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Lab Members

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Young Jae Lee

Neuroscience Graduate Student

I couple a quantitative form of microscopy, Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM), with Fluorescence microscopy  to investigate changes in the mouse brain following low, repetitive low and high-impact trauma. I am interested in quantifying both white and grey matter changes induced by trauma and reconstruct 3D brain images.

Taylor Chen

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student

I'm investigating the neuroprotective effects, therapeutic hypothermia, omega-3 fatty acids, and UVB phototherapy.   I utilize a cell and tissue injury Fluid Percussion Trauma Device, Clearing, Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM) and other imaging modalities to investigate changes in the mouse brain following low, repetitive low and high-impact trauma. 

Bianca Savant

Cellular Biology Undergraduate Student


I am pursuing a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am interested in neuroimaging, molecular biology and computer science. Currently, I am studying different neuropathology samples using Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM) to  quantify physical changes in rodent models of disease. My role in the lab is to use SLIM mapping tools to track white matter myelin fibers alterations. 

Jorge Maldonado De Jesus

Neuroscience Graduate Student

I am a Neuroscience Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Neuroscience Program and fellow at the NSF funded Miniature Brain Machinery (MBM) grant. I acquired my B.S. degree in Applied Biotechnology from Universidad del Este in Puerto Rico. At the CNI lab, I implement clearing techniques (CLARITY and Expasion Microscopy) and Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM) system to study neural  microenvironment. Specifically I am interested in understanding myelin diseases and injury by analizing different animal and in-vitro models using quantitative and label-free approach. My goal is to create a profile based on optic and morphologic markers on different models of neurodegeneration to facilitate the characterization of neurodegenerative effects in brain tissue. 

 Sana Syed

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student

I am a Sophomore studying bioengineering with a concentration in cell and tissue. I have always been interested in TBI, and therefore take great interest in the work we do at Beckman Research. It is very interesting to integrate different disciplines such as bioengineering/biotech and neuroscience, and I hope to grow multidisciplinary skills through this research opportunity

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Thomas Romanchek

Bioengineering-Psychology Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate majoring in Bioengineering and Psychology at the University of Illinois. In the Cellular Neuroscience Imaging Laboratory I investigate the enzymatic and neuroprotective properties of omega-3 fatty acids in Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). This is accomplished through simulated mechanical injury via Fluid Percussion Trauma Device. To analyze  the data I use Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM). I also work on developing and improving existing protocols to optimize SLIM to Super-Resolution using  Expansion Microscopy.


Kiran Murphy

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student


I'm in Bioengineering with a focus in Imaging and Sensing. My study in the laboratory include the analysis of Spatial Light Interference Microscopy (SLIM) images to recreate a comprehensive, high-resolution 3D reconstruction of the mouse brain. Fun fact, I've been a part of the Marching Illini & other bands since my first year on campus, playing mellophone and french horn. 

Shreya Rao

Molecular and Cellular Biology Undergraduate Student


 I plan on doing a concentration in Neuroscience.

My research interests include Spatial Light Interference Microscopy and I hope to be able to do research on this. Besides that, you can find me on the quad (when it isn’t too cold) drawing or volunteering with the Undergraduate Neuroscience Society. My interest in neuroscience actually sparked when two of my elder family members got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I hope to be able to develop my understanding of the field through this lab

Lourdes Garcia

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student

I’m a sophomore in Bioengineering with a focus in Therapeutics. 

I am interested in researching the brain and how therapeutics can be designed to treat abnormalities in the brain caused by diseases, trauma, or congenital effects. Specifically, I am interested in investigating the effects of TBI on the brain and studying possible treatments that may prevent further trauma and hopefully lessen any lasting effects on the brain. A little about me: I am from Chicago and I love music and theater. I also speak Spanish!

Shreya Jeyakumar

Molecular and Cellular Biology Undergraduate Student

At the CNI I'm interested in doing research and acquire experience in the cellular and molecular field. My research includes the study of carcinogenic mutations on DNA and physiological/ genetic effects and treatments on the cells and the body. I am also interested in studying the neuropathways and neurotransmitters in the brain and specialized treatment for brain trauma. I previously assisted in the Comparative Biosciences lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine with doing small tasks, like DNA extractions, staining, and am currently learning PCR and how to read gels. Fun fact: I have played 4 sports and 4 instruments.

Selin Aktuna

Psychology Senior Undergraduate Student

I am a senior undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Psychology with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration. My area of research and interests include the underlying mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases and synaptic dysfunction. In the lab I am performing image analyses in mouse models of demyelination and dysmyelination.

Amartya​ Dave

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student

I am currently a Bioengineering student planning to concentrate in Cell and Tissue engineering. My research interests lie in developing novel solutions for the various biomedical problems of the brain and nervous system. By combining neuroscience and bioengineering principles, I look to quantify and interpret the development of neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury (TBI) to create a better understanding of brain pathology as a whole. 

Priyal Patel

MCB Undergraduate Student

I became interested in research to gain more knowledge and understanding of specific topics that are related to health and the human body. 

I plant to go to medical school in the future and therefore I would like to better understand the molecular mechanisms in diseases and injuries.

A fun fact about me is that I am adventurous and I like to travel and try new things.

need info

Former  Members

Patricia Cintora

Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate

Olivia Lee- is in Med School!

I was in the  Molecular and Cellular Biology Department UIUC. My concentration was in Neuroscience and I have minors in Chemistry and Bioengineering. I studied white matter tracts in human brains through clearing and staining modalities. 

Fun fact: I have the best study buddy... my 4 pound dog named Poncho!

David Kline 

I pursued a major in Bioengineering and a minor in Electrical Engineering at UIUC. In the lab, I worked on targeted temperature management for traumatic brain injury at the in-vitro level, image analysis and processing methods for SLIM imaging of neuronal networks. My research interests extend to neural engineering, Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injury. 

Javier De Jesus


Javier worked in the 3D reconstruction of mice cerebellum using SLIM microscopy after inducing a TBI. Javier is currently  stu-dying mechanical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguëz

Chen, Edward

Bioengineering graduate student

My research focuses on developing nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery systems for targeted therapies for diseases. Currently, I am working on formulating copper-based nanoparticle as a novel anticancer agent to treat breast cancer. I will move forward to in vivo murine breast cancer model to evaluate the anticancer effects of the copper-based nanoparticles

Michael Szewczyk

Bioengineering Undergraduate Student 

I am currently tracking changes in transport rates in whole tomographic volumes of neurites and soma, following cell impact trauma. To do this I use- Dispersion-relation phase spectroscopy (DPS) and SLIM.  Transport within neurons is achieved via both active and passive diffusion. Through the use of DPS, coefficients can be generated in order to measure the magnitude of transport. The Tomograms are then analyzed in MATLAB. And, from the automatic curve fitting, advection and diffusion constants can be determined.

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