Catherine Alicia Best-Popescu

Catherine Alicia Best-Popescu
Catherine Alicia Best-Popescu
  • Research Assistant Professor
  • Research Assistant Professor
(217) 333-8367
2050 Beckman Institute


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 2005-2007
  • B.S. Biology and Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 1994

Academic Positions

  • Medical Technician, Clinical Chemistry, and Toxicology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 2001-2002
  • Research Associate, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 2002-2005
  • Visiting Research Scientist in Cellular Biophysics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2005-2007
  • Director of Curricular Alignment and Active Learning Curricular Development, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011-2013
  • Interim Director of Assessment, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011- 2013
  • Course Director, Medical Biochemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010-2011
  • Course Director, Medical Neuroscience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007-2014
  • Research Associate, Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury Trial Primary Investigator, Lovell Federal Health Care Center, Chicago, IL 2018
  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014-current
  • Manager, Shield Saliva COVID-19 Diagnostic Laboratory Veterinary Diagnostic Lab., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020

Resident Instruction

  • Seminar Series (BIOE 570) Spring 2020, 2021
  • BIOE 575 Capstone Project 2018- current
  • Introduction to Bioengineering (BIOE 120) UIUC, Course Director Fall 2017
  • Biological Measurement Advanced Microscopy Module (BIOE 572) 2018-current
  • Biological Measurement Basic Microscopy Module (BIOE 572) 2018-current
  • BIOE 572 Sensor Module Fall 2017
  • Human Anatomy Cadaver Dissection Lab for high school students. Medical Society of Illinois county. Leroy IL. Led by Dr. Tom Pliura. 2015-2020
  • “Catapult Step 1 Preparation” designed, created curriculum and implemented NEW M2 Course, Summer 2012, 2013, 2014, request for presentation 2015, 2016
  • Neuroscience I, (NEUR 598) UIUC, guest lecture (3 lectures) Brain-Machine Interface, Neuroimaging Techniques and Optogenetics2015
  • Autism Neuroanatomy, Speech and Hearing guest lecture (GLC 199) UIUC, 2014-2016
  • “Excellence in Path and Pathophysiology” Designed, created curriculum, and implemented NEW M2 study optimization course exercises, 2012, 2013
  • “Microsurgical Anatomy, Cadaveric Dissections and Technical Considerations Course with Dr. Baskaya”, Madison Wisconsin, NEW 2010 - 2014
  • Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute, UIUC, “Brain Exploration Laboratory Co-coordinator”, Summer 2010, 2011
  • MCB 527/529, UIUC, Course Director “Medical Neuroscience”, Spring 2009-2014
  • NanoBiophotonics Summer School, ECE, Beckman Institute, UIUC, “The Visual System Seen through Illusions and Lesions”, Summer 2008, 2010, 2011

Research Statement

My research interests include interfacing bioengineering, neuroscience and medicine from the molecular to the behavioral scale, and the application of quantitative phase microscopy techniques to biomedical problems.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

Looking for energetic post-docs interested in projects at the interface of bioengineering, neuroscience and medicine.

Graduate Research Opportunities

Looking for energetic students interested in projects at the interface of bioengineering, neuroscience and medicine.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

We are looking for undergraduate students interested in integrating bioengineering, neuroscience and medicine.

Research Interests

  • Neuroprotection and neuroimaging of cerebral blood flow in the context of brain Injury and neurodegenerative disease.

Research Topics

  • Molecular, Cellular and Tissue Engineering
  • Neural Engineering
  • Research in BME Education

Chapters in Books

  • “Optical Sensing of Red Blood Cell Dynamics” by YK Park, C A. Best-Popescu, and G Popescu, in "Mechanobiology of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions," Edited by Amy Wagoner Johnson (Springer, 2011)
  • “Erythrocyte Nanoscale Flickering: A Marker for Disease” by C. A. Best-Popescu, in “Nanobiophotonics”, Edited by G. Popescu (McGraw Hill, 2010).

Teaching Honors

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Robert Glaser Distinguished Teacher Nominee 2015 (2015)
  • UIC Urban Health program COM Team Member Servant Leadership Award, College of Medicine (COM), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) (2014)
  • Teacher ranked as excellent by the students, Medical Neuroscience, COM UIUC, 2012, 2013 and 2014* (* instructor rating was outstanding- top 10%) (2012, 2013, and 2014)
  • Raymond B. Allen Award - Golden Apple award winner, COM UIUC M2 (second-year medical school students) 2012, and M1 (first-year medical school students) 2014 (2012 )

Research Honors

  • Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award recipient, 2005, 2006

Recent Courses Taught

  • BIOE 120 - Introduction to Bioengineering
  • BIOE 497 CAB (BIOE 497 CB2, BIOE 497 CBP, BIOE 297 CAB) - Individual Study
  • BIOE 570 - Seminar Series
  • BIOE 571 - Biological Measurement I
  • BIOE 572 - Biological Measurement II
  • BIOE 575 - Capstone Project
  • NE 100 - Intro to Neural Engineering
  • NE 330 - Neuroscience for Engineers

Related News