The Beckman Symposium is a three-day event where Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation program awardees present their newest research findings as poster or oral presentations. Attendees are given opportunities to network, learn about a broad range of research topics from their peers, and discuss career tips with invited experts from academia, industry, and medicine.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s event is being presented in a virtual space. The agenda for our first-ever virtual Symposium has been carefully composed to feature a combination of live webinars and pre-recorded content that showcases our Beckman Young Investigators, Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows, Beckman Scholars and Cryo-EM Instrumentation Grantees, along with a research poster hall, program booths, Q+A chats and networking lounge. (And don’t forget to explore every aspect of the event to accumulate points for a chance to win prizes.)
The newest additions to our Beckman Symposium guest list represent local high school science students from the CubeSat program and the inaugural year awardees and mentors of our Orange County Beckman Legacy Program. To all attendees: This space was developed to promote sharing of scientific knowledge and to foster collaboration. As a friendly reminder: The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for Symposium guests. All participants are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct when spending time online with other Foundation awardees, colleagues in your field, distinguished scientists from across the United States, and other guests of the Foundation. The guidelines are intended to ensure that all participants have a pleasant and productive virtual event, free from disruptions.
We hope you enjoy the 2020 Beckman Symposium!
Dr. Allodi is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee and is currently pursuing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago investigating how quantum mechanical process in natural photosynthetic organisms can be used to design next generation photovoltaic materials. He received his PhD in Chemistry with a minor in Physics from Caltech and a BA summa cum laude in Chemical Physics from Hamilton College. Dr. Allodi has won many awards such as the DARPA riser postdoctoral award, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship at Caltech, a Fulbright Fellowship to Germany, and a Goldwater Scholarship. His thesis received the McCoy thesis prize from Caltech in 2015.
Dr. Ashtekar is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee and is a postdoctoral associate at Yale School of Medicine. His research interests are in Synthetic and Bioorganic Chemistry. Dr. Ashtekar received his PhD in Chemistry from Michigan State University, MS in Chemistry at the University of Pune, and BS in Chemistry from N.M Wadia College.
Dr. Isaacman-Beck is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee who received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and BS in Chemistry from Haverford College. He is a postdoctoral fellow in Neurobiology at Stanford University with the goal of translating basic neurobiological research to clinical outcomes. In his brief career at the bench, he has made important discoveries related to HIV infection, nerve regeneration, and the molecular mechanisms of neuronal signaling. More recently, he has developed and optimized a new genetic tool that is reshaping how molecular neuroscience is done. He credits Arnold Beckman and the Beckman foundation with inspiring and facilitating this work, which he will detail in this presentation. Dr. Isaacman-Beck is also passionate about developing social justice in STEM. He loves mentoring people from different backgrounds at all levels of scientific literacy and passing on his enthusiasm for scientific research to the general population. He also fights for equity for all trainees and scientists by making local policy changes to support these constituencies. In this vein he's been really excited to work with Catrina Bryant to find ways to ensure that Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows are most successful in their fellowships and chosen careers.
Jonathon Bower is an incoming high school senior and the lead of the Beckman Avionics team of the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program. Jonathon is interested in Electrical Engineering and computer science, and outside of CubeSat, he competes on a VEX robotics team.
Sarina Doshi will be entering her senior year at Beckman high school, as well as her second year as a member of Cubesat’s Avionics team. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine or biomedical engineering and enjoys teaching classes in Biology & Biochemistry.
Carmen Drahl is a freelance science journalist whose work has appeared in Forbes, Science News, and Scientific American. She's covered the search for the origins of life on Earth, explained how shrimp shells could become biodegradable plastics, and revealed the scientific principles that lead to crispy Thanksgiving turkey skin. At Chemical & Engineering News, Dr. Drahl covered organic and medicinal chemistry and later helped direct and edit the magazine's weekly coverage. At C&EN she catalyzed social media initiatives and co-launched the award-winning YouTube series "Speaking of Chemistry". She has also worked on the communications team for Michelin-starred Chef José Andrés, a lecturer at Harvard's Science and Cooking course. Carmen earned her Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry with Erik J. Sorensen at Princeton University. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Eric Ho is a junior at Arnold O. Beckman High School and is the software lead for Beckman's CubeSat Program. Eric is also a member of Beckman's Chamber Orchestra and Math Club. He is interested in electrical engineering and computer science and enjoys working on his side projects outside of school.
Dr. Hultgren joined the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 2015 as Executive Director and CEO. Previously, she was at the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, working in chemical and biological defense technologies.
Kaylee Kim is an incoming junior at Beckman High School, and is a second-year member of the Irvine CubeSat program's Avionics subteam. She enjoys learning about computer science, and is interested in game development.
Dr. Luongo is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech. He studies the neural mechanisms underlying object segmentation in the visual cortex. Dr. Luongo received a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco and a BS in Biology/Biological Sciences from Stanford University.
Mr. May has served on the Board of Directors of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation since 2001, and most recently as Chairman of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation since 2017.
Ms. McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate where she teaches communication techniques from an actor's point of view. She specializes in public speaking, scientific communications, interview skills, and interpersonal communications. She has taught workshops for Fortune 500 companies, privately coached CEOs, and taught communication certificate programs at universities.
Dr. Mosher is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee and a postdoctoral fellow at in a NIH-supported lab at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University and a BA in Neuroscience and Behavior from Vassar College.
Dr. Freddy T. Nguyen, MD, PhD, is an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Pathology Resident at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is the co-director of the MIT COVID-19 Challenge and former co-director for MIT Hacking Medicine. Dr. Nguyen currently serves on the MIT Committee on Assessment of Biohazards & Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight.
He was the In Vivo Microscopy Fellow at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Mathematics from Rice University.
His current research interests lie in the development and translation of optical imaging techniques, targeted particle development, nanoscale sensors, and informatics particularly in their applications to the fields of oncology, cardiology, gastroenterology, and transfusion medicine both in the diagnostics space and in the treatment monitoring space. His prior work focused on spectroscopic techniques such as intrinsic fluorescence, Raman, diffuse reflectance, and light scattering for the detection and diagnosis of cancer as well as evaluate tumor responses to chemotherapeutics.
Dr. Nguyen has been a strong advocate for trainees throughout his career. He was the founder, president, and chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA). He was recognized by the Excellence in Medicine Award from the American Medical Association Foundation. He represented his peers on the Associate Member Council of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and on the Council of Student Members for the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Dr. Sikder is an opthalmologist who specializes in corneal disorders and is interested in surgical treatments for corneal diseases as well as surgical education. She is also the director of the Center of Excellenece for Ophthalmic Surgical Education and Training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Sikder received a MD and BS in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Smith is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and specializes in eye research. She has had a long standing interest in eye diseases particularly retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and in the mechanisms behind these diseases, particularly the underlying causes of neovascularization and the interactions between neurons and vessels. Many pathways that she has found have been translated into clinical trials, including replacement of IGF-1 in preterm infants and treatment of AMD with anti-VEGF antibodies in which she was the first to show the benefit of blocking VEGF in a mouse model of retinopathy. She has shown the importance of omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the development of retinopathy, again translated into a clinical trial of lipid replacement in ROP. More recently she has been interested in metabolic function in photoreceptors, particularly with respect to lipids. Photoreceptor metabolic dysfunction causes central vision loss in retinal degenerative diseases (including ROP) but is also implicated in age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Suppressed glucose uptake in VLRLR-/- mice through FFAF1 leads to decreased cone photoreceptor metabolism; If lipid metabolic dysregulation of photoreceptors can be controlled safely with drugs blocking FFAR1, vision could be maintained in ROP as well as NV AMD and DR. Her work has been recognized by the Friedenwald Award, the Bressler Prize, the Heed-Gutman award, the Cless prize and the Silverman Award.
Dr. Strobel is a 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship awardee, a current postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University and a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University. He received his PhD in Microbiology from Cornell University and BS in Biology from St. John's University. He will begin his appointment as an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo in August 2020.
Dr. Wangensteen is a practicing physician at Penn Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He specialized in internal medicine and gastroenterology and has his own research lab that focuses on the genetics of liver repopulation and hepatocellular carcinoma. Dr. Wangensteen completed his MD/PhD at the University of Minnesota and went on to complete his residency at the University of Vermont Medical Center and specialized in Internal Medicine. Afterward, he completed his fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and specialized in Gastroenterology. He became faculty and opened his lab at Penn in 2018.
Shoshana Williams is a 2019 Beckman Scholar awardee in the laboratory of Rachel Austin. She recently graduated Barnard College summa cum laude with an AB in Chemistry and a minor in Religion. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received a student award from the American Institute of Chemists as well as the Grace Potter Rice Fellowship for students who show promise of distinction in graduate studies. She has performed research in inorganic biochemistry since her first year of undergrad. In 2018, she was selected as an Amgen Scholar at Washington University, where she studied developmental biology in the Kornfeld lab. This fall, Ms. Williams will begin her PhD in chemical biology at Stanford University. She intends to pursue an academic career.
Located in Irvine, California, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation supports researchers and nonprofit research institutions in making the next generation of breakthroughs in chemistry and the life sciences. Founded in 1978 by 20th century scientific instrumentation pioneer Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, the Foundation supports United States institutions and young scientists whose creative, high-risk, and interdisciplinary research will lead to innovations and new tools and methods for scientific discovery.
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