Microbes drive all aspects of life on the planet. Finding solutions to many of our
pressing global challenges, such as skyrocketing antimicrobial resistance, emergence
of new infectious diseases, and the health of our planet’s ecosystems, will depend
upon discoveries from basic microbiology research. The Department of Microbiology at
the University of Illinois has developed and maintained the highest national and
international reputation for more than 100 years. We have built upon our
distinguished history (evidenced by the recent designation as a “Milestones in
Microbiology” site by the American Society for Microbiology) by recruiting and
retaining outstanding microbiologists who are making exciting discoveries in diverse
fields while training students in cutting edge research. Our research faculty are
highly productive and impactful.
Seven of the ten current senior faculty have been elected
Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology.
James M. Slauch, Head
HIV-1 affects and kills millions of people globally, but not enough information exists regarding the types of cells that HIV-1 targets in different tissues or the virus’s mechanism of spreading throughout the body. Viruses often ride the body’s circulatory systems to scatter throughout an organism and appear in different tissues to infect cells; however, not much is known about HIV-1’s mechanism of infection at the cellular level within those tissues. The Kieffer lab aims to provide insight into this topic by having recently published a study called “Mechanisms of virus dissemination in bone marrow of HIV-1-infected humanized BLT mice” in the journal eLife.
The University is hiring six or more tenure-track faculty studying microbial systems or microbiomes, coordinated hires that will expand interdisciplinary microbial research and education across campus.
Graduate student Colleen Bianco (left) and Professor Carin Vanderpool (right) spearheaded a study that centered on how E. coli and Salmonella bacteria use RNA-based regulatory mechanisms to modify their membrane lipids in response to different stimuli. Their findings, with collaborator Kathrin Frölich (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany) as a co-author, were published in a paper titled “Bacterial Cyclopropane Fatty Acid Synthase mRNA is targeted by activating and repressing small RNAs” in the Journal of Bacteriology.