SPECIAL NOTICE: The Beckman Institute is undertaking to produce a guide to campus-wide instrumental resources available to the Caltech research community. As a first stage, we have identified mass spectrometry facilties in the BI and elsewhere on campus; a summary of their capabilities with links to their individual websites and managers may be accessed on the menu at the left of this page. We welcome help in expanding this resource to a comprehensive guide to Caltech instrumentation.

Beckman Institute Seminar Series

The Beckman Institute Seminar Series provides the Caltech community greater awareness of opportunities. One of our Resource Centers, Facilities or Pilot Projects will sponsor a presentation and open house to highlight its capabilities and instrumentation, especially new acquisitions and developments.

The schedule for the 2017-2018 academic year will be posted shortly.


The Beckman Room on the ground floor of the Beckman Institute (Room 131 in the southeast lobby) is a small museum devoted to the history of chemistry and to the scientific and philanthropic work of Arnold O. Beckman. The museum is open to walk-in visitors from 1 to 4 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

The museum is also open by appointment to individuals and groups. Please contact the Caltech Archives at archives@caltech.edu for appointment information. More information about the Beckman Room and its displays may be found at http://archives.caltech.edu/about/beckman-room.html.

William (Bill) Schaefer 1931-2017

8/11/17: We are sorry to report the death of Bill Schaefer. Bill was a mainstay of X-ray crystallography at Caltech for nearly four decades, and played a central role as coordinator during the design and construction of the Beckman Institute. A wake in Bill's memory will be held at his home in northern California (75 Burgos Court, San Ramon, CA 94583) starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 23; all of his former friends and colleagues are welcome.

David Tirrell Appointed New Provost

7/10/17: Beckman Institute Director David Tirrell has been appointed as the new Provost of Caltech, beginning 10/1/17. A new BI Director is expected to be appointed within the next few months - watch this space!

Two Resource Centers Closing

6/15/17: Two long-running Beckman Institute Resource Centers will be coming to a close this summer: the Center for Computational Regulatory Genomics and the Mass Spectrometry Resource Center. Information on continuing activities in these two areas may be found at the corresponding links under "Resource Centers" in the menu at the left of this page.

Richard "Dick" Marsh 1922-2017

1/16/17: We note with sorrow the passing of Dick Marsh, who has been a central figure in X-ray crystallography at the Beckman Institute and Caltech for over half a century. A memorial will take place in the Beckman Institute Auditorium at 4 p.m., Thursday Feb. 9, followed by a reception at Dabney Lounge.

Proteome Exploration Laboratory

1/16/17: Sonja Hess, founding Director of the Proteome Exploration Laboratory, is leaving Caltech for an exciting new position at MedImmune; we thank her for her great contributions and wish her the best in her future career. A search for a new Director is underway.

Protein/Peptide Microanalytical Laboratory Closure

1/16/17: The Protein/Peptide Microanalytical Laboratory closed at the end of 2016. Please look at our listing of Campus Mass Spectroscopy Resources for other providers.

New microscope for EM resource center

04/01/16: The Beckman Resource Center for Transmission Electron Microscopy, led by Grant Jensen, is pleased to announce a new addition to their EM arsenal: an FEI Titan Krios microscope equipped with a phase plate and a direct detector for even higher quality imaging. The acquisition was made possible by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and funding from Caltech. The new TEM will be installed, in early 2017, in a custom-designed suite in the Beckman Institute.

New Resource Center

8/3/15: The Pilot Program in optogenetics, led by BBE Assistant Professor Viviana Gradinaru, has been approved as a full-fledged Resource Center, the CLARITY, Optogenetics and Vector Engineering Research Center (CLOVER), with Ben Deverman as Director. For additional information, click here.

New Pilot Program

8/3/15: A Neurotechnology Center, under the leadership of Markus Meister, David Anderson and Michael Dickinson, has been established to support neuroscience research programs at Caltech in the design, construction and maintenance of instrumentation, integration with computers, and development of data analysis methods. Daniel Wagenaar will be the Director of the Center, which will begin operation in 2016.

New Director of the Biological Imaging Center

9/3/13: Andres Collazo has joined the Beckman Institute as Director of the Biological Imaging Facility. This marks a return to Caltech for Andres, who was here as a Research Fellow in the '90s; his broad experience in imaging methodology includes his most recent position at the House Research Institute in LA, as well as a regular teaching role at Woods Hole. All those interested in imaging are welcome to talk with Andres about current and, especially, desirable future capabilities. He can be reached at extension 2761 or acollazo@caltech.edu.

New Pilot Program

9/3/13: A a new Pilot Project proposed by Long Cai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, will start October 1. The goals of this program are two-fold: first, to accelerate the application of single cell multiplex RNA profiling to a wide range of biological problems, and second, to provide three powerful techniques that are currently not available on campus: single molecule Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH), super-resolution microscopy, and lightsheet microscopy. Potential users and collaborators should contact Long at lcai@caltech.edu.

New Resource Centers

9/3/13: Two ongoing BI programs have been approved to become full Resource Centers beginning this year.

The Molecular Observatory, led by Doug Rees, Roscoe Gilkey Dickinson Professor of Chemistry, provides access to an integrated synchrotron-based resource for structural biology and structural chemistry at Caltech, a capability that was created through the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. There are two components to the Molecular Observatory: synchrotron beamline BL12-2 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), and an on-campus laboratory in the Beckman Institute to facilitate the preparation and crystallographic analysis of samples both in-house and at the synchrotron. The web page for this new Center will be available on this site soon.

The Programmable Molecular Technology Center, which has been operating for the last few years as a Pilot Program under the direction of Niles Pierce, develops and supports two major resources serving the biological sciences and engineering communities at Caltech: the Molecular Instruments resource (molecularinstruments.org), which applies concepts from the emerging discipline of molecular programming to develop and support programmable molecular technologies for reading out and regulating cell state; and the NUPACK resource (nupack.org), a growing software suite for the analysis and design of nucleic acid molecules, devices, and systems. For more information, click here.

New Facilities

9/3/13: New BI Facilities have been established in two areas.

The Caltech Center for Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis (3CS) maintains and operates a suite of robotic and analytical instrumentation, to serve as a resource available to the entire Caltech community for accelerating the pace of discovery in chemical and biochemical research. Under the leadership of Bob Grubbs, Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, Facility Director Scott Virgil will provide training, scientific expertise and advice for users, as well as custom programming of robotic equipment to meet the needs of Caltech researchers. The web page for this Facility will be available on this site soon.

Marianne Bronner, Albert Billings Ruddock Professor of Biology, and Lea Goentoro, Assistant Professor of Biology, will direct the operation of a facility for maintenance and housing of zebrafish, frogs, and lamprey. Bringing these three resources into a single, unified operation will provide a more efficient mechanism for making access to these important animal models available to the Caltech research community. For the web page, click on the Facilities link on the left side of this page.

New Director of the X-ray Crystallography Facility

6/3/13: Michael Takase arrived today to take up his new position as Director of the BI's X-ray Crystallography Facility. Mike comes to Caltech from Yale, where he held a similar position. Current and potential users of the Facility, especially those who have questions and/or suggestions about the Facility's operation, are encouraged to meet and talk with Mike. He can be reached at extension 2734 or mktakase@caltech.edu.

New Visibility Program

1/23/13: The Beckman Institute is instituting a new series to provide the Caltech community greater awareness of opportunities. Each month one of our Resource Centers, Facilities or Pilot Projects will sponsor a presentation and open house to highlight its capabilities and instrumentation, especially new acquisitions and developments. Details of these events will be posted in this space as they become available.

On Friday, March 22, 2013, there will be a presentation by the Proteome Exploration Laboratory. It will be at 2:00 p.m. in the Beckman Institute Auditorium. Refreshments at 1:45 p.m. A tour of the Center follows the seminar. Click for the information flyer.

New Pilot Program Projects

10/1/12: Three new projects in the Pilot Program have been established, in the fields of optogenetics, mammalian cell engineering, and nanoprobes of brain activity. [More]

New Bacterial Nano-Weapon Discovered

2/27/12: Grant Jensen and his team, using instrumentation in the Beckman Resource Center for Transmission Electron Microscopy (BRCem), have found that certain bacteria inject proteins into other cells by means of "spring-loaded poison daggers." [More]

David Tirrell Becomes BI Director

1/30/12: David Tirrell, the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech, has been appointed director of the Beckman Institute, succeeding biologist Barbara Wold. [More]

Dr. Michael W. Day 1951-2012

1/30/12: Mike Day, the Director of the BI X-ray Crystallography Facility, died on January 27, 2012. [More]

Celebrating the Legacy of Arnold O. Beckman

11/10/11: A special symposium was held at Caltech, as part of the 2011 Western regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, honoring Arnold Beckman's contributions to the field. Noted biotechnologist Leroy Hood and long-time Beckman associate Gerald Gallwas were featured speakers [More]

Advanced Method for Imaging Living Organisms

7/25/11: A novel method for imaging living organisms and tissues, providing excellent resolution, depth and speed without damaging the samples, has been developed in the BI Biological Imaging Center, led by Scott Fraser. [More]