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James M. Slauch


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. Eight of the ten current senior faculty have been elected Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology.

James M. Slauch, Head

Microbiology News

For years, the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology has offered undergraduates the opportunity to pursue hands-on research under the guidance of our accomplished faculty. But when the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down campus in spring, it was unclear how or even if undergraduate research could continue — particularly for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a five-year, $12.5 million grant to integrate biology to a collaborative team based in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The new institute, Genomics and Eco-evolution of Multi-scale Symbioses (GEMS), will include molecular, organismal, computational and theoretical approaches.
As the first bacterium to be labeled a Group I carcinogen, Helicobacter pylori is the single most important risk factor for developing gastric cancer. The bacterium chronically infects over 50 percent of the world’s population and is estimated to be the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Yet the mechanisms by which the protein factors produced by H. pylori contribute to bacterial infection and increase cancer risk remain poorly understood.
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In Memoriam

Remembering Dr. Ralph Wolfe
Remembering Dr. Abigail Salyers