News

Prasanth lab uncovers new insights into the role of Orc6 in the maintenance of genome integrity

Initiation of DNA duplication requires a six-subunit complex, the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC) that binds to the origins of DNA replication. The individual components of ORC also have many roles in other parts of the cell cycle, including heterochromatin organization and cytokinesis.

June 29, 2022


Small molecule transports iron in mice, human cells to treat some forms of anemia

A natural small molecule derived from a cypress tree can transport iron in live mice and human cells lacking the protein that normally does the job, easing a buildup of iron in the liver and restoring hemoglobin and red blood cell production, a new study found.

June 27, 2022


Student start-up targeting anemia testing wins support from iVenture Accelerator.

A new start-up led by a Carle Illinois College of Medicine student aimed at developing a saliva-based method to check for iron deficiency anemia has been selected for the University of Illinois’ iVenture Accelerator program this summer. The start-up called Ferritiva — founded by Carle Illinois student Jeffrey Lu —...

June 15, 2022


SHIELD program a model for effective pandemic management, data show

The SHIELD: Target, Test, Tell program combined frequent saliva tests with modeling and an app to keep the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus and surrounding community safe when on-campus operations resumed in fall 2020.

June 10, 2022


10 Illinois students, including MCB majors, selected as Mayo Clinic's 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

Each year, Mayo Clinic invites around 180 undergraduates from across the nation to participate in their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. Sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, this 10-week program gives undergraduates a chance to work at the forefront of biomedical...

June 08, 2022


New Rabinowitch Lecture Series honors pioneering UIUC biophysicist

The Departments of Biochemistry and Plant Biology are pleased to announce the creation of the Rabinowitch Lecture Series, which will feature guest speakers who have made key achievements in the two fields.

June 07, 2022


Recent research from Christian-Hinman lab provides foundation for new experimental designs to study epilepsy

Patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of focal epilepsy, often have seizures that start from one side of the hippocampus and not the other. Such patients may also experience complications such as cognitive impairment and reproductive endocrine disruption. Although it’s been documented that these...

June 06, 2022


MIP researchers repurpose classical assay to shed light on ligand-gated ion channel function

Two researchers from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have established a theoretical framework and practical protocol to translate the ligand-binding ability of ion channels into a holistic understanding of ion-channel function by repurposing a classical binding assay. The researchers suggest...

June 03, 2022


New ultrasound tool measures blood flow, images microvasculature in the brain

Researchers at the Beckman Institute developed a technique for producing super-resolution ultrasound images of tissue microvasculature in just a fraction of the time previously needed. Their work could enable future research into the neurovascular mechanisms behind conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

June 01, 2022


Researchers determine Pol III “identity” as important regulatory mechanism and likely disease factor in cancer

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a link between RNA polymerase III subunit composition and transcription, an advancement that has potential implications for future cancer research. A switch in one individual subunit, which gives rise to alternate...

June 01, 2022


Emeritus professor Govindjee delivers 2022 Anton Lang Lecture

Congratulations to Govindjee, University of Illinois professor emeritus of biophysics, biochemistry, and plant biology, who delivered the 2022 Anton Lang Lecture at Michigan State University this spring. "I was thrilled to have been chosen by MSU to deliver the prestigious 2022 Anton Lang Lecture. I have had the highest regard for his life...

May 23, 2022


'New player in town:’ Researchers uncover new organelle and its role in epithelial homeostasis

Epithelial cells, which cover our body and line our organs, have several functions which make them critical for certain bodily processes. To carry out their various physiological functions, these cells rely on apical junctions, specialized cell-cell junctions which exert a force that will carry out dynamic processes...

May 18, 2022


MCB students among 2022 Campus Undergraduate Research Symposium Award Winners

Two School of Molecular & Cellular Biology students were named winners at the 2022 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

May 10, 2022


Congratulations to student award winners!

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce the winners of its 2021-2022 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 alumni and...

May 09, 2022


PhD student named a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow

Congratulations to Defne Gorgun Ozgulbas who was recently selected as a Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow. Gorgun Ozgulbas is a PhD student in the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology and expects to graduate in August 2023. She earned her BS in biomedical engineering from TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara,...

May 04, 2022


Decoding Life with MCB: Eating Disorders

Life is extraordinary. So is the work we do. In a brand new podcast, Decoding Life with MCB, the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explores the impact of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni in each episode.

May 04, 2022


Undergrads explore the world through MCB's study abroad programs

For many students, going to college is like unfolding a corner of their map of the world they’ve never seen before. Amid these new experiences and settings, some University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students choose to pick up a new map and continue their exploration by studying abroad. The domestic and international shutdowns...

May 02, 2022


Research illuminates balancing act for protein linked to Fragile X Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease

A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests the overexpression of a particular gene could serve as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings could also lead to better understandings of the links between Alzheimer’s disease, Fragile X Syndrome, and autism.

April 26, 2022


Study tracks COVID-19 infection dynamics in adults

A team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tracked the rise and fall of SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva and nasal cavities of people newly infected with the virus. The study was the first to follow acute COVID-19 infections over time through repeated sampling and to compare results from different testing methodologies.

April 25, 2022


Machine-learning model can distinguish antibody targets

A new study from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology shows that it is possible to use the genetic sequences of a person’s antibodies to predict what pathogens those antibodies will target. Reported in the journal Immunity, the new approach successfully differentiates between antibodies against influenza and those attacking SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes...

April 21, 2022


A career built from the heart

Alumnus serves as director of cardio oncology for Chicago-area hospital

April 18, 2022


Study investigates the effects of DiNP on the colon

Phthalates are commonly used to make products—including artificial leather, footwear, plastic food packaging, and personal care products—more flexible or stable. In particular, di-isononyl phthalate is incorporated in vinyl clothing and construction materials. However, scientists do not completely understand if or how it harms the human body. To do so, researchers looked at...

April 11, 2022


Mining microbial genomes to discover natural products

The world around us contains many chemicals that are useful for medicines, crop protection, and animal health. These chemicals—known as natural products—have typically been discovered by sheer luck. Unsurprisingly, traditional techniques often find the same products, like antibiotics, repeatedly thus creating a need for new technologies. To address this growing demand, William Metcalf (MMG...

April 10, 2022


In Memoriam: Victor Ramirez, pioneering neuroendocrinologist

With great sadness, the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology shares the news of the passing of Dr. Victor D. Ramirez, a preeminent neuroendocrinologist who served as professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics from 1974 to 2000 and the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology from 2000 to 2003.

April 05, 2022


Decoding the molecular clock that controls neurogenesis in visual center of Drosophila

The nervous system is made up of diverse cells that arise from progenitors in a specific time-dependent pattern. In a new study, published in Nature Communications, researchers have uncovered the molecular players involved and how the timing is controlled.

April 01, 2022


Dozens of MCB teachers ranked as excellent by students in Fall 2021

Nearly 40 MCB teachers and teaching assistants were recognized by their students in the Fall 2021 semester for excellence in instruction.

March 29, 2022


MCB course instructor named "Most Valuable Professor" of Women's Gymnastics athletes

Ask any educator what it's been like teaching during a pandemic; you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s had a “normal” or “easy” time.

March 25, 2022


MCB student-athletes named to the Big Ten Conference's Academic All-Big Ten team.

Several student-athletes majoring in molecular and cellular biology have been named to the Big Ten Conference’s Academic All-Big Ten team.

March 24, 2022


MCB team identifies compound with potent antiseizure effects

Researchers studying epileptic seizures of the temporal lobe – the most common type of epilepsy – discovered a compound that reduces seizures in the hippocampus, a brain region where many such seizures originate. The compound, known as TC-2153, lessened the severity of seizures in mice. The scientists report their findings in the journal...

March 22, 2022


PhD candidate in molecular & integrative physiology named finalist for Research Live! Showcase

Update: Adam Nelczyk won the Illinois Graduate College's Research Live! People's Choice award for his presentation, "Frying Cured Meat Awakens Dormant Breast Cancer Cells."

March 11, 2022


Campustown bartender to Napa Valley winemaker

Biology alumnus taps into the science of winemaking

March 11, 2022


Cancer Center at Illinois team finds treatment of liver metastases in breast cancer patients improved by low-carb diets

Urbana, Ill. – A new study by Cancer Center at Illinois Education Program Leader, Zeynep Madak-Erdogan and her team, have found a new mechanism of endocrine resistance in breast cancers metastasized to the liver.

March 09, 2022


Decoding Life with MCB: Decoy Proteins

Life is extraordinary. So is the work we do. In a brand new podcast, Decoding Life with MCB, the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explores the impact of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni in each episode.

March 07, 2022


Mobilization of vitamin B12 transporters alters competitive dynamics in human gut microbe

Imagine living in a city made of similar apartment buildings. You and your fellow residents exist happily in your own buildings, making everything that you need to sustain yourselves. Sometimes you take notes from your neighbors on recipes or instructions on using the things around you. Everything is peaceful...

March 03, 2022


Taboo Buster: Nicole Williams works to improve women’s reproductive health through education and new treatment options

Dr. Nicole Williams, ’97 LAS, ’97 LAS, doesn’t get mad—she gets motivated.

March 02, 2022


School of MCB statement on crisis in Ukraine

The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is deeply concerned about the crisis in Ukraine and our hearts go out to Ukrainian students, scholars, and everyone affected by the Russian invasion. We understand that members of our community may be feeling anxious and fearful. We want to express our support for you. It...

February 25, 2022


Meet MCB: Dr. Paola Mera

Dr. Paola Mera is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Mera's research program combines bacterial genetics, biochemistry, and high-resolution imaging in order to examine the progression of the bacterial cell cycle at the molecular and cellular level. Her lab's research aims at filling the gaps in knowledge to control the life...

February 25, 2022


Carle Illinois research reveals new insight into links between Alzheimer's Disease and hearing loss

Researchers at Carle Illinois College of Medicine have uncovered new evidence about hearing loss in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). It pinpoints unexpected areas of brain shrinkage in AD patients with hearing loss. The work could eventually lead to earlier intervention and new treatment strategies to...

February 24, 2022


Circadian rhythm and the blood-brain barrier

Beckman faculty members Martha Gillette and Hyunjoon Kong received an NIH/DOD grant to study how circadian rhythm affects the blood-brain barrier’s permeability to small molecules and susceptibility to blood leakage. Their team will design a microfluidics-based chip from human stem cells to model the blood-brain interface.

February 22, 2022


Meet Temirlan Shilikbay, cell & developmental biology PhD student

The School of MCB is proud to highlight our graduate students, including Temirlan Shilikbay, now in his third year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is a PhD candidate in professor Stephanie Ceman's lab in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. The lab's goal is to study...

February 22, 2022


Study identifies key regulator of cell differentiation

Embryonic stem cells and other pluripotent cells divide rapidly and have the capacity to become nearly any cell type in the body. Scientists have long sought to understand the signals that prompt stem cells to switch off pluripotency and adopt their final functional state.

February 21, 2022


Scientists join together to present findings on impact of lipids on metabolic diseases

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently hosted the 4th Big Ten Academic Alliance Lipid meeting, bringing together dozens of scientists from across the country to share their expertise on how lipids impact metabolic diseases.

February 18, 2022


Freeman brings molecular chaperone expertise to Cancer Center at Illinois

Urbana, Ill. – Cancer Center at Illinois scientist and professor of cell and developmental biology, Brian Freeman, has focused his research on the study of molecular chaperones (MCs) since the beginning of his career as a graduate student when chaperones were thought to have no medicinal purpose. Now,...

February 16, 2022


Prenatal exposure to phthalate DEHP affects pituitary gland function in mice, researchers find

People are exposed to a wide range of phthalates, a group of industrial chemicals, every day, via plastics, personal care products, and building materials. For pregnant women, the negative reproductive health consequences of such exposure pose a serious concern. Recent studies from the University of Illinois have found...

February 15, 2022


'Molecular Velcro' enables tissues to sense, react to mechanical force

The Velcro-like cellular proteins that hold cells and tissues together also perform critical functions when they experience increased tension. A new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study observed that when tugged upon in a controlled manner, these proteins – called cadherins – communicate with growth factors to influence in vitro tumor growth...

February 10, 2022


University of Illinois students explore interdisciplinary approaches to Microbial Systems through MicroERA

University of Illinois students and postdocs are connecting across disciplines to explore research, networking, career and professional development opportunities related to microbial systems. The Microbial Early-career Researchers Association (MicroERA) was established in 2019 by graduate students and postdocs from the Department of Microbiology with the help of

February 09, 2022


E. coli induces repair enzymes to protect itself from low-grade hydrogen peroxide stress

Building upon decades of research, scientists at the University of Illinois have determined Escherichia coli (E. coli) induces DNA repair enzymes to protect itself from low-grade hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) stress. Their collective findings, published recently in Molecular Microbiology, suggest the toxicity of low micromolar concentrations of H2O2 have...

February 07, 2022


Meet Stefanie Eben, microbiology PhD student

From studying E. coli to riding horses, Stefanie Eben says she has found the perfect mixture of academic and personal fulfillment at the University of Illinois.

February 02, 2022


Twelve faculty, including MCB professor, selected for the 2022 NIH Grant Writing Series mentorship program

Long-standing program prepares early-career Illinois faculty to submit NIH proposals.

January 31, 2022


Professor reflects on decades of breast cancer research, sees hopeful future

When Professor Benita S. Katzenellenbogen reflects on the state of breast cancer research today, she’s filled with a sense of optimism for tomorrow.

January 28, 2022


Dr. Bhoomika Mathur: MCB Alumni, postdoctoral Researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Bhoomika Mathur earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology in 2019. She was a member of Professor Sayee Anakk's lab.

January 28, 2022


University of Illinois alumni establish scholarship fund for undergraduate students

Carole and Alan Stivers have a lot to thank the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for: 

January 27, 2022


Beckman Institute Student Researcher Spotlight: Madeleine Subach

From attending biology lectures to working in a lab full of researchers, this month's featured student researcher at Beckman Institute, Madeleine Subach, is driven to investigate issues in human tissue cell signaling. Her research contributes to the improvement of recovery methods following muscle atrophy, particularly in aging populations.

January 27, 2022


Brian Freeman elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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