
“Sometimes you say there is one more thing         said. “Part of our mission is to make sure         opment of new technologies, in particular
to do and you will not do it. But now there is     we’re there when (the researchers) need us.”       in the field of the physical sciences broadly
a space and the people there are very helpful.          Andersson said being at EnterpriseWorks       defined. He would certainly be proud of the
I think they are truly helping.”                   reminds him of his time at Beckman.                things that are happening here.”
    The Office of Technology Management’s              “Both places are just amazing: the infra-          White talked to many people, includ-
Web site said it is “responsible for identify-     structure, the facilities, the people, they are    ing Wiltzius, before starting his company.
ing, evaluating, protecting, marketing, and li-    both really, really great places,” he said. “And   Wiltzius was asked if he had any advice for
censing IP developed on the University cam-        they are so tailored to you – they say we can      researchers considering the start-up route.
pus.” Wille said OTM determines whether            get it for you; people listen to you.”                 “It’s hard work; don’t go into it lightly be-
an invention or innovation is “patentable and          White remains a very active researcher on      cause it’s going to take up a lot of your time,”
marketable” and Illinois Ventures determines       campus and at Beckman.                             he said. “But it can be very exhilarating and
whether it will fund the technology or not.            “I want to make sure the Beckman Insti-        very exciting. You really are at the genesis
The Research Park’s Web site said it can “help     tute gets the credit for being supportive of       of something that might change the lives of
tenants with low-interest loan programs,           me in doing this endeavor,” White said. “We        many people. Seeing how sometimes very ab-
workforce development training grants and          have a facility-use agreement here that allows     stract or complex topics that we research in
in finding venture equity financing.”              us to come up and use equipment and things         our labs do connect to the lives of people and
    Wille added that all of the technology         like that. They are very supportive. The link      do connect with the real world is something
transfer resources – OTM, Illinois Ventures,       to the Beckman gives AMI immediate cred-           that I find the older I get, the more impor-
and the Research Park – work together with         ibility out there.”                                tant that becomes to me.”
the University’s Office of the Vice President          Wiltzius said technology development for


                            The University of Illinois’ Seamless System of Resources

                                   OTM replaces the RTMO                    Existing Companies
                                                                                                          Research Park
                            OSPRA                          OTM
                    grants, contracts, and        evaluation, protection,
                     industry agreements             marketing, and
                                                        licensing                                       Enterprise Works
                                                                                                           New company
                                                                             Illinois VENTURES              incubation
                                                                            New company funding
                                                                                  and services




   SYNERGY is a publication of the External Relations office of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the
   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Each issue will spotlight the people and science that make the Institute one of the premier
   facilities for interdisciplinary research in the world.
   Editor: Sue Johnson, johnso16@illinois.edu                              Contact information:
   Writer: Steve McGaughey, smcgaugh@illinois.edu                          Office of External Relations
   Design & Videography: Rick Valentin, rnv123@illinois.edu                Beckman Institute
   Photo credits: Research Park cover and Page 5 photos, courtesy          405 N. Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801
   of Magnus Andersson, AMI; resource graphic page 7, courtesy             www.beckman.uiuc.edu
   Steve Wille, Office of Technology Management; cover and Page
   8 images and photo, courtesy Ben Schaeffer; Coleman photo
   Page 10, Robin Scholz, The News-Gazette.



SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                    www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                 7
From Beckman to Wall Street:


Schaeffer leverages cube experience into High-powered Position
Ben Schaeffer got his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and some valuable real-world experience at the Beckman Institute
before leaving his Midwestern roots behind for the opportunity and bright lights of Wall Street and New York City. Schaeffer
left a huge mark at Beckman as the primary author of the software code that powers the Cube, the immersive virtual
reality environment operated by the Institute’s Integrated Systems Laboratory (ISL). Schaeffer now works on Wall Street
as a quantitative analyst in the field of computerized securities, but he hasn’t forgotten his alma mater or the people who
helped shape his experience at Beckman and Illinois. The Office of External Relations recently asked Schaeffer about his
experiences at Beckman and Illinois, his successful career, and other topics in an e-mail question-and-answer session.
    First, could you tell us about your personal                                                         hired me into the ISL to work on software for
background, where you grew up and went to                  Learn some useful skills.                     what would become the Cube. I remember
high school, your degrees, and how you ended up                                                          sharing the “PC cluster VR” scheme with
at Illinois?                                              These will let you support                     them in that first interview and discovered
                                                             yourself and give you                       they were already thinking about the same
   I grew up and went to high school in                   opportunities. Learn some                      thing. It really was amazingly fortuitous. At
Evansville, Indiana. My degrees are B.S. in                 things that don’t seem                       the time, I was convinced that the VR niche
Mathematics from the University of Chicago                 practical too. Otherwise,                     was potentially quite big, assuming that costs
and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University                                                             could be brought down, and thought this was
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My thesis                    you won’t have the                         a great opportunity to work on something that
advisor was Carl Jockusch, and I studied                  breadth of knowledge and                       could really have an impact. In retrospect, it
mathematical logic.                                        flexibility needed to try                     was a really wonderful experience to work on
                                                          new things and take risks.                     a new technology (that we weren’t really sure
    I was told that you alone wrote the code                                                             would work as well as it did), and I’m proud to
(Syzygy) that powers the Cube and that can                                                               have turned out a product that served a need at
also be used for other platforms for PC and PC-           – Ben Schaeffer’s advice to                    the university. However, the VR niche (vis-a-
cluster-based virtual reality environments and                    students.                              vis society) has turned out to be much smaller
other graphical applications. I was also told that                                                       than I thought it would be. It’s pretty clear
it was unusual for someone to do both the math                                                           that the larger trend in computer interfaces
and the code for software like that, so it was a big   teaching a class in mathematical visualization    (those used by millions of people) is smaller
accomplishment. Is that something you’re most          that stressed VR. This was a unique opportunity   (think cell phones and handhelds) not bigger
proud of from your time at Beckman and Illinois?       and I pursued it, taking George’s class, along    (like VR). Once I saw this clearly, it started to
Did it aid your future career, either getting the      with a number of first year computer science      seem like time to move on.
job you have or in writing other codes? If you         (CS) grad classes while writing my thesis.             The segue to a new career direction was a
wanted to say more in depth about the process          After graduation, I worked for Daniel Reed in     little unexpected. The main trick in writing
that resulted in Syzygy, that would be great also.     his Pablo Group and got valuable exposure to      Syzygy was writing reliable, high quality,
                                                       the supercomputing world. In that context, I      and high performance real-time distributed
    As a teenager, I’d done a lot of computer          saw some of the preliminary work people were      systems code. Making the quality of the
programming. At the end of the Ph.D., I got            doing with scalable display walls and realized    PC cluster display equal that of the Onyx
interested in doing something practical (as            that a PC cluster architecture made sense for     (and, incidentally, making the whole thing
opposed to purely theoretical) and decided             CAVE environments as well. The potential          reasonably user friendly) wasn’t easy. It
that working with computers might be a good            cost savings were incredible, and, indeed, the    turns out that real-time distributed systems
skillset to develop. One of my big hobbies             first visualization cluster for the “Cube” cost   programmers are in high demand on Wall Street
was painting, so doing something artistic              about $0K, compared to the $1. million for      for writing computerized trading systems. So,
appealed to me as well, and it turned out that         a SGI Onyx. You don’t often see a factor of      those particular skills, combined with my
the Beckman (via NCSA) was a big center                0 cheaper!                                       math background, led me to my current job
for Virtual Reality (VR) at the time, with                 My involvement with Beckman began             as a quantitative analyst at Lehman Brothers
(Beckman faculty member) George Francis                when Rachel Brady and Hank Kaczmarski             (a “quant” in the local slang). Regarding


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                     www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                   8
Syzygy, I’d say that I “invented it” and wrote       general, was a relentless force in writing code    to leave more applied pursuits (like computer
the original functional system. However,             professionally, in the right way. The greatest     programming) behind. And to have really
Camille Goudeseune and Jim Crowell deserve           thing about working at Beckman was being           followed that search to a conclusion (not
substantial credit as co-authors/co-developers.      able to interact with top notch people such as     *the* conclusion of course), being exposed to
They are impressive scientists/engineers and         these.                                             a number of the world’s real experts, was a real
contributed substantially to the final product.                                                         privilege. More recently, I’ve been interested in
I was lucky to work with them.                                                                          probability, stochastic differential equations,
                                                                                                        and modeling, really more applied than pure
   What other accomplishments would you like                                                            mathematics, which is a real switch for me,
to mention from your time at Beckman/Illinois?                                                          since I’m back to being interested in math
                                                                                                        again, and active in there again, but it’s a new
    Hank Kaczmarski did a very good job of                                                              area for me. So, in general, always learning
collaborating with artists in the university                                                            and always moving on.
community. In particular, I enjoyed working
with Yu Hasegawa-Johnson and Luc Vanier                                                                     Do you live and work in Manhattan? If
on dance performances. With Hasegawa-                                                                   so, how are you enjoying living and working
Johnson, we did a “long distance collaborative                                                          there compared to life on the prairie? Any great
dance” between Champaign and Los Angeles.                                                               memories from your time at Illinois?
And with Luc, we did a performance at the
Krannert Center along with an installation at                                                               I work at the Lehman Brothers
the Krannert Art Museum. Later, Hank took                                                               headquarters in Times Square. My wife and I
Syzygy and built a permanent museum exhibit                                                             live near downtown Brooklyn. The transition
in the Art Museum. So, in general, I was very                                                           was a little tough for me since I’ve been a
pleased to be involved with arts/technology                                                             midwesterner almost all of my life and lived
cross-disciplinary work.                                What is your job title at Lehman Brothers       in Champaign in particular for 1 years.
                                                     and how long have you been there? Could you        Champaign is low to the ground, relatively
   Could you talk about the Beckman/Illinois         describe as much as you are able what you do       empty (not densely packed), and very quiet.
people who influenced you, and the ways in           there? How did your experience at Illinois and     NYC is the opposite. So, for the first year, I
which they helped you; people such as perhaps        Beckman prepare you for your current position?     found myself listening to an iPod whenever
George Francis, or Hank, or whoever you care                                                            I was out, to drown out the chaos/newness,
to mention.                                             I’m a quantitative analyst at Lehman            which was a little intimidating. But, after that,
                                                     Brothers (a “quant”). Been there about            I suddenly adjusted, got rid of the iPod, and
    George Francis was a big influence. His          years. I work with algorithmic trading systems     enjoy paying attention to the city environment
visualization class helped me get back into          (so computerized trading of securities).           when I’m out.
programming after a long hiatus. Also, he               Beckman prepared me for this job in                 Here are four wonderful memories …
became a valued collaborator later when I            a number of ways: being able to produce            First, going to the comic book store on Green
was with the ISL, and he used Syzygy and the         results under time pressure; having to create      St. in Campustown every Wednesday to pick
ISL VR facilities for a number of his summer         a working “production” system; being able to       through the new comics. It was a constant in
classes for undergrads. These are part of some       analyze project requirements, do a design, and     my life during my time in C-U. Next, watching
sort of “research experience” campus program,        carry things through to their conclusion. But,     the Illini almost win the NCAA basketball
I think. In any case, George devotes quite a         most importantly, being in academia allows         title in some downtown Champaign sports
bit of energy and talent to mentoring young          one to explore new technologies and new            bar. Third, thinking back to my first few years
people and really deserves a lot of credit for       kinds of software. Following things through        in grad school, being on fellowship over the
service to the University.                           to their logical conclusions (making lots of       summer and just sitting around day after day
    Hank is someone I respect tremendously           mistakes along the way and going into dead         studying mathematical logic and not doing too
and feel very fortunate to have worked with.         ends) is a real luxury that isn’t always present   much else, the air conditioning in the shared
First of all, he is a down-to-earth person and       in the business world. Also, the freedom and       grad student office and the distinctive “Omega
extremely loyal and hard working. Second, he         opportunity to create (be it in software, some     series” in logic books, with their yellow-orange
is a real genius with manipulating/managing          technology, some math theorem) is precious.        covers. Fourth has got to be all the mornings
physical stuff ... electronics, displays, shipping   Taking real advantage of these opportunities       when I show up to work and take the Cube
stuff here and there, you name it. The hack he       gives one condensed practical experience           for a spin, just feeling the experience, in the
pulled off getting the Cube frame and screens        and a real edge in any technology intensive/       seemingly infinite blackness of that basement
into the Beckman basement is simply beyond           intellectual capital intensive business going      room...
belief. One of my favorite things regarding          forward.
working at ISL was his can-do, no-excuses,                                                                 Do you have any advice for students or others
hard-working attitude and I hope that rubbed            How did you become interested in math           who may want to follow a similar path to the one
off on me a little bit.                              and computer science? Is there one area, such as   you followed?
    I’d like to say how much I appreciated my        working with graphics, that intrigues you more
ISL colleagues Camille Goudeseune and Jim            than others?                                           Learn some useful skills. These will let you
Crowell. They both taught me a lot about                                                                support yourself and give you opportunities.
programming. I’m a much better programmer                I became interested in computers via           Learn some things that don’t seem practical
for having worked with them. Jim, being              computer graphics and video games when I           too. Otherwise, you won’t have the breadth of
a psychologist, taught me about human                was 10-years-old, so, in a sense, the VR was       knowledge and flexibility needed to try new
perception, how to be always open to doing           returning to my first love. But I’ve always        things and take risks. Always make sure to
things in a new way, and turned me on to the         liked to do a number of different things. It       build and do instead of talking about building
Python language. Camille amazed me with his          sounds corny, but for a long time, I got into      and doing. Don’t leave a job unfinished,
ability to create gadgets of all kinds, showed       a search for “truth”, which led naturally to       especially the last % that takes the majority
me that good error handling/error messages           mathematical logic (which is also called “the      of the work.
are critical parts of programming, and, in           foundations of mathematics” by some) and


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                    www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                   9
FACULTY PROFILE
    “They all told me to take
    this hard core math that I
    learned earning my Ph.D.
    and apply it toward helping
    out mankind. So I told
    myself ‘well now I have a
    job waiting on me so let me
    do something completely                                                                                              Todd Coleman holds a
                                                                                                                         cap with electrodes in this
    different and have some                                                                                              photo taken at his lab in the
    fun.’”                                                                                                               Beckman Institute
                                                                                                                         (Photo by Robin Scholz,
                 – Todd Coleman                                                                                          The News-Gazette)


Coleman Uses Engineering to Study Neuroscience
Todd Coleman had gone from a science and             Laboratory at the famed Massachusetts                optimal control, and feedback information
engineering magnet high school in Dallas to          General Hospital. The experiences led him            theory principles that explicitly take into
earning bachelor’s degrees in both computer          into completely new research areas, ones that        account the user’s behavior. This approach
engineering and electrical engineering at            fit in well with his appointment as a researcher     – as opposed to most current brain-machine
Michigan. What course his educational path           in HCII’s Artificial Intelligence group.             interfaces – includes the user’s brain as part of
would take him in graduate school at MIT he               Coleman came to Illinois in 00 where,         a dynamic system.
wasn’t exactly sure going in, but it’s a safe bet    as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and              “The user, by virtue of the visual feedback
he didn’t expect to be solving mysteries of the      Computer Engineering, much of his research           from what he sees, is going to control this
human brain.                                         involves computational neuroscience, or using        process by what he thinks,” Coleman said.
    “When I went to MIT I didn’t know if I           statistical and computational approaches             “What we’re really trying to espouse is: what
was going to go the hard core computer science       to understand brain function. He seeks               are the first principle approaches as to how
route or the hard core electrical engineering        to understand how the brain represents               we can really look at this as a closed-loop
route,” Coleman said.                                information by investigating how neuron              dynamical system where there’s feedback? Just
    Coleman, a member of the Human-                  “spike trains” encode information and has            the whole idea of having the brain in the loop
Computer Intelligent Interaction (HCII)              begun to design novel, non-invasive brain-           for these brain-machine interfaces opens up so
research initiative at the Beckman Institute,        machine interface applications.                      many different opportunities.”
chose electrical engineering for his Master’s             “We know that neurons generate these                Coleman said modeling human cognition
and Ph.D. but his most recent path followed          little flickers of energy called action potentials   in this context is challenging. “It’s a non-
a different course, one geared more toward           and it’s basically the timing at which they          trivial task for a number of reasons but we’re
the human part of the human-computer                 generate all these spikes that is carrying all       chipping away at it slowly but surely.”
equation.                                            the information,” Coleman said. “What                    Coleman said he was inspired to add a
    Coleman’s Master’s and Ph.D. thesis advisor      I am interested in understanding is how              biological/application component to his
at MIT was Muriel Medard, a Professor of             is information about the environment, or             research by friends from Michigan who were
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science          information about intent, or information             also studying in Boston while he was at MIT.
and former faculty member at Illinois. By the        about sound, how is that specifically encoded            “They were doing M.D./Ph.D.s or doing
time Coleman earned his Ph.D. from MIT               in the timing of the spike trains and I like to      biological imaging. They all told me to take
(and the offer of a faculty position at Illinois),   use statistical principles to do that.”              this hard core math that I learned earning
Medard was urging him to try something                    Coleman, along with his students and            my Ph.D. and apply it toward helping out
different before starting the life of a professor    collaborators and Beckman colleagues Tim             mankind,” Coleman said. “So I told myself
and researcher.                                      Bretl and Ed Maclin have begun to address            ‘well now I have a job waiting on me so let me
    “She said that would give me more time to        brain-machine-interface problems by using            do something completely different and have
mature as a thinker, to work on a completely         non-invasive EEGs to record the brain’s              some fun.”
different class of problems,” Coleman said.          electrical signals of test subjects during task          Coleman said Medard and Brown were
“So I decided to try and pursue something            performance. They then create statistical            also important influences on him.
biological.”                                         models of these neural datasets and signal               “Emery and Muriel are two of my closest
    That “something biological” turned out to        processing algorithms that “decode” what             mentors now,” he said. “Both Emery and
involve neuroscience. Delaying his teaching          the subject’s intent was; from these come            Muriel are very down-to-earth, normal people
career at Illinois for a year, Coleman did           signals that can be used to guide a cursor to        who value family and treat people as human
a postdoctoral stint with Emery Brown, a             aid someone, for example, in searching for a         beings. Everyone calls them on a first name
doctor and nationally-known Professor of             location on a map, or someday perhaps, in            basis; the human component is very strong in
Computational Neuroscience from MIT’s                using a prosthetic limb.                             both of them and I admire them for that.”
Department of Brain and Cognitive Science                 Coleman’s methods use adaptive querying
and the Neuroscience Statistics Research             techniques inspired by data compression,


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                    www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                     10
 HONORS & AWARDS
moore eLected to AAAs                                honors people under the age of  whose in-        sProAt nAmed universitY schoLAr
               Beckman Institute researcher          novative work in technology and business has                     Beckman Institute researcher
               Jeffrey Moore has earned the          a profound impact on today’s world.                              Richard Sproat has been named
               prestigious honor of election to                                                                       a University Scholar by the Uni-
               the American Academy of Arts          AhujA Wins hP LAbs innovAtion                                    versity of Illinois. The University
               and Sciences, along with Univer-      AWArd                                                            Scholars program “recognizes
               sity of Illinois Chancellor Rich-                    Beckman Institute researcher                      excellence while helping to iden-
               ard Herman and other luminar-                        Narendra Ahuja won a coveted                      tify and retain the University’s
ies from the arts, academia, and government.                        008 HP Labs Innovation Re-         most talented teachers, scholars and research-
Moore, a faculty member in the Autonomous                           search Award, it was announced      ers.” Sproat is a full-time faculty member in
Materials Systems group and the Murchison-                          Thursday. Ahuja is a full-time      Beckman’s Artificial Intelligence group and
Mallory Professor of Chemistry at Illinois, will                    faculty member in Beckman’s         a professor in the Department of Linguistics
be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 11 at the                          Artificial Intelligence group and   and the Department of Electrical and Com-
academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.           a professor in the Illinois Department of Elec-    puter Engineering.
Other new members this year include U.S.             trical and Computer Engineering. Ahuja is
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice John          one of 1 winners of the award, which is de-       rogers nAmed mrs FeLLoW
Paul Stevens, two-time cabinet secretary and         signed to encourage open collaboration with                      Beckman Institute researcher
former White House Chief of Staff James A.           HP Labs on projects that result in mutually                      John Rogers has been chosen
Baker III, Academy Award-winning filmmak-            beneficial, high-impact research. HP reviewed                    by the Materials Research So-
ers Ethan and Joel Coen and Milos Forman,            more than 0 proposals from 00 universi-                       ciety (MRS) as a member of
Emory University Provost and historian Earl          ties in 8 countries before selecting the 1                     its inaugural class of MRS Fel-
Lewis, Darwin biographer Janet Browne, Pu-           projects from  different institutions. The                     lows. Rogers, who is a member
litzer Prize-winning novelist Edwards P. Jones,      title of his project is “-D Reconstruction of                   of Beckman’s -D Micro and
and blues guitarist B.B. King.                       Dynamic Real-World Objects and D Mo-              Nanosystems group, is a Founder Professor
                                                     tion Aided Gesture Recognition.”                   of Engineering and faculty member in the
broWn Wins mosher AWArd                                                                                 University of Illinois departments of Materials
               Beckman Institute Founding            huAng nAmed          As   AcAdemiA sinicA          Science and Engineering and of Chemistry.
               Director Ted Brown has been           AcAdemiciAn
               named as the 008 winner of                          Human-Computer Intelligent          seLF-heALing reseArchers honored
               the American Chemical Soci-                          Interaction Co-chair Thomas         With sciAm 50 AWArd
               ety’s Mosher Award. The Harry                        Huang has been named by Aca-
               and Carol Mosher Award is pre-                       demia Sinica as an Academician
               sented by the Santa Clara Sec-                       for 008. Academia Sinica is a
tion of the American Chemical Society (ACS)                         world-renowned research insti-
to recognize and encourage outstanding work                         tution founded in China in 198
in chemistry, advance chemistry as a profes-         and based in Taiwan that seeks to promote and
sion, and recognize service to ACS. Brown is         perform scholarly research in the sciences and     Beckman Institute researchers Nancy Sottos,
the Beckman Institute’s Founding Director,           humanities. Huang was honored along with           Jeff Moore, and Scott White (pictured
serving as its first director until his retirement   seven others in the Division of Mathematics        respectively, left to right), who pioneered self-
in 199. He has also won many awards hon-            and Physical Sciences. Academia Sinica has a       healing materials, have earned a 007 SciAm
ors over the years, including being honored as       total of 0 Academicians and almost 1,000         0 award from Scientific American magazine.
a Fellow of both the American Association for        principle investigators working at its  re-      The awards are given annually to innovators
the Advancement of Science and the Ameri-            search institutes and seven research centers.      in business, policy, and research for work in a
can Academy of Arts and Sciences.                    Huang is a member of the Image Formation           wide variety of areas, such as fuel alternatives
                                                     and Processing group at Beckman and Profes-        and neurological insights. Their research was
FAng nAmed to List               oF    35 toP        sor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at      chosen by Scientific American for a 007
Young innovAtors                                     Illinois.                                          SciAm 0 Material World award for their
              Nicholas Fang, a member of                                                                biologically-inspired development of synthetic
              Beckman’s -D Micro and                LLerAs receives nsF cAreer                         materials that can self-repair cracks and other
              Nanosystems group, has been            AWArd                                              breaks. The Scientific American article on the
              selected as one of this year’s                      Alejandro Lleras, a member of       Material World awards states that “the new
              Top Young Innovators by Tech-                         the Beckman Institute’s Human       material can repair minor cracks up to seven
              nology Review, the world’s old-                       Perception and Performance          times at each location, improving on the
              est technology magazine. Fang, a                      group, was the recipient of a       group’s previous system.” In describing this
professor of Mechanical Science and Engineer-                       coveted Early Faculty CAREER        year’s award winners, Scientific American writes
ing, and fellow Illinois faculty member Martin                      award from the National Science     that “sometimes new technologies actually
Burke were chosen by the editors of Technol-                        Foundation. Lleras, an Assistant    live up to some of the wildest expectations for
ogy Review, published by the Massachusetts           Professor in the Department of Psychology, re-     them” and “What they have done is decidedly
Institute of Technology, for the award which         ceived a $00,000 award as part of the honor.      new.”


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                    www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                  11
   RECENT BECKMAN INSTITUTE RESEARCH

  IN THE NEWS
Let video gAmes reAd Your mind                      opens new possibilities for advanced camera          uLtrAsonic Frogs cAn tune their eArs
August  – A lightweight headset that allows       design. It also foreshadows artificial retinas for   to diFFerent Frequencies
players of computer games to move items             bionic eyes similar in concept to those in the       July  – Beckman Institute researcher Albert
on the screen with their thoughts could well        movie “Terminator” and other popular sci-            Feng and his collaborators have discovered
benefit far more than just game fanatics, says      ence fiction.                                        that a frog that lives near noisy springs in cen-
Monica Fabiani, a Beckman researcher and                                       U of I News Bureau        tral China can tune its ears to different sound
U. of I. psychology professor. “Often, when                                                              frequencies, much like the tuner on a radio
companies make products that are comfort-           Protein FoLding                                      can shift from one frequency to another. It is
able and easy to use by the public, interesting     August  – Researchers led by Beckman fac-           the only known example of an animal that can
applications on the medical side” follow, she       ulty member and U. of I. chemistry professor         actively select what frequencies it hears, the re-
said.                                               Martin Gruebele and Martina Havenith of              searchers say.
                                   USA Today        Ruhr-University Bochum used newly devel-                                          U of I News Bureau
                                                    oped Kinetic Terahertz Absorption Spectros-
evoLution trAcked through ribosomes                 copy to gain a better understanding of water’s       itg imAge eArns cover oF LAb on A
August  – A new study of the ribosome, the        role in protein folding.                             chiP
cell’s protein-building machinery, sheds light                                       Science Daily       July 1 – The Beckman Institute’s Imaging
on the oldest branches of the evolutionary tree                                                          Technology Group (ITG) earned the cover of
of life and suggests that differences in ribosom-   Autonomic mAteriALs                                  the July 008 issue of Lab on a Chip for ITG
al structure between the three main branches        August 1 – Scott White, a Beckman researcher         staff member Janet Sinn-Hanlon’s rendering
of that tree are “molecular fossils” of the early   and U. of I. professor of aerospace engineer-        of HeLa cells being captured and cultured
evolution of protein synthesis. Elijah Roberts,     ing, is the founder of Autonomic Materials,          on silicon cantilevers within microfluidic de-
a Beckman affiliated graduate student, was the      a company in Champaign that is developing            vices.
lead author of the study that confirmed and         self-healing coatings for ships, oil rigs, and
extended the early work of U. of I. microbiol-      other structures.                                    hoddeson ProFiLes bArdeen
ogy professor Carl Woese. Beckman researcher                                         News-Gazette        July 1 – Beckman Institute faculty mem-
and Illinois chemistry professor Zaida Luthey-                                                           ber Lillian Hoddeson, the Thomas M. Siebel
Schulten is a co-author of the study.               shAnnon testiFies beFore congress                    Chair in the History of Science at the Uni-
                                   RedOrbit.com     July  – Beckman researcher and U. of I. en-        versity of Illinois, has written a feature story
                                                    gineering professor Mark Shannon, the direc-         about famed Illinois professor and two-time
inAttentionAL        bLindness        dAngers       tor of the Center of Advanced Materials for          Nobel Prize winner John Bardeen for Illi-
demonstrAted                                        the Purification of Water with Systems, testi-       nois Alumni magazine. Hoddeson, who has
August 8 – Experiments conducted by U. of I.        fied before a House energy and environment           written a biography of Bardeen, profiles the
psychology professor Daniel Simons and col-         subcommittee this month in support of a bill         theoretical mind behind the transistor in the
leagues at the Beckman Institute demonstrat-        focusing on water development, demonstra-            May/June issue.
ed the dangers of “inattentional blindness.”        tion projects, education and outreach, and                                  Illinois Alumni Magazine
                            Bicycling Magazine      technology-transfer activities.
                                                                            Energy & Environment         First simuLAtion oF binding oF
PervAsive comPuting                                                                                      moLecuLes to A Protein
August 7 – Beckman faculty member and               nAnotube        mesh      b oosts      PLAstic       June 0 – Beckman Institute researcher Emad
U. of I. Computer and Electrical Engineer-          eLectronics                                          Tajkhorshid has once again used computer
ing professor Thomas Huang and three other          July  – A team of researchers from the U.          simulation for a scientific breakthrough – this
researchers explain that for computing to be-       of I. and Purdue University have overcome a          time he has provided insight into an impor-
come all-pervasive and useful, it must adapt        major obstacle in producing transistors from         tant cellular recycling process in the body and
to people’s natural way of living, communicat-      networks of carbon nanotubes, a technology           shown, for the first time ever, a simulation of
ing, and working.                                   that could make it possible to print circuits on     the binding of a molecule to a protein.
                              Innovations Report    plastic sheets for applications including flex-                                  U of I News Bureau
                                                    ible displays, and an electronic skin to cover
stretchAbLe siLicon       cAmerA next steP          an entire aircraft to monitor crack formation.       Protein drugs
to A rtiFiciAL retinA                               “These findings represent the culmination of         June 0 – “Protein drugs have huge therapeu-
August  – As reported in the Aug. 7 issue of       four years of collaborative efforts between the      tic potential, except they have almost no life-
the journal Nature, Beckman Institute’s John        Illinois and Purdue groups,” said John A. Rog-       time under normal physiological conditions,”
Rogers and his collaborators have developed         ers, a Beckman researcher. “The work estab-          says Jeffrey Moore, a Beckman researcher and
a high-performance, hemispherical “eye” cam-        lished the fundamental scientific knowledge          chemist at Illinois, who was commenting on
era using an array of single-crystalline silicon    that led to this particular breakthrough and         another scientist’s development of backbone-
detectors and electronics, configured in a          the ability to make circuits.”                       enhanced proteins.
stretchable, interconnected mesh. The work                                         Chemistry World                           Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                   www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                     1
BECKMAN IN THE NEWS
                                                    nAnomembrAnes get tough                             researcher and professor of cell and develop-
                                                    May 8 – A new chemical approach to mak-            mental biology at Illinois.
                                                    ing strong carbon films less than  nanometers                                   The Boston Globe
             CONTINUED                              thick could help speed their use in molecular
siLicon Photonic crYstALs keY to                    sieves and flexible displays, according to re-      exhibition FeAtures designs For the
oPticAL cLoAking                                    searchers in the U.S. The tough nanomem-            disAbLed
June  – Now you see it, soon you might not,       branes made by the team, led by Beckman             May 1 – A current campus exhibition of de-
researchers at the University of Illinois say. In   researchers Jeffrey Moore and John Rogers,          signs and prototypes created with and for
computer simulations, the researchers, includ-      come in a variety of shapes and sizes, includ-      students with disabilities highlights the em-
ing Beckman affiliate Harley Johnson, have          ing balloons, tubes and pleats.                     pathic design approach of Deana McDonagh,
demonstrated an approximate cloaking effect                                        Chemistry World      a Beckman Institute researcher and Professor
created by concentric rings of silicon photonic                                                         of Industrial Design.
crystals. The mathematical proof brings sci-        Photonic crYstALs                                                              U of I News Bureau
entists a step closer to a practical solution for   May  – For decades, scientists have dreamed
optical cloaking.                                   of computer chips that manipulate light rath-       coPPer nAnoWires groWn bY neW
                             U of I News Bureau     er than electricity. Unlike electrons, photons      Process creAte Long-LAsting disPLAYs
                                                    can cross paths without interfering with each       April 8 – A new low-temperature, catalyst-
AWAreness test                                      other, so optical chips could compute in three      free technique for growing copper nanowires
June  – An award-winning television ad for        dimensions rather than two, crunching data in       has been developed by researchers at the Uni-
Transport for London called “Awareness Test,”       seconds that now takes weeks to process. “You       versity of Illinois including Beckman affiliate
about cycle safety and featuring a moon-walk-       can take the light, criss-cross it and it doesn’t   Kyekyoon (Kevin) Kim. The copper nanow-
ing bear, has come in for criticism in some         interfere. It allows you to build more complex      ires could serve as interconnects in electronic
quarters for its remarkable similarity to a video   and compact architectures,” said Paul Braun,        device fabrication and as electron emitters in
created in 1999 by Beckman researcher and U.        a Beckman researcher and U. of I. materials         a television-like, very thin flat-panel display
of I. psychology professor Daniel Simons for        science professor.                                  known as a field-emission display.
the Visual Cognition Laboratory at Illinois.                                                   Wired                                U of I News Bureau
                                  The Guardian
                                                    exercise And the brAin                              brAun’s LAb demonstrAtes bending Light
inventing WAter’s Future                            May 1 – “I think we still have limited knowl-      April 1 – Beckman researcher and U. of I.
June  – “As dire as the growing problems are      edge of how to rank different kinds of exer-        materials science and engineering professor
with a lack of enough clean water in the world,     cises that humans could be asked to choose          Paul Braun has created -D optical wave-
I have a great deal of hope that many of these      or engage in,” said Bill Greenough, a U. of I.      guides out of photonic crystals that should
problems can be solved by increasing research       neuroscientist at the Beckman Institute. Gre-       make possible to trap light, slow it down and
into the science and technology of water pu-        enough and his colleagues were among the            bend it around sharp corners, without fear of
rification,” said Mark Shannon, a Beckman           first scientists to take an in-depth look at how    it escaping.
researcher and professor of mechanical science      exercise causes physical changes in the brain.                                       New Scientist
and engineering at Illinois.                                                             The Bulletin
                                         Forbes                                                         siLicon circuits thAt FoLd And stretch
                                                    k rAmer’s reseArch sPotLighted in neW               April 1 – “The notion that silicon cannot
chAsiotis LeAds teAm oF student mems                York times                                          be used in such applications because it is in-
Winners                                             May 1 – A special New York Times section           trinsically brittle and rigid has been tossed out
June  – The student team from the Univer-          on wellness includes a feature story quoting        the window,” says John Rogers, a Beckman
sity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under         Beckman Institute researcher Art Kramer             researcher and materials science professor at
the leadership of Professor Ioannis Chasiotis,      about his work showing the power of exercise        Illinois.
won in the “Characterization, Reliability, and      to improve brain function.                                             Chemical & Engineering News
Nanoscale Phenomena” category by creating                                        New York Times
a design for the first MEMS platform able to                                                            technique tAkes chemicAL AnALYsis to
perform creep and stress relaxation tests on        hsu’s reseArch eFForts FeAtured in                  FemtogrAm scALe
polymeric, metallic, and biological nanofi-         science                                             April 1 – A laboratory technique developed
bers.                                               May 8 – Beckman Fellow Ming Hsu has a               by William King, a Beckman researcher and
                                  Sandia Labs       paper appearing in Science that highlights his      U. of I. professor of materials science and en-
                                                    study of moral decision-making. Hsu’s work is       gineering, can describe both the structure and
estimAting A Person’s A ge                          also featured in Synergy 9.                         chemical composition of samples with a mass
May 0 – Computer engineers Yun Fu, a                                           U of I News Bureau      of less than one femtogram (one quadrillionth
graduate student at the U. of I.’s Beckman                                                              of a gram) using standard laboratory equip-
Institute, and Thomas Huang, a Beckman              WAtkin deveLoPing “smArt             heLmets”       ment.
researcher and professor of electrical and com-     For injurY detection                                                               Lab Technologist
puter engineering at Illinois, have trained a       May 8 – The work of Beckman Institute re-
computer system to estimate a person’s age          searcher Kenneth Watkin is profiled in the          imitAting nAture With seLF-heALing
based on facial features.                           News-Gazette. Watkin is collaborating on a          mAteriALs
                                   PhysOrg.com      project that is developing “smart helmets” that     April 1 – Two research groups - one in the
                                                    can sense brain injuries.                           U.S. and one in the U.K. - have independently
sociAL interAction And the brAin                                                      News-Gazette      tried to create composite materials that mend
May 0 – According to Art Kramer, a U. of I.                                                            themselves if damaged. The American initia-
psychology professor at the Beckman Institute,      the brAin And behAvior                              tive, led at the U. of I. by Beckman researcher
social interaction might be one of the keys to      May  – “The clarity of how the brain con-          and chemistry professor Jeff Moore and col-
keeping the brain in shape as people age.           trols behaviors is shown in sharp relief in         leagues, focuses on the problem by adding ex-
                             The Courier News       songbirds,” says David Clayton, a Beckman           tra components to composites.
                                                                                                                                     The Economic Times


SYNERGY • FALL 008 • NO. 10                                   www.beckman.uiuc.edu                                                                   1

				
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