In the Department of Microbiology

Finding solutions to global challenges, such as the emergence of new infectious diseases, skyrocketing antimicrobial resistance, and the health of our planet's ecosystems, will depend upon discoveries from microbiology research. Illinois microbiology faculty focus on the physiology, genetics, and pathogenesis of microbial organisms and viruses.

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Microbiology News

Read article: Meet MCB: Ruben Sanchez-Nieves
Meet MCB: Ruben Sanchez-Nieves
Even in the most extreme locations, life can thrive. Microbes called thermophiles are able to colonize environments that are extremely hot, with temperatures above 75 °C (167 °F), and acidity of 3.5 pH or lower. Ruben Sanchez-Nieves, a 6th year PhD candidate in the lab of Rachel Whitaker (IGOH), a...
Read article: Context matters: Whitaker combines her passions for microbiology and education to better understand our world
Context matters: Whitaker combines her passions for microbiology and education to better understand our world
Microbes, human beings, and the many systems we inhabit, from farms to factories and hospitals to high schools, are all connected. Working in natural environments, research labs, and local communities, Rachel Whitaker has been...
Read article: School of MCB hiring faculty
School of MCB hiring faculty
The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is hiring faculty in several of our departments. Please click on the links below to learn more about the open positions. The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer...
Read article: Who should get an omicron COVID-19 booster?
Who should get an omicron COVID-19 booster?
New COVID-19 vaccine boosters that target omicron variants are being distributed following emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign microbiology...
Read article: Young Innovator program successfully concludes its second year
Young Innovator program successfully concludes its second year
The Young Innovator program is designed to help trainees become innovative leaders in their fields. The students attended classes for ten weeks over the summer and, at the end of the program, participated in an idea competition, showcasing the projects. One of the participants was an MCB graduate...
Read article: Graduate College welcomes first cohort of career exploration fellows
Graduate College welcomes first cohort of career exploration fellows
The Graduate College is excited to announce the first cohort of fellows, including two MCB PhD students, participating in its Career Exploration Fellowship Program. The program connects doctoral students with university...
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Collaborative & Impactful

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Faculty Research

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Our world-class faculty lead many exciting research programs in the physiology, genetics, and pathogenesis of microbial organisms and viruses. Labs explore archaeal biology, bacteriophage biology, drug discovery, eukaryotic virology, gene regulation, host-pathogen interaction, microbial communities/microbiome, microbial physiology, molecular evolution, and oxidative stress.

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PhD in Microbiology

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Microbes are the dominant organisms on the planet and drive all aspects of life. The Department of Microbiology is a close-knit group of scientists who are driving discoveries in bacterial and archaeal biology and physiology, bacterial and viral pathogenesis, antibiotic discovery, and microbial ecology and evolution. As a PhD student in microbiology, you will be part of a thriving, supportive community of researchers.

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Microbial Systems Initiative

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Microbial Systems Initiative, or MSI, is a vibrant cross-campus community of microbial sciences researchers who address problems in health, agriculture, energy, and other sectors. The Microbial Early-career Researchers Association (MicroERA) organizes professional development and networking opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Upcoming Microbiology Events

Meet MCB's microbiology community

Read article: Meet MCB: Undergraduate researcher Neha Arun
Meet MCB: Undergraduate researcher Neha Arun
MCB major Neha Arun shares her experiences working as an undergraduate researcher in Professor Collin Kieffer's lab in the Department of Microbiology, as well as a look at life outside the lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Can you summarize your research in the Kieffer Lab?  My...
Read article: Meet MCB: Microbiology PhD student Stefanie Eben
Meet MCB: Microbiology PhD student Stefanie Eben
From studying E. coli to riding horses, Stefanie Eben says she has found the perfect mixture of academic and personal fulfillment at the University of Illinois. Eben, a microbiology PhD student in the lab of professor James Imlay, spoke with MCB's communications team about her love of microbiology...
Read article: Meet MCB: Microbiology professor Paola Mera
Meet MCB: Microbiology professor Paola Mera
Dr. Paola Mera is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Mera's research program combines bacterial genetics, biochemistry, and high-resolution...
Read article: Susan Brennan (BS, ’85, microbiology) has built a career in sustainability, solving problems
Susan Brennan (BS, ’85, microbiology) has built a career in sustainability, solving problems
Growing up in the Illinois steel town of Granite City, Susan Brennan was certain once she left, she would never live near a factory again. However, in the years after graduating from the University of Illinois, she would become a leading voice in rethinking and transforming American manufacturing....

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Explore our history

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The Department of Microbiology at UIUC has a rich history of seminal discoveries and microbiologists who have increased our biological understanding and advanced the field of microbiology, such as Carl Woese, who discovered the Archaea, a new domain of life distinct from bacteria and eukarya, and Abigail Salyers, who pioneered studies of bactericides polysaccharide utilization and its role in colonic fermentation.