Community

Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity 

The Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity initiative at the Beckman Institute endeavors to bring together research on, and researchers interested in, eliciting, measuring, and modeling learning and brain plasticity. It encourages multidisciplinary studies of response to various types of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience-directed interventions (including cognitive training, non-invasive brain stimulation, physical fitness training, mindfulness meditation, and nutritional intervention), as well as in efforts to mitigate or reverse the effects of cognitive aging, memory loss, executive dysfunction, brain injury, and disease.

Center on Health, Aging and Disability 

The Center on Health, Aging and Disability (CHAD) is housed in the College of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. CHAD provides support services for leadership in national and international interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach that promotes health and wellness across the lifespan; healthy aging; healthy communities; and optimal participation of individuals with disabilities. The Center serves as a catalyst around which discoveries are made, critical societal issues are addressed, and exemplary educational and outreach opportunities are provided.

Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory 

Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory (CNLM) drives the understanding of nutrition’s impact on brain cognition. The Center is the first interdisciplinary cognition and nutrition research center in the country. It is an innovative partnership between University of Illinois and Abbott Nutrition. Leveraging these resources as well as global experts across a variety of scientific disciplines, the Center aims to push the field of traditional nutrition science research forward with leading-edge brain imaging and supercomputing technologies. Made possible by a five-year investment from Abbott, the Center hosts an annual research competition to support pioneering, multi-disciplinary research, enabling teams of investigators to apply new technologies and thinking from across a wide range of disciplines to take nutrition and cognition research to a new level. The research at the CNLM is led by faculty at Illinois, in partnership with the leading scientists in cognition, brain function and supporting technologies from all over the world.

Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience 

The Cognition, Lifespan Engagement, Aging, and Resilience (CLEAR) initiative promotes scientific research on the nature of aging and successful cognitive development during adulthood, with a focal interest in how engagement—a sustained investment in physical, mentally stimulating, and/or social activities—contributes to cognitive health and well-being with aging.

Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems

The mission of Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS) is to create a new scientific discipline for building living, multi-cellular machines that solve real world problems in health, security, and the environment. It will address the grand challenge of engineering multi-cellular biological machines that have desired functionalities and can perform prescribed tasks. These machines consist of sensing, information processing, actuation, protein expression, and transport elements that can be effectively combined to create functional units. The broader scientific goals of EBICS are to establish a fundamental understanding of cell-cell and cell-environment interactions, and their control by biochemical and mechanical cues; assemble and characterize the properties and performance of multi-cellular machines, and thereby create the nascent discipline for building living, multi-cellular machines for a wide range of applications.

Children's Environmental Health Research Center at Illinois

The goal of the Children's Environmental Health Research Center at Illinois is to study the effects of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and other chemicals found in plastics and personal care products on neurological and reproductive development and function. Center research is also addressing whether obesity or a diet high in saturated fats interacts with exposures to these chemicals to increase risk, and whether oxidative stress and/or inflammation play a role in mediating the effects of these chemicals. Exposures during two critical developmental windows – the prenatal period and the adolescent/pubertal period – are being studied in human populations and in parallel animal models. An important goal of the center is to communicate research findings to parents, childcare providers, healthcare providers and policy makers through the Community Outreach and Translation Core.

Children and Family Research Center 

The Children and Family Research Center, is an independent research organization created jointly with the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The goal of the Center is to identify research needs and support research that is policy and practice relevant and encourage and facilitate public child welfare research activities through collaborative relationships.

CompGen Initiative

The CompGen Initiative seeks to combine the collective strengths of Illinois’ genomic research with its prowess in large-scale parallel systems and big data to develop new technology that enables future genomic breakthroughs. As part of the initiative, researchers aim to build an instrument that allows scientists to manage and process genomic information and algorithm development, while providing high accuracy of results, resilience to errors, and scalability with growing volumes of data. The new technology could enable a better understanding of the basic processes of life, illumination on how evolution works, and custom treatments for disease, among other discoveries. 

Family Resiliency Center 

The Family Resiliency Center (FRC) is a transdisciplinary research and policy center that addresses grand societal challenges associated with food and family. FRC is a leader in translating research into practical information for policy makers, providers, and families and in educating the next generation of researchers, practitioners, and community leaders. The center is housed in Doris Kelley Christopher Hall, a state-of-the-art research and education facility on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Facilities include a research home, a unique observational facility designed to simulate a family home. Researchers may use the fully equipped kitchen, dining area, living area complete with a television/DVD player, and an adjoining interview room. The observational area is equipped with seven unobtrusive video cameras and seven wired microphones that allow for 360-degree recording of family, couple, and group interactions. 

Health Care Engineering Systems Center 

The Health Care Engineering Systems Center (HCESC) provides clinical immersion to engineers and fosters collaborations between engineers and physicians. The goal is to use the deep expertise in the broad areas of Health Information Technologies, Sensing and Devices, Materials and Mechanics, and Human Factors/Industrial Ergonomics and Design (and other areas to be identified in the future) to develop collaborative projects which could be used for simulation in training of medical practitioners of tomorrow. By developing new technologies and cyber-physical systems, HCESC will enhance medical training and practice, and in collaboration with key partners, drive the training of medical practitioners of the future.

Parallel Computing Institute

The Parallel Computing Institute (PCI) is designed to enable Illinois researchers from across campus to come together in new, application-focused research centers and achieve their scientific goals using the latest and most efficient parallel computing technologies. PCI aims to build powerful and efficient infrastructure for computation-heavy applications, such as the ability to read MRI results in real-time, weather and disease prediction tools, individualized genomic analysis tools for targeted treatments, design tools for new nano-scale materials, ultra-realistic video gaming and videoconferencing, immersive reality and others. Researchers from a variety of disciplines are collaborating to build new hardware and software that will enable more powerful and efficient computing for everything from multicore processors in commodity electronics to supercomputers with nearly a million processing elements. By approaching problems in a strategic, interdisciplinary way, PCI is developing solutions with greater impact.

Systems On Nanoscale Information fabriCs

Systems On Nanoscale Information fabriCs (SONIC) is a multi-university research center focusing on the design of robust, energy efficient, and intelligent computing platforms using emerging nanoscale devices, which are inspired by the information processing principles found in communication and biological systems. The SONIC team envisions a transformation of computing from primarily low-level data processing into higher-level information processing on beyond-CMOS and scaled CMOS fabrics. Processing of information (essence) as opposed to data (form) comes with the tangible benefits of leading to the design of intelligent (reasoning-based decision-making) platforms and enabling equivalent scaling (that is functionally dense, energy-efficient, and robust) in the beyond-CMOS/post-2020 era. The latter arises from mapping of information (which, unlike data, is intrinsically statistical in nature) and information processing (as opposed to data processing) onto nanoscale beyond-CMOS device fabrics, which are also intrinsically statistical in their behavior.

Mechanisms of Cognitive Control

Cognitive control is a hallmark of intelligent behavior. To behave flexibly and adaptively we must constantly re-direct our sensory systems (attention) and update our behavior to reflect our current goals. Researchers in the Beckman Institute's Mechanisms of Cognitive Control (MoCC) group investigate the fundamental mechanisms involved in cognitive control in order to understand how we coordinate a range of complex behaviors, with the ultimate goal of improving cognitive control in both humans and machines.