Congratulations to Cari Vanderpool, professor of microbiology, who was recently elected a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.

The academy is an honorific leadership group within the America Society of Microbiology. Fellows are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

Vanderpool studies gene regulatory networks in bacteria, linking mechanisms at the molecular level to impacts on bacterial growth and metabolism. She also is director of the Microbial Systems Initiative at the University of Illinois.

Vanderpool studies both helpful and harmful bacteria that live in the digestive tract to understand how they sense and respond to cues from the environment. Her work has identified a class of regulatory molecules, small RNAs, as being particularly important for modulating bacterial gene expression in response to stressful conditions. Her work has led to fundamental new insights into how bacteria modify their metabolism and cellular properties to survive the harsh and constantly changing conditions of the gut.

“I’m honored by my election as an AAM fellow,” she said. “The vibrant and supportive community of microbiologists here at the University of Illinois and my wonderfully talented trainees have helped me develop a research program I’m proud of and it’s very gratifying to be recognized by my peers.”

Vanderpool received her PhD in microbiology, immunology and cancer biology from the University of Minnesota and conducted her postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute. She joined the faculty at the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology and the Department of Microbiology in 2006.

Over the last 50 years, over 2,500 distinguished scientists have been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology. They represent all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and are involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry, and government service. The Class of 2021 is comprised of 65 fellows from 11 different countries. Nine of the eleven current senior faculty in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Illinois have been elected Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology.