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
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.
Congratulations to University of Illinois professor Asma Hatoum-Aslan, who was recently named a 2020 Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
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.