News Archive – 2018

Dr. Hong Jin selected as an LAS 2019-2020 Helen Corley Petit Scholar

"It is my pleasure to inform you that Dr. Hong Jin, UIUC Biochemistry Assistant Professor, was selected as an LAS 2019-2020 Helen Corley Petit Scholar," said Dr. Emad Tajkhorshid, Interim Head Department of Biochemistry. "The scholarship is provided by an endowment for development of the scholarship and teaching...

December 21, 2018

MCB Magazine: Small but Mighty; Tiny Organisms that Make a Big Impact

Our fall issue of the MCB magazine focuses on the diverse ways in which microbes affect our health.

December 17, 2018

Anakk Lab: The consequences of losing a scaffold

The Anakk lab has investigated the metabolic repercussions of deleting the scaffolding protein IQGAP1. These findings were published in a paper entitled "Identification of IQ motif-containing GTPase Activating Protein 1 as a regulator of long-term ketosis" in JCI Insight.

December 12, 2018

Christian Lab: Effects of epilepsy on neural activity in mice fluctuate with reproductive cycle, study finds

Mice with epilepsy have altered patterns of neuron activity in the portion of the brain that controls the reproductive endocrine system, University of Illinois researchers report in a new study.

October 14, 2018

Kehl-Fie Lab: PhoPR plays important role in S. aureus virulence

In work published in Infection and Immunity, graduate student Jessica Kelliher, from the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Kehl-Fie, investigated how the superbug Staphylococcus aureus regulates the acquisition of phosphate.

October 03, 2018

K.V. Prasanth Lab: Uncovering a novel role of a lncRNA during cell proliferation

The Prasanth lab has recently published a paper in Nucleic Acids Research titled “MIR100 host gene-encoded lncRNAs regulate cell cycle by modulating the interaction between HuR and its target mRNAs.”

September 28, 2018

Study: Damaged liver cells undergo reprogramming to regenerate

In Greek mythology, Zeus punishes the trickster Prometheus by chaining him to a rock and sending an eagle to eat a portion of his liver every day, in perpetuity. It was the right organ to target – the liver has the ability to regenerate itself, though not overnight nor for eternity. New research...

September 27, 2018

Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological histories

Using a suite of techniques both common and new to geology and biology, researchers, from left, M.D./Ph.D. student Jessica Saw, geologist and microbiologist Bruce Fouke, microscopy expert and plant biologist Mayandi Sivaguru and their colleagues made new discoveries about how kidney stones repeatedly grow and dissolve as they form inside the kidney.

September 18, 2018

Tajkhorshid Lab: Battling antimicrobial resistance

Update: The article has been featured by an invited commentary in PNAS.

From the commentary by Jana Shen:

“In PNAS, Vermaas et al. report a computational study that combines a battery of state-of the-art modeling and simulation tools to shed new light on the perplexing drug–proton antiport mechanism of EmrE at the...

September 08, 2018

Painting the cell with different colors: A collaborative paper from the labs of Kai Zhang and Dipanjan Pan

The Zhang and Pan labs recently published a joint paper in Nanoscale titled “Carbon dots with induced surface oxidation permits imaging at single-particle level for intracellular studies.”

August 30, 2018

Researchers develop “cytological ruler” to build 3D map of human genome

This research has been featured on the NIH director's blog. It has been almost 20 years since the human genome was first sequenced, but researchers still know little about how the genome is folded up and organized within cells. In a new paper in the Journal of Cell Biology,...

August 28, 2018

Study: Abnormal expression and phosphoinositide regulation of KCNQ/Kv7 channels linked to severe form of genetic epilepsy

Molecular and integrative physiology professor Hee Jung Chung (left), postdoctoral fellow Eung Chang Kim (right), and their colleagues discovered that abnormal expression and phosphoinositide regulation of KCNQ/Kv7 potassium channels underlie neuronal hyperexcitability and injury in early-onset epileptic encephalopathy characterized by drug-resistant seizures and severe psychomotor...

August 25, 2018

Congratulations to Monica Chinea Diliz on receiving the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Outstanding Scholar Award!

Monica has been recognized as an Outstanding Scholar by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and as a Chester and Nadine Houston graduate fellow.

July 26, 2018

College of LAS names alumni award winners from CDB and MICRO

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has announced the recipients of its 2018 annual alumni awards: Anne Carpenter, (PhD,'03 CSB) and Joanne Chory, (MS, '80 MICRO).

July 24, 2018

John Cronan Lab: Solving the process of lipoic acid assembly in humans

The Cronan lab recently published a paper in PNAS titled “Protein moonlighting elucidates the essential human pathway catalyzing lipoic acid assembly on its cognate enzymes.”

July 24, 2018

RNA-Binding protein, Mov10, is key to both survival and brain function

A study led by Dr. Geena Skariah, a recent Neuroscience graduate of the Ceman lab in Cell and Developmental Biology, and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan, revealed the importance of the protein Mov10 (Moloney leukemia virus 10) in neurological development in animals. The findings were published in...

July 24, 2018

Engineering T cells to attack cancer

The Kranz lab and colleagues have recently publish a trio of papers that describe the engineering of receptors that can mediate specific and potent destruction of cancers by T cells.

July 24, 2018

Undergraduate Students: Instruction, Advising, Courses and Opportunities

Please visit the MCB Advising site for info.

July 24, 2018

Dr. Brenda Wilson honored with the Dr. Larine Y. Cowen Leadership in Diversity Award

Watch this video to learn more about Dr. Wilson’s leadership in diversity. The Celebration of Diversity program is an annual event that brings together campus and community leaders to affirm their collective support for an inclusive society and community. This event celebrates the achievements of faculty,...

July 24, 2018

Jongsook Kim Kemper Lab: Novel regulatory pathways in the liver for maintenance of metabolic homeostasis in mice

The Kemper lab has recently published two high-profile papers on metabolic regulation in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Nature Communications.

July 23, 2018


July 23, 2018

Science Image by Rajashekar Iyer, Gillette Lab, featured by NSF

Part of the Art of Science program at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois (U of I), this delicate structure is a single brain cell (neuron) from a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which contributes to the formation and recall of memories....

July 23, 2018

K.V. Prasanth lab discovers cancer connections with MALAT1

Written by Doug Peterson Kannanganattu V. Prasanth was a graduate student in India a little over 20 years ago when he was told that no one was interested in long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Some of the professors also lamented that there was little future for studying the function of the so-called “unimportant and...

July 22, 2018

Study: Protein found to be key component in irregularly excited brain cells

Research scientist Kwan Young Lee, left, molecular and integrative physiology professor Nien-Pei Tsai and their colleagues discovered that an overabundance of the tumor suppressor protein p53 in neurons can lead to impaired regulation of neuronal excitability in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome.

July 17, 2018

Researchers discover a starring role for chaperone protein Hfq in gene regulation

A cell’s efforts to respond and adapt to its external environment rely on an elaborate yet coordinated set of molecular partnerships within. The more we learn about this complicated internal dance, the more we appreciate the flexibility of its roles. In a recent University of Illinois study, graduate student...

June 27, 2018

Blanke Lab: Disease-causing stomach bug attacks energy generation in host cells

Researchers report in a new study that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori – a major contributor to gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer – resists the body’s immune defenses by shutting down energy production within the cells of the stomach lining that serve as a barrier to infection.

May 30, 2018

Study shows how bacteria guide electron flow for efficient energy generation

Gennis Lab: Researchers determined the structure of a supercomplex of enzymes many bacteria use to generate energy.

May 14, 2018

Biochemistry's Second Annual Award Symposium

The Department of Biochemistry held its second annual graduate student award symposium on Friday, April 6th. The symposium featured two speakers who received awards: Dr. Harris, the recipient of the 2017 Biochemistry Trust of Urbana Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, and William Arnold, who received the 2017 Colin A. Wraight Memorial Award in Biochemsitry for...

April 26, 2018

Study reveals a novel target for the treatment of breast cancer

Image Caption: Treatment with the drug pimozide reduced tumor growth in a mouse model of breast cancer. Immunohistochemistry for phosphorylated (active) STAT5 and total STAT5 protein indicates that activation of STAT5 signaling is inhibited by pimozide treatment in vivo. Adapted from Mapes, et al. (Journal of Biological Chemistry 2018).

April 06, 2018

MCB graduate students serve as role models for middle school girls in Science Social Café

The goal of the event? According to STEAM Studio Director Angela Nelson, it was to “break the boundary of ‘You could be a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer,’” and open the youngsters up to the myriads of possible careers, such as in science and research.

April 03, 2018

Professional development workshop aimed at empowering women for successful careers

MCB faculty and staff presented strategies for success at the recent Women's Career Institute event held on February 24, 2018.

March 15, 2018

Virtual predator is self-aware, behaves like living counterpart

Rhanor Gillette and his colleagues built a virtual ocean predator that has simple self-awareness.

March 02, 2018

Cronan Lab: Lipoyl transfer has a "moonlighting" function -- that is, development of a new function while retaining the original function

The study's findings were recently published in PNAS

February 24, 2018

Researchers identify new physiological regulators of the one carbon cycle metabolism. The findings were published in Nature Communications.

Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Jongsook Kim Kemper and the first and co-corresponding author, Young Kim, co-author Sangwon Byun, and colleagues demonstrated that Aromatic Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) and the orphan nuclear receptor, Small Heterodimer Partner (SHP), have an unexpected function in...

February 09, 2018

Chung Lab: Prolonged seizure activity causes caspase dependent cleavage and dysfunction of G-protein activated inwardly rectifying potassium channels.

New findings suggest that novel down-regulation of GIRK channels by caspase-3 may contribute to NMDAR-dependent hippocampal atrophy following chronic epileptic seizures

February 03, 2018

Bacterial chromosomal breakdown during isolation highlights the unusual regulation of the surface nucleases

A recent paper in PLOS ONE from the Kuzminov lab illustrated a novel phenomenon, RiCF, aka “RNase-induced chromosomal fragmentation.”

February 01, 2018

Social experience tweaks genome function behavior

Mice have a reputation for timidity. Yet when confronted with an unfamiliar peer, a mouse may respond by rearing, chasing, grappling, and biting—and come away with altered sensitivity toward future potential threats. What changes in the brain of an animal when its behavior is altered by experience? Research at the University of Illinois led by...

February 01, 2018

Structural and computational analyses provide the first view of an activated AMPA receptor. Findings published by the Tajkhorshid and Gouaux labs in Cell.

AMPA receptors are transmembrane ion channels that open in the presence of the neurotransmitter glutamate. This can trigger an action potential, and glutamate receptors therefore play critical roles in how neurons communicate. At a synapse between two neurons,...

January 26, 2018

Brooke Lab: Certain Flu Virus Mutations May Compensate for Fitness Costs of Other Mutations

New research published in PLOS Pathogens finds that unexpected mutations help flu virus retain fitness by counteracting changes needed to dodge the immune system

January 18, 2018

Remembering Dr. Craig Mizzen

Dr. Craig Mizzen, Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, passed away at his home on January 5, 2018, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. He was 61.

January 11, 2018