News

Brian Freeman elected fellow of AAAS

Fourteen University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty members, including Brian Freeman, professor of cell and developmental biology, have been elected 2021 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

January 26, 2022


Biochemistry professor Nicholas Wu awarded Michelson Prize to advance vaccine, immunology research

The Michelson Medical Research Foundation and Human Vaccines Project on Tuesday recognized three outstanding early career researchers, including University of Illinois biochemistry professor Nicholas Wu, with the Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants. Each winner will be awarded $150,000 to enable their high-impact ideas to advance human immunology, vaccine...

January 25, 2022


Janhavi Kolhe: Recipient of the Tom and Cynthia Cycyota Research Scholarship

Tell us where you grew up and about any people or events that had an influence on your education. I grew up in India. Nobody in my family, immediate as well as extended family, has ever pursued life sciences at the PhD level. I was really interested in biology because...

January 20, 2022


Latest Jump ARCHES Awards Focus on Medical Tech Solutions to Meet Vexing Health Care Challenges

Twenty research projects are sharing slightly more than $1.4 million in funding through the Jump ARCHES research and development program to address a variety of vexing medical challenges including neurological testing for children and athletes (such as concussions), migraines, and stress among nurses enduring pandemic challenges...

January 19, 2022


In Memoriam: John M. Clark, Jr., biochemistry department pioneer, 1932-2022

Professor John M. Clark, Jr., one of the earliest members of what later became the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, passed away peacefully on Jan. 2, 2022, in Estero, Fla. He was 89 years old.

January 11, 2022


Professor Catherine Christian-Hinman: Connecting estrogen to epilepsy

Dr. Christian-Hinman’s lab focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms linking epilepsy and comorbid reproductive endocrine disorder.

January 10, 2022


Quantum leaps in understanding how living corals survive

Coral reefs have thrived for millions of years in their shallow ocean water environments due to their unique partnerships with the algae that live in their tissues. Corals provide a safe haven and carbon dioxide while their algal symbionts provide them with food and oxygen produced from photosynthesis. Using the corals Orbicella annularis...

January 05, 2022


Faculty selected for Big Ten Academic Alliance leadership development programs

Faculty and staff members from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been chosen to participate in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program and the Big Ten Academic Alliance Department Executive Officer Seminar.

December 21, 2021


Gene mutation leads to epileptic encephalopathy symptoms, neuron death in mice

Mice with a genetic mutation that’s been observed in patients with epileptic encephalopathy, a severe form of congenital epilepsy, exhibit not only the seizure, developmental and behavioral symptoms of the disorder, but also neural degeneration and inflammation in the brain, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers found in a new study....

December 17, 2021


Illinois students explore health care innovation

Integrated research, innovative education, and entrepreneurship activities are foundational to the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance’s mission to advance clinical research and translation. Key to that mission is training the next generation of biomedical scientists.

December 15, 2021


Where are they now? CCIL scholarship awardee You Jin Song

Urbana, Ill. – You Jin Song, a third year Ph.D. candidate in Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) researcher Kannanganattu Prasanth’s lab, is studying the effects of MALAT1, a long-noncoding RNA that is believed to play an important role in many cancers including breast and lung cancer. This project is...

December 15, 2021


CCIL’s Cancer and Microbes Working Group explores new collaborations

Urbana, Ill. – On Sept. 17, the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) and the Microbial Systems Initiative (MSI) held the Cancer and Microbes Workshop as part of a new partnership formed between the CCIL and the MSI to promote collaboration at the interface of microbial sciences and cancer research....

December 10, 2021


University of Illinois iGEM Team 2021 Brings Home Bronze Medal

EDITOR’S UPDATE: The Illinois team’s “Project apPETite” was awarded a bronze medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) 2021 competition. The six-member student team worked to design better enzymes to break down widely used Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics. Learn more in this two-minute video or read our August story...

December 10, 2021


Association of Computing Machinery recognizes researchers for their novel SARS-CoV2 simulations

Congratulations to the University of Illinois scientists who were part of two teams selected as finalists for a prestigious award that celebrates outstanding achievement in high-performance computing.

December 09, 2021


Chemical pollutants disrupt reproduction in anemonefish, study finds

Ocean pollution is unfortunately becoming more commonplace, raising concerns over the effect of chemicals that are leaching into the water. In a new study, researchers have discovered how these chemicals can affect the reproduction in common anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris.

December 07, 2021


Study reveals how bacterial pathogen adapts to nutritional stress

In order to cause disease, the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus must adapt to the changing host environment. Many of these adaptations are mediated through two-component signal transduction systems (TCSs) that coordinate gene expression in response to environmental stimuli. In a new study reported in the Journal of Bacteriology, researchers at Illinois provide...

December 06, 2021


Researchers explore the molecular mechanisms of a promising antiviral defense system

In the last decade, scientists have discovered that the antiviral system known as cGAS-STING is an important innate immune system in humans because it senses double-stranded DNA in cytoplasm resulting from viral and bacterial infections. Recent research shows that the cGAS-STING system may have its evolutionary origin from bacteria. cGAS-STING...

December 02, 2021


Water disinfection byproduct disrupts reproductive hormones, damages pituitary in female mice

Chemical disinfection makes water from both natural sources and wastewater streams drinkable; however, the process also creates byproducts, not all of which are understood or regulated. A new study from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers has found that one byproduct disrupts hormones in the brain that regulate the female reproductive...

November 24, 2021


In memoriam: Professor Eric Jakobsson a ‘Renaissance man’ who cared about community

URBANA — Longtime Urbana resident Eric Jakobsson is being remembered as a devoted husband and father, a brilliant scientist and mentor, a political bridge-builder and all-around nice guy.

November 19, 2021


Congratulations to winners of the 2021 MCB Undergraduate Research Symposium

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

November 17, 2021


Detailed map of ion-channel structure could steer development of new therapeutic strategies for epilepsy

The National Institutes of Health estimates roughly 2.3 million adults and more than 450,000 children in the United States currently live with epilepsy. Although there is a large selection of anti-epileptic drugs, very few exist for neonatal and childhood epilepsy. Furthermore, according to the Epilepsy Foundation,...

November 13, 2021


Story and Video: Uncovering the Critical Function of Drg1 in Protein Synthesis

Biochemistry researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are conducting trailblazing work on a group of conserved proteins that are directly related to abnormal cell proliferation and developmental and neurological disorders. In a new article published in Cell Reports, biochemistry professor Hong Jin and her team have...

November 11, 2021


Giving back: Undergrad researcher, veterans work together to study brain health

This Veterans Day, student researcher Elizabeth Spurlock reflects on her experience investigating issues related to brain health in populations who have served. Her research is conducted in partnership with the Beckman Institute and the Chez Veteran Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

November 11, 2021


New faculty member to further explore research linking brain receptor to increased height, early puberty

For the past few decades, scientists have observed a trend of increased height and younger age of puberty onset in humans. Now, research outlining a new pathway in humans linking body fat to puberty onset and growth could provide an explanation as to why these changes...

November 11, 2021


Scientists discover how antibiotics penetrate Gram-negative bacterial cell walls

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Scientists have labored for decades to find antibiotics that work against Gram-negative bacteria, which cause some of the deadliest infections in hospital settings and are most likely to be resistant to treatment with existing antibiotics. In a study reported in the journal Chemical Science, researchers developed a new method...

November 09, 2021


New "Cryo-EM" technology illuminates life

You’ve probably heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Thanks to the installation of a cryogenic electron microscope at the University of Illinois, researchers are exploring what was once hidden or difficult to study at the molecular level. While the cryogenic electron microscope (cryoEM) has given Illinois researchers the ability to view...

November 02, 2021


Champaign-Urbana students conduct nutrition research during virtual summer camp

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology this summer partnered with the eClose Institute to offer a new program for middle and high school students from historically excluded groups that introduces them to scientific research opportunities. The institute uses a citizen-scientist model, which means data collected from their experiments will be...

October 19, 2021


Biotech leader reflects on his career, extends support for next generation of innovators

From helping bring a powerful, first-in-class HIV treatment to market to his most recent position as the CEO and co-owner of a preclinical contract research organization, Michael Recny (PhD, biochemistry, ’83) has paved a successful career path in the biotechnology industry, a field that was just emerging at...

October 15, 2021


Meet Kevin Van Bortle, assistant professor of cell and developmental biology

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology and Department of Cell & Developmental Biology are thrilled to welcome new faculty member Kevin Van Bortle! He joins us from the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he conducted his postdoctoral research. We recently spoke with him about his research and...

October 11, 2021


Biochemistry professor Nicholas Wu earns NIH Director's New Innovator Award

Nicholas Wu, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has received a National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, part of the Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program.

October 05, 2021


New analytical technique helps researchers spot subtle differences in subcellular chemistry

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can now rapidly isolate and chemically characterize individual organelles within cells. The new technique tests the limits of analytical chemistry and rapidly reveals the chemical composition of organelles that control biological growth, development and disease.

September 30, 2021


Antibodies from original strain COVID-19 infection don't bind to variants, study finds

People infected with the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 early in the pandemic produced a consistent antibody response, making two main groups of antibodies to bind to the spike protein on the virus’s outer surface. However, those antibodies don’t bind well to newer variants, a new...

September 20, 2021


In Memoriam: Albert Feng, professor and former head of molecular and integrative physiology

Albert Feng, a passionate and beloved scholar who studied the neural basis of sound communication, has passed away. A virtual memorial service will be held Sept. 18. His obituary may be viewed here. A video featuring a 2011 interview with Professor Feng talking about his research...

September 15, 2021


Researchers find new control mechanism for sugar metabolism in gut microbes

The gut microbiome plays an important role in human health because it controls digestion and influences the immune system. The microbiome is also highly dynamic and can be influenced by dietary changes. Due to this dynamic nature, gut microbes often use complex regulatory mechanisms to cope with shifting nutrient...

August 31, 2021


U of I president honors MCB researchers for their work on COVID-19 response

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen on Monday honored 28 key leaders of the system’s COVID-19 response with the Presidential Medallion. The medallion is the highest honor that the system president can bestow.

August 24, 2021


Light can trigger key signaling pathway for embryonic development, cancer

Blue light is illuminating new understanding of a key signaling pathway in embryo development, tissue maintenance, and cancer genesis.

August 17, 2021


Researchers discover widespread, specific lipid binding by a large family of human proteins

Phospholipid-protein interactions play an essential role in the regulation of many important cellular processes. The largest family of putative lipid-binding proteins contain the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain. Previous studies in the field estimate that approximately 10 percent of the PH protein family binds to phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) with...

August 17, 2021


Meet new faculty member Patrick Sweeney, who explores neural circuitry at the intersection of feeding, motivation, and emotion

The Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology in the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to welcome new faculty member Patrick Sweeney!

August 16, 2021


Seeing is believing: Image of primary visual cortex in a mouse wins second place in NIH research image contest

Congratulations to the Tajkhorshid lab and collaborators who created a stunning research image recently highlighted by the National Institutes of Health.

August 11, 2021


Study offers insight into underlying causes of seizure disorder in babies

Researchers report that infantile spasms, a rare but serious seizure disorder in babies, appear to be the result of a molecular pathway gone awry. In their study of a mouse model of the disorder, the researchers discovered that genetic mutations associated with the disease impair a pathway that is involved...

August 03, 2021


New approach eradicates breast cancer in mice

A new approach to treating breast cancer kills 95-100% of cancer cells in mouse models of human estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers and their metastases in bone, brain, liver and lungs. The newly developed drug, called ErSO, quickly shrinks even large tumors to undetectable levels.

July 20, 2021


Cancer Center at Illinois awards two MCB PhD students scholarships for research projects

Congratulations to two School of Molecular & Cellular Biology PhD students who have been awarded Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) Graduate Cancer Scholarships to pursue cancer research projects under the mentorship of Illinois scientists.

July 13, 2021


PhD graduate wins Sternberg Thesis Prize for microbiology research

Congratulations to Maryam Khademian, a recent Illinois PhD graduate in microbiology, whose thesis was chosen for the Sternberg Thesis Prize. The award will be presented to Khademian at the 2021 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Conference.

July 09, 2021


Alumna and pioneering scientist Carrol Foxall establishes fellowship for undergraduates pursuing summer research

On the first day of a chemistry lecture in Fall 1951, Carrol Foxall recalls the instructor informing the class, which included a handful of women, that he’d never given an A to a woman before, nor did he intend to that semester. “I’m sorry, Charlie,” Carrol said to...

July 06, 2021


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....

July 06, 2021


Frequent COVID-19 testing key to efficient, early detection, study finds

The chance of detecting the virus that causes COVID-19 increases with more frequent testing, no matter the type of test, a new study found. Both polymerase chain reaction and antigen tests, paired with rapid results reporting, can achieve 98% sensitivity if deployed at least every three days.

June 30, 2021


Neuroscientists uncover new neuronal circuitry that controls auditory sensory perception

A team of University of Illinois neuroscientists led by Baher Ibrahim and Daniel Llano recently published a study in eLife that furthers our understanding of how the brain perceives everyday sensory inputs.

June 28, 2021


Synergistic Toxicity of Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Peroxide Triggers Catastrophic Chromosomal Fragmentation

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is highly toxic inside most cells and is used by our immune system to kill infecting bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide produces highly reactive hydroxyl radicals via Fenton’s reaction. Reduced iron Fe(II), which is found only inside cells, donates an electron to H2O2 and splits the molecule...

June 24, 2021


MCB faculty among recipients of Cancer Center at Illinois seed grants

Nine interdisciplinary projects designed by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty, including several from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, were selected for the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) annual seed grant awards.

June 23, 2021


Kai Zhang receives 2021 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award to study the gut-brain axis

Congratulations to Kai Zhang, professor of biochemistry, whose team was selected for a 2021 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award. The project is entitled, “Engineering Enteric Neuron Activity to Enhance Antimicrobial Immunity in the Gut.”

June 23, 2021


Congratulations to Supriya Prasanth, who has been named a University Scholar

Supriya G. Prasanth, professor and head of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology in the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, has been chosen as a University Scholar. The University Scholars Program, established in 1985, aims to support outstanding University of Illinois faculty members and...

June 22, 2021


Effort to curb COVID-19 leads to a deeper understanding of communities and the disease

Several faculty from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, including microbiology professor Rachel Whitaker, are collaborating to help and learn from a town struck by the pandemic.

June 22, 2021


New early career seminars launching Fall 2021

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce two new seminars from the Departments of Microbiology and Cell & Developmental Biology. Both series are focused on bringing early career scientists to campus. Speakers from historically marginalized communities are encouraged to apply.

June 16, 2021


Cholesterol metabolite induces production of cancer-promoting vesicles

Scientists working to understand the cellular processes linking high cholesterol to breast cancer recurrence and metastasis report that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism causes some cells to send out cancer-promoting signals to other cells. These signals are packaged in membrane-bound compartments called extracellular vesicles.

June 09, 2021


Study assesses consequences of environmental contaminants on developing auditory system

A recent study characterized the physiological changes a common environmental chemical, polychlorinated biphenyls, induces on the developing brain and auditory systems. In contrast to the mechanisms that drive most hearing loss, PCBs are capable of restructuring parts of the central nervous system.

June 07, 2021


Researchers characterize natively bound lipids of a pentameric ligand-gated ion-channel in intact fragments of membrane

Many researchers have postulated that the lipid composition of the membrane containing ion channels is critical for function. However, there are limited data about the structure and function of natively bound lipids. Some molecular simulation experiments have provided some insight; but, data from wet lab experiments...

June 07, 2021


Five MCB students selected as Mayo Clinic’s 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

Each year, Mayo Clinic invites around 180 undergraduates from across the nation to participate in its Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. We are pleased to share the news that five students from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology will conduct research this summer as part of this...

June 03, 2021


Jana Radin named LAS Honors Faculty Mentor of the Year

Congratulations to Jana Radin on being chosen as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Honors Faculty Mentor of the Year!

May 11, 2021


Congratulations to the 2021 student award winners!

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce the winners of its 2020-2021 student awards, fellowships, and scholarships. These awards recognize academic achievement, research accomplishments, and excellence in teaching. We’re proud to have so many outstanding students. Congratulations to all our school and department award winners and thank you to our...

May 06, 2021


Investigating the role of Brd4 in diet-induced obesity

A new study, published in JCI insight, looks at how Brd4, a regulator of the innate immune response, influences diet-induced obesity. The researchers believe that Brd4 could be used as a target for obesity and insulin resistance.

May 04, 2021


Jie Chen receives campus award for graduate student mentoring

Congratulations to Jie Chen, professor of cell and developmental biology, who was honored with the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring. The award recognizes faculty members for their sustained excellence in graduate student mentoring, innovative approaches to graduate advising, and their impact on graduate student scholarship and...

May 04, 2021


Piecing together the LanCL puzzle

Researchers from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, including several faculty in the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, in collaboration with scientists at Oxford University have published a paper in Cell reporting the function of LanCL proteins. These proteins are found in eukaryotic cells but their function was previously unknown. The study is the first step...

May 03, 2021


MCB PhD student selected for Beckman Institute Fellowship

Seven graduate students, including one from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, have been awarded 2021 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowships. The program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the MA, MS, or PhD level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the institute.

April 29, 2021


Geographies of death: Study maps COVID-19 health disparities in Greater Santiago

People up to age 40 living in economically depressed municipalities in the Greater Santiago, Chile, metropolitan area were three times more likely to die as a result of the infection than their counterparts in wealthier areas, researchers report in the journal Science. People ages 41-80 in low socioeconomic-status municipalities also...

April 27, 2021


MCB undergrads selected for Community-Academic Scholars Initiative, will pursue community-based research this summer

Congratulations to students in the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology who were chosen to participate in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute’s Community-Academic Scholars Initiative. The initiative offers University of Illinois undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue community-based research projects in Champaign-Urbana over the summer. Scholars...

April 26, 2021


MCB students, faculty, and staff recognized for their extraordinary efforts during COVID-19

We’re proud to share the news that many School of Molecular & Cellular Biology students, faculty, and staff members have received College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Impact Awards. The awards, announced this week, recognize inspiring efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. So many in our community went beyond expectations...

April 20, 2021


Structure matters over sequence for cys-loop cell receptors

Cells communicate with each other by sending, receiving, and decoding signals. Signals that cannot cross the cell membrane directly – such as ions, water-soluble small molecules, and peptides – need to be detected by receptor proteins on the cell’s outer surface.

April 12, 2021


New summer research fellowship for underrepresented students

The University of Illinois School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce that AbbVie and the Black Business Network in partnership with the school have funded a new Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) that provides financial support for a student conducting research on campus. The new fellowship will support an MCB student...

April 09, 2021


Martha Gillette wins Beckman Institute's 2021 Vision and Spirit Award

Congratulations to Martha Gillette, who has been named the Beckman Institute’s 2021 winner of the Vision and Spirit Award. Gillette is director of the Neuroscience Program, Alumni Professor of cell and developmental biology, and a professor of molecular and integrative physiology.

April 09, 2021


MCB undergraduate awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Congratulations to MCB junior Evan Dray, who was awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship! Dray, of East Peoria, Ill., and a graduate of East Peoria Community High School, is pursuing majors in molecular and cellular biology and chemistry to support his career goals in oncology and pharmacology. He desires to teach and conduct translational research at...

April 06, 2021


Researchers identify mechanisms of controlling regeneration for two chromatin-remodeling complexes of Drosophila

Rachel Smith-Bolton, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois, leads an exciting research program on tissue regeneration. Her recent work uses Drosophila as a model to explore the effects of different chromatin modifiers on initiating, spatially controlling, and ending regeneration in...

April 06, 2021


Researchers characterize the function of PaeA, a protein involved in Salmonella virulence

The regulation of polyamines is essential for the physiological function of organisms. Simplistically, polyamines are organic cations that interact with RNA, including ribosomes and translational machinery. Both the lack of and an excess of polyamines confer lethal phenotypes, though the molecular mechanism behind this is unclear. Despite their critical...

March 26, 2021


Researchers uncover new insights in mechanisms of thymineless death

Andrei Kuzminov, professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois, leads research into the mystery of thymineless death, where mutant cells that cannot synthesize the essential molecule thymine will die unless the growth environment has thymine readily available. With graduate student Pritha Rao, Kuzminov recently explored the “resistance” period...

March 26, 2021


Researchers structurally characterize a dual-function transporter

The regulation of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter abundant in the central nervous system, is critical for maintaining normal brain function. Glutamate regulation is achieved via extracellular transport of the amino acid. There are two primary classes of proteins involved in the transport of materials across the membrane: channel proteins, which provide passive pathways for moving...

March 22, 2021


MCB statement on solidarity with Asian American communities

Dear Members of the MCB Community: We are all shocked, saddened, disappointed, and angered by the shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead. These killings are part of a rise in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans. The MCB community stands together in denouncing this senseless act, and all acts of...

March 22, 2021


Deciphering the impacts of small RNA interactions in individual bacterial cells

Bacteria employ many different strategies to regulate gene expression in response to fluctuating, often stressful, conditions in their environments. One type of regulation involves non-coding RNA molecules called small RNAs (sRNAs), which are found in all domains of life. A new study by researchers describes, for the first time, the...

March 10, 2021


New study identifies culprit behind onion rot: the chemical pantaphos, which is toxic to some brain cancer cells, could also have biomedical applications

Since 1983, the bacteria Pantoea ananatis has been known to infect several important crops including onions, rice, and corn. It was unclear, however, what molecules were involved. A new study, published in mBio, has identified one of...

March 09, 2021


Division of labor within regenerating liver maintains metabolism, mouse study finds

The liver has a rare superpower among body organs – the ability to regenerate, even if 70% of its mass is removed. It also keeps up its metabolic and toxin-removing work during the process of regeneration, thanks to a subset of cells that expand their workload while the rest focus...

March 02, 2021


Chris Brooke on The 21st radio show: New variants, vaccines and the future of COVID-19

Chris Brooke, assistant professor of microbiology, recently spoke with The 21st public radio show about what scientists know about the virus that causes COVID-19, the emerging variants, and what they still have to learn.

March 01, 2021


Researchers examine the biological role of epigenetic regulator Brd4 in inflammasome activation

Inflammasomes play a critical role in the innate cellular immune response to pathogen infection. The inflammasome, a cytosolic multiprotein complex, recognizes substrates produced during infection or tissue damage, and triggers an inflammatory response by releasing the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β and IL-18. Researchers have recently identified bromodomain-containing protein-4 (Brd4) as...

February 24, 2021


Belmont Lab offers new insights on nuclear speckles, improved mapping method

In a new publication, University of Illinois PhD graduate Liguo Zhang of the Belmont laboratory and colleagues introduce an improved version of TSA-seq and use it to demonstrate how changes in gene association with nuclear speckles correlate with changes in gene expression.

February 23, 2021


Cronan lab uncovers mechanism for synthesis of pimelate moiety, the biotin precursor

Professor John. E. Cronan, Microbiology Alumni Professor and professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois, is a leading researcher and innovator in the field of lipid metabolism. His recent work focuses on the synthesis of biotin and its building blocks across different species of bacteria....

February 22, 2021


Cari Vanderpool elected Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology

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

February 18, 2021


Wu and collaborators develop new molecules which attack the virus that causes COVID-19 and resist 'escape' mutations

An international team of researchers including Nicholas Wu, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, has published a new study which developed highly potent molecules that can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 by simultaneously targeting multiple sites of vulnerability on the virus.

February 15, 2021


New study: MCB faculty among world's most influential researchers

Several faculty from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology were among the most-cited researchers in the world in a new, widely hailed analysis designed to provide a clearer view of scientific and scholarly impact.

February 12, 2021


Unraveling mechanisms of FXR in protection against liver diseases

Obesity is rising in prevalence and poses a major concern for the health of our general population. Currently affecting over one-third of the population of the United States, obesity is often comorbid with other diseases, such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. The bile acid (BA)-sensing nuclear receptor...

February 10, 2021


Gut bacteria help digest dietary fiber, release important antioxidant

Dietary fiber found in grains is a large component of many diets, but little is understood about how we digest the fiber, as humans lack enzymes to break down the complex molecules. Some species of gut bacteria break down the fiber in such a way that it not only becomes digestible, but...

January 27, 2021