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Welcome to Professor Joe Sanfilippo

Professor Joe Sanfilippo

Professor Sanfilippo was one of ten new faculty hires made in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the last three years. Sanfilippo is an assistant professor of biochemistry.

Tell us about your lab and your research focus, including how you came to choose or specialize in this area.

My lab is focused on exploring the intersection of bacteria and the physical world. We study how changes in the physical environment, such as fluid flow, affect the behavior of bacteria.

What is especially exciting about this particular area of research, at this time?

By leveraging expertise from multiple disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering), the study of bacterial mechanobiology is undergoing a revolution. Through interdisciplinary research, our field has the potential to make discoveries that explain how bacterial pathogens can infect mechanically complex environments (such as heart valves, the bloodstream, and the urinary tract).

What interested you the most about becoming a faculty member in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the University of Illinois?

I was most interested in the strength of Microbiology throughout the school and across campus. Additionally, I am excited to develop collaborations across campus with faculty and students from some of the strengths of the University of Illinois in engineering, physics, and chemistry.

What are your teaching interests?

I am interested in teaching a course on Biophysics to upper-level undergraduates and 1st year graduate students.

If any students (undergrad or grad) are interested in working in your lab, what’s your advice or how can they get in touch with you?

I am very interested in undergraduates and graduate students (especially those with backgrounds in physics or engineering) joining my research group. Those interested should email me directly.

Tell us about someone who made a difference in your life, such as someone who sparked your interest in biology, who encouraged you to pursue a career in academia or challenged your thinking about a topic.

My undergraduate research mentor Dr. Julius Adler (Wisconsin) sparked my interest in scientific research and inspired me with his love of nature. My graduate research mentor Dr. Dan Kearns (Indiana) showed me how the importance of scientific rigor and taught me that mentorship can be the most important role of a Professor.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and 4-year old daughter. I also enjoy watching sports, especially the Packers, Badgers, and Brewers (which I realize might not make me very popular in Illinois).

January 20, 2021 All News