Because undergraduates in MCB are not assigned an advisor, you may choose to meet with any one or more of the advisors listed below. We encourage you to find someone that you connect with and meet with them consistently throughout your time at Illinois. If you would like for us to assign you an advisor, please make that request when you schedule your appointment. Please use our online scheduler or call 217-333-6774.

Tina M. Knox headshot.

Tina M. Knox (she/her/hers)

Assistant Director for Advising and Recruitment 
200 Burrill Hall 
Advising since October 2003
2018 IlliAAC Outstanding Advisor
Learn more about Tina

Advising Interests
First generation students
Students from small towns
Access and Achievement Students (EOP and PAP)
Transfer student success
Appreciative advising
Career advising and exploration
Pre- health advising
Ally to all students including LGBTQ and Undocumented

Ed.M. Education Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, 2008 
B.S. Biology, University of Illinois, 1992 

Teaching Interests 

Research Interests 
Acclimation of undergraduates to campus
Resiliency in transfer students
Retention of undergraduates
In my past life: Peptidase activity in Salmonella typhimurium

Personal fitness, watching dance performances, binging TV shows, studying the Bible, spending time with friends and family.

Headshot of Timothy Bowers

Timothy Bowers (he/him/his) 
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since 2000
Learn  more about Tim

Advising Interests
First generation students
Career Development
Graduate School
Students from small towns
High school to college transition  
Greek Life
Pre-health advising

M.S. Physical Chemistry, University of Illinois, 1993
B.S. Chemistry (ACS certified), Butler University, 1990

Research Interests
Magnetic resonance studies, MRI contrast agents

Growing orchids, gardening, reading, and spending time with my family.

Headshot of Dr. Chester Brown

Chester Brown, PhD (he/him/his) 
217B Burrill Hall
Advising since 2006
Learn more about Chester

Ph.D.  Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, 2007 
M.S.  Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, 1999
B.S. Bioengineering, University of Illinois, 1991

Advising interests
Career planning: professional degrees in the sciences (MS, PhD)
Underrepresented Students
Appreciative Advising

Teaching Interests
Anatomy and Physiology

Research Interests
Developmental neurophysiology
Developmental plasticity

Reading, art, spending time with my family

Headshot of Bethany Burger

Bethany Burger (she/her/hers) 
200 Burrill Hall 
Advising since June 2022
Learn more about Bethany

Advising Interests
Undergraduate Research
Double Majors, Minors, Certificates
Study Abroad

B.S. Psychology, University of Illinois, 2020
Minors in MCB and Leadership Studies
Certificate in Neuroscience from School of MCB

Research Interests 
Healthy Brain Aging
Trauma's Effects on Brain Development and Processing

Traveling, baking, reading, watching Big Ten athletics

Headshot of Lilia Agata Garcia

Lilia Garcia (she/her/hers) 
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2021
Learn more about Lilia

B.S. Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 2021

Advising Interests:
Multicultural students
First generation students
Major exploration
Undergraduate research
Study abroad

Research Interests:
Microbial ecology
Plant-microbe interactions

Painting, crocheting, reading, dancing, hiking and camping

Headshot of Jack Ikeda

Jack Ikeda, PhD (he/him/his) 
484B Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2009
Learn More About Jack

Post-Doctoral Research: UC San Diego Medical Center, Durham VA Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Colorado State University 
Ph.D.  Microbiology, University of California at Davis, 1990
M.A.  Microbiology, University of California at Davis, 1984
B.S. Biology, Santa Clara University, 1980

Advising Interests
Graduate school
Undergraduate research, senior thesis and Distinction

Teaching Interests
Molecular Genetics

Research Interests
Microbial pathogenesis

Boardgames, movies, photography, origami and the Beatles

Headshot of Dara Lawyer

Dara Lawyer (she/her/hers) 
200 Burrill Hall 
Advising since October 2022
Learn more about Dara

Advising Interests
First-generation and under-resourced students
Career exploration, advising, and development
Transfer students
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Pre-health advising
Appreciative advising
Coaching as advising

M.S. Community Development, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
B.S. Speech Communication, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Certificate in Public Management, Laramie County Community College
Certificate in Academic and Professional Coaching, LifeBound

Research Interests 
First-generation student success, retention, and persistence
Academic advising outcomes and assessment
Transfer student success, retention, and persistence
Probationary student success, retention, and persistence

Baking, cooking, reading, movies/TV series (action, adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, comedy), anthropology, dancing, and music

Headshot of Brad Mehrtens

Brad Mehrtens (he/him/his) 
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since March 2004
LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, 2013 - 2014
Learn More About Brad

Advising Interests
Making the transition to Illinois for freshmen or transfer students
Preparing for professional or graduate programs
Understanding the undergraduate research experience
Acknowledging and addressing academic or personal issues
Appreciative advising

M.S. Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1993
B.S. Biology, Truman State University, 1991

Teaching Interests
MCB 150, Molecular & Cellular Basis for Life

Research Interests
Educational Pedagogy
Course Design

Acting, theater, movies, music and sports

Headshot of Dr. Shawna Naidu

Shawna Naidu, PhD (she/her/hers)

Senior Coordinator for Instruction - Honors 
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2006
Learn More About Shawna

Advising Interests
High-Achieving Students
Double Majors
Advising towards Graduate and Professional School
Intercultural Students
Peer Advising

Ph.D., M.S. Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1996, 1992
A.B. Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 1989    

Teaching Interests 
MCB 298 (Honors Lab Discussion Sections)
In my past life: General Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology

Research Interests 
Assessment of Advising
Increasing academic success of at-risk students
In my past life: Plant response to global environmental changes

Crochet, crafting, Science Fiction/Fantasy literature and movies

Additional Resources

Prospective Student Advisors

Melissa Michael, Associate Director for Curriculum and Instruction and Study Abroad Advisor

Alejandra Stenger, Senior Coordinator for Instruction, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
* Para obtener información en español, comuníquese con Alejandra Stenger. Teléfono: (217) 244-7241

MCB Leaders

A small group of accomplished students in MCB that want to help current and prospective students learn more about the University of Illinois, the College of LAS and the Molecular and Cellular Biology major.

MCB Peer Mentors

The School of MCB offers incoming first-year students in biology the opportunity to be matched with a third or fourth-year student in MCB who will offer guidance on acclimating to university life. Our peer mentors are successful MCB Leaders, MCB Peer Advising interns and MCB Honors students who are prepared to talk with you about courses, career goals, research, campus activities/organizations, and general questions about navigating the campus.