MechSE alumnus named Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow


Noel NaughtonThe Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology has announced six postdoctoral fellows for 2021. The programs support outstanding scientists by providing a unique opportunity to engage in a three-year interdisciplinary research fellowship at the Beckman Institute.

As the only Illinois graduate to win one of this year’s fellowships, MechSE alumnus Noel Naughton (MSME 2016, PhD ME 2019) will work to improve the measurement and modeling techniques of muscle function. He wants to know how specific variations in muscular architectures influence functional ability and believes that research will offer insights into medicine, biology, robotics, controls, and bioengineering.

Naughton will pair diffusion MRI tractography techniques with Cosserat rod-based mechanical models to accurately simulate muscle function. He hopes his research will develop a new tool for noninvasive measurement and functional modeling of tissue architectures that can be applied in multiple different fields. The tool could be used for new diagnostic medical tools or to extract broad biomimetic design principles for design or control of soft robots.

He will collaborate with MechSE Assistant Professor Mattia Gazzola, as well as with Brad Sutton, a professor of bioengineering and technical director of Beckman’s Biomedical Imaging Center.

“We had an incredible pool of applicants for our postdoctoral fellowships this year,” said Beckman Director Jeff Moore, adding that the institute's leadership selected one more postdoctoral fellow than is typical. “At Beckman, we're looking for ways to invest our resources that improve the pipeline of capable, diverse, and collaborative researchers into science and technology research. This year's class of fellows will conduct barrier-breaking interdisciplinary research and we can't wait to have them here.”