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.
Seven of the ten current senior faculty have been elected
Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology.
James M. Slauch, Head
The University is hiring six or more tenure-track faculty studying microbial systems or microbiomes, coordinated hires that will expand interdisciplinary microbial research and education across campus.
Graduate student Colleen Bianco (left) and Professor Carin Vanderpool (right) spearheaded a study that centered on how E. coli and Salmonella bacteria use RNA-based regulatory mechanisms to modify their membrane lipids in response to different stimuli. Their findings, with collaborator Kathrin Frölich (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany) as a co-author, were published in a paper titled “Bacterial Cyclopropane Fatty Acid Synthase mRNA is targeted by activating and repressing small RNAs” in the Journal of Bacteriology.
The latest paper by the Kuzminov lab investigates the mechanism of thymineless death, which is a common mode of action of anti-cancer and anti-bacterial drugs. The findings were published in a paper titled "Sources of thymidine and analogs fueling futile damage-repair cycles and ss-gap accumulation during thymine starvation in Escherichia coli" in DNA Repair.
Microbiologist Ralph Wolfe contributed to a study of microbes that led to the discovery of a third superkingdom, or domain, of life: the archaea. Wolfe, a professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Illinois, died March 26 in Urbana. He was 97.
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The latest paper by the Kuzminov lab describes the development of a highly sensitive method to probe the nature of DNA replication in E. coli. The findings were published in a paper titled “Near-continuously synthesized leading strands in Escherichia coli are broken by ribonucleotide excision” in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences.