Nadya Mason Named Director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Materials researcher and physicist to lead storied interdisciplinary research institute

July 28, 2022

Nadya Mason
    Nadya Mason

Nadya Mason, the Rosalyn Sussman Yalow Professor of Physics, will become the next leader of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on September 1, pending approval from the Board of Trustees. Mason, who has been at Illinois since 2005, is an experimental physicist who works at the intersection of complex materials, superconductivity, and nanotechnology.

“Dr. Mason is one of our university’s most accomplished faculty members and I know her creativity and curiosity will propel Beckman in exciting new directions,” said Susan Martinis, the vice chancellor for research and innovation at Illinois. “The institute is such a storied part of our research enterprise, and I am delighted that Beckman’s bright future will be in Nadya’s capable and visionary hands.”

A talented educator, leader, and researcher with an extensive record of service, she is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and founding director of the NSF-funded Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. She serves on the American Physical Society Policy Committee, previously led the society’s Committee on Minorities, and served as a General Councilor. She has also been active on the Faculty Senate and The Grainger College of Engineering Executive Committee. She is dedicated to outreach and diversity initiatives and to broadening participation in STEM disciplines. She has mentored 32 graduate students and postdocs and is the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed publications. Recent work includes breakthroughs in understanding electronic transport in topological and magnetic quantum materials, relevant to nanoscale circuits and quantum information devices. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

“Beckman is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and I hope to further strengthen the relationships, collaborations, and environment that lead to key, out-of-the-box discoveries and innovations,” Mason said. “I am excited about the opportunity to further Beckman’s mission of making a better world, both locally and globally.”

Mason succeeds chemist Jeff Moore, who is stepping down after serving as director since 2017.

“Jeff has been an incredible leader, refreshing and reinvigorating the institute and moving Beckman forward into its next chapters and frontiers,” Martinis said. “He literally knocked down walls to keep Beckman at the forefront of interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and we are grateful that he is leaving an institute so well-positioned to develop the technologies that will truly move the needle on innovation and global impact.”
 

 

Beckman is intrinsically interdisciplinary, and I hope to further strengthen the relationships, collaborations, and environment that lead to key, out-of-the-box discoveries and innovations.”

—Nadya Mason, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow Professor of Physics and Director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

The Beckman Institute was founded with a $40M gift from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1985 and is one of the first large-scale interdisciplinary research centers in the world. Beckman’s researchers from more than 40 departments and 13 colleges around campus and together explore major scientific and technological challenges. They break barriers on topics related to intelligence and the brain, molecules and materials, and imaging. The institute offers magnetic resonance and biomedical imaging tools, a full microscopy suite, and a visualization laboratory that helps researchers analyze and visualize their data.

In partnership with Carle Health, the institute is leading the Champaign-Urbana Population Study through the Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center. The center is home to a Siemens MAGNETOM Terra 7 Tesla MRI, the only such scanner in the state of Illinois. Beckman is the home of the Theoretical and Computation Biophysics Group, which pioneers the development of computational technologies and tools enabling computer-based biomedical research of molecular and cellular processes. It’s best known for its open-source NAMD and VMD software, used by more than 150,000 researchers around the world. The institute also hosts the Cancer Center at Illinois and was the first campus home of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Annually, hundreds of students have research experiences at Beckman.

“The institute is a recipe for success, mixing great scientists, cutting-edge resources, strong values, and the ambition to address grand challenges,” said Mason. “Researchers at Beckman solve problems.”

 

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