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Help Support the Department of Biochemistry—Make a Gift Now

The University of Illinois is a state-supported institution but state money accounts for only about 20% of our operating costs. The unwavering support of our alumni and friends allows us to continue in discovery and public service through teaching, research, and community engagement. Your generous gifts are critical to preserving our excellence and making a difference in the lives of our students, today and tomorrow. We are very grateful for your support.

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Please see fund descriptions below.

LAS Annual Fund for Biochemistry

Provides funds to be used by the Department for short and long-term programs to enrich student education, training, research, and career development.

Dr. Stephen G. Sligar Undergraduate Scholarship Fund

Dr. Stephen G. Sligar Established in 2021 by friends and former students, the Dr. Stephen G. Sligar Biochemistry Undergraduate Scholarship Fund honors the longtime University of Illinois biochemistry professor. The scholarship seeks to offset the cost of tuition by providing a scholarship to a biochemistry student, with preference for applicants who are first in their family to attend college and demonstrate financial need.

Dr. Sligar has had a distinguished career at the university beginning with his PhD in physics in 1975 and postdoctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry. He served on the faculty in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University before returning to the University of Illinois in 1982. He has held the positions of I. C. Gunsalus Professor of Biochemistry, the William and Janet Lycan Professor, and director of the School of Chemical Sciences. He was also director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology for ten years. Dr. Sligar now holds the Swanlund Endowed Chair.

Biochemistry Summer Research Scholarship Endowment Fund

This fund was seeded by an alumnus to provide summer research experiences to undergraduates in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois. Upon reaching a minimum endowment of $50,000, the fund will be used for scholarship support for quality, meritorious undergraduate students majoring in Biochemistry who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in biochemistry.

Biochemistry Graduate Student Travel Award Fund

This Fund was established in 2014 by an alumnus to provide and raise funds for travel awards for graduate students in the Department of Biochemistry. Graduate students receiving awards may use funds to present their work at scientific conferences, attend training workshops, or participate in special research projects that might otherwise not be possible without additional charitable support.

Robert L. Switzer Excellence in Teaching Award Fund
Robert L Switzer

This endowed award was established by one of Professor Switzer’s former Biochemistry undergraduate students and honors his advisor’s impressive career and dedication to education. It seeks to acknowledge and reward graduate student teaching assistants and faculty who have similarly devoted themselves to delivering a high-quality education in the Department of Biochemistry.

Dr. Switzer is currently an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. His research program at the University of Illinois, which spanned forty years, studied the regulation of bacterial metabolism by allosteric enzymes, the control of enzyme degradation and novel mechanisms for the regulation of gene expression, with an emphasis on transcriptional attenuation. Professor Switzer also co-authored a seminal Biochemistry laboratory instruction textbook called “Experimental Biochemistry” that has been broadly employed in academia. Professor Switzer published his autobiography, “Discoveries in Bacterial Nucleotide Metabolism” in JBC in 2009

In 2012, Professor Switzer also published his memoirs entitled “A Family Farm: Life on an Illinois Dairy Farm”.

Colin Wraight Memorial Award in Biochemistry Fund

The net income from the Fund shall be used to provide awards to Biochemistry and Biophysics graduate students, who are affiliated with research groups within the Department of Biochemistry, in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for outstanding research papers.

Professor Colin A. Wraight passed away July 10, 2014 at the age of 68 after a long and heroic struggle with cancer. Professor Wraight employed biochemical and biophysical methods to understand how the structure of membrane proteins allowed them to catalyze the transfer of electrons and protons in biological energy conversion, processes fundamental to life on this planet. Born in 1945 in London, UK, Wraight studied at the University of Bristol, earning his B.S. in 1967 and his PhD in 1971. After postdoctoral research at the University of Leiden and Cornell University, and a brief faculty position at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1975 as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Plant Biology, Physiology, and Biophysics. He held many positions during his years on the faculty of the university, including serving as Director of the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology from 1995-1999. He joined the Biochemistry Department in 1999 and served as Head of Biochemistry from 2004-2009. He also held faculty positions in the Departments of Plant Biology and Molecular & Integrative Physiology. In addition to his important research contributions, Professor Wraight was a passionate teacher and mentor, and an outstanding colleague who gave unselfishly to others. He was known for the breadth and depth of his knowledge, quick wit, and the gracious hospitality that he and his wife, Mary, extended to all. His dedication to teaching and graduate training even during his illness was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Herb Carter Lecture in Nutritional Biochemistry and Preventive Medicine Fund
Herbert E. Carter

Honoring the late Herbert E. Carter, this fund was seeded by a former graduate student, Professor William Lands to support a lecture series in Biochemistry in the areas of human nutrition and preventive medicine.

Dr. Carter was hired as the second member of the newly formed Division of Biochemistry at his alma mater at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Together with the new Head, Professor William Rose, they discovered the essential amino acid threonine and determined its structure. Professor Carter’s pioneering work determined the structure of sphingosine, from which he coined the term “sphingolipids” to encompass the family of cerebrosides, sphingomyelins, and gangliosides that are associated with the brain and nervous system. Professor Carter also made significant contributions to the structural knowledge of glycolipids and antibiotics. His outstanding work was recognized by a number of honors including the Eli Lily Award in Biological Chemistry and early election at the age of 43 to the National Academy of Sciences. A biography on the life of Professor Carter was published online at PNAS by two of his former students.

Lowell P. Hager Fellowship Fund
Lowell P. Hager

Dr. Hager's national biochemistry leadership, creative research and warm interactions with his students and associates are recognized by this fund. He led the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois for 21 years. This fund, in honor of Dr. Hager, provides support for Biochemistry Ph.D. students who demonstrate exceptional achievement, independence in research, and originality of thought.

Lowell P. Hager (1926-2014) received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana and was eventually recruited back to his alma mater where he rose through the professorial ranks in Biochemistry. Importantly, he led Biochemistry into its transition to a separate Department and served as its Head from 1969-1988. Professor Hager built a strong tradition of both scientific excellence and collegiality in Biochemistry. He also mentored numerous fine students and postdocs. His research program contributed immensely to the fields of biochemistry and biophysics, particularly in the area of metallo- and heme-proteins where he discovered the halogenating enzyme, chloroperoxidase. Professor Hager was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995. He has also held numerous additional leadership positions in science, including Director of the Illinois Biotechnology Center (1987-1995), Treasurer for the American Societies for Experimental Biology (1980-1982), Associate Editor for Biochemistry (1972-1978) and the Journal of Biological Chemistry (1974-1979), and Editor of Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (1965-1969). Professor Hager’s autobiography entitled “A Lifetime of Playing with Enzymes” was published in JBC in 2010.

Dr. Edward Conrad Biochemistry Undergraduate Scholarship Fund
H. Edward Conrad

Professor Conrad was a long-time faculty member of the Department of Biochemistry, valued by his colleagues and students alike. To honor him and his many academic contributions to the field and to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Dr. Edward Conrad Biochemistry Undergraduate Scholarship Fund will support the research of an undergraduate student in Biochemistry. Professor Conrad was an undergraduate at LSU, and then moved to Purdue University to conduct his PhD research (he remains a life-long Purdue fan, and admirer of Drew Brees). After positions at Mead Johnson & Company (Indiana) and the U.S. Army Medical Nutrition Laboratory (Colorado), Dr. Conrad moved to Urbana where in 1962 he began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1968 and then to the rank of Professor in 1972. In 1989, Ed was named a Jubilee Professor of Biochemistry.

Dr. Conrad built his career around biochemical studies of heparin, other polysaccharides, and carbohydrates in general. While through the decades many scientists focused on the study of proteins, Dr. Conrad's work on carbohydrates was decades ahead of its time - the complexity of carbohydrates, and their role in virtually every field of medicine and disease, have become clear. Based on the emerging recognition of this importance, in 1989 Dr. Conrad was recruited by a company, Glycomed in Alameda, California, which named him Director of Biochemistry. After four years at Glycomed, he returned to Urbana-Champaign and in 1994 was honored by students and friends with a symposium as tribute to his many scientific achievements and to his career of mentoring students and scientists.

Lowell P. Hager Video Conference Room Fund (now closed)
Lowell P. Hager

Thanks to the generosity of the many friends of Prof. Lowell Hager, a state-of-the-art video conference room was successfully established in recently renovated space on the 3rd floor of Roger Adams Laboratory. This conference room, which is widely used for everything from lab meetings to teleconferences, honors Professor Hager’s enormous service and contributions to the Department of Biochemistry and the University of Illinois. Follow this link to photographs of the Lowell Hager conference room, both during construction and in use.

Matching Gifts

Many companies will match, even double or triple your gift to MCB. Ask for and complete a Matching Gift Form from your company's Human Resources Office, then mail it along with your gift check. See if your company has a matching gift program.

Contribute by Mail

Checks should be made to "University of Illinois Foundation" and should have the fund name and the purpose or designation of your gift noted in the memo section of the check.

Mail to:
University of Illinois Foundation
1305 West Green Street, MC-386
Urbana, IL 61801

For the security of your gift, please do not send cash.
For other options, visit the University of Illinois Foundation.

Opportunities for Major Gifts

To learn more about investing in the future of our students, faculty, research, and more, please contact Ashley Nagele.

Ashley Nagele Ashley Nagele, Assistant Director of Development
LAS Office of Advancement
phone: (217) 300-1699
fax: (217) 244-6252

Thank you for your gift!