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James M. Slauch


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

Microbiology News

On Saturday, May 16, 2020, the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology celebrated its outstanding graduates with a virtual convocation. The ceremony included a slide show about students and their future plans, shout-outs from MCB faculty, and remarks from MCB Director Milan Bagchi and Tina Knox, assistant director for advising and recruitment. The event concluded with a performance by the Marching Illini.
Back in early March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began shuttering businesses and schools across the United States, Chris Brooke wondered how he’d teach his classes online. As the virus spread with astonishing speed, however, and it became frighteningly clear that COVID-19 threatened something far greater than just the spring semester, Brooke, a professor of Microbiology, asked a bigger question: How can we help stop it?
Staphylococcus aureus is an antibiotic-resistant pathogen labelled as a “serious threat to human health” by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. This bacteria is also the subject of a recent paper published by the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Kehl-Fie, Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, in the Journal of Bacteriology, titled “Intracellular accumulation of staphylopine can sensitize S. aureus to host-imposed zinc starvation by chelation-independent toxicity.” With graduate student Kyle Grim as first author, the paper describes a surprising conclusion made while investigating how S. aureus causes infection.
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In Memoriam

Remembering Dr. Ralph Wolfe
Remembering Dr. Abigail Salyers