Life is extraordinary. So is the work we do here.


Finding solutions to the complex challenges facing society today requires multi-investigator and cross-disciplinary endeavors. MCB researchers are embedded within major interdisciplinary research institutes across campus, and they collaborate with peers throughout the world. Faculty and students are uncovering insights into neurological and metabolic disorders, such as epilepsy and diabetes. We are at the forefront of diagnosing and treating cancer and combatting infectious diseases like the novel coronavirus and influenza.

Research across the School of MCB



Finding solutions to global challenges, such as the emergence of new infectious diseases, skyrocketing antimicrobial resistance, and the health of our planet's ecosystems, will depend upon discoveries from microbiology research. Illinois microbiology faculty focus on the physiology, genetics, and pathogenesis of microbial organisms and viruses. Focus areas include: 

Archaeal Biology  |  Bacteriophage Biology  |  Drug Discovery  |  Eukaryotic Virology  |  Gene Regulation
Host-Pathogen Interactions  |  Microbial Communities/Microbiome  |  Microbial Physiology
Molecular Evolution  |  Oxidative Stress

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Cell and developmental biology


We study how cells grow and divide, assemble, and function to form multicellular organisms. Using multidisciplinary approaches, we investigate fundamental biological questions and are dedicated to training and educating students in modern molecular and cellular biology, cancer biology, developmental biology, and neuro-cognitive sciences. Focus areas include:

Cell Biology of the Nucleus  | Epigenetics  | Chromatin Biology  |  Developmental Biology (including Regeneration, Patterning and Cell Fate, Stem Cell Biology, Tissue Mechanics, Human Developmental Disorders)  | Gene Regulation  |  Genetics  |  Genomics  |  Neurobiology  |  Neurological Disorders (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Epilepsy, Fragile X)  |  Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions  |  RNA Biology

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molecular and integrative physiology


We strive to understand gene products at multiple levels of biological organization, from molecules and macromolecular complexes to cells, tissues, and whole organisms. With the tools of molecular genetics, biophysics, and modern systems biology, physiologists are at the forefront of life and biomedical sciences. Focus areas include:

Cancer  |  Developmental Biology  |  Drug Discovery  |  Endocrinology  |  Epigenetics  |  Gene Regulation
Genomics  |  Immunology  |  Ion Channels  |  Membrane Biology  |  Metabolism  |  Molecular Pharmacology
Neurobiology  |  Neurological Disorders  |  Neuroscience  |  Protein Biochemistry & Protein Structure  |  Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions  |  Reproductive Biology  |  RNA Biology  |  Signal Transduction

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We investigate the processes in living systems from a molecular perspective. UIUC biochemists lead research in chemical biology, nucleic acids biochemistry, molecular virology, membrane biochemistry, genomics, microbial physiology, signal transduction & more. We provide tools to develop the next generation of medicine.

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Interdisciplinary & Impactful

Research institutes and initiatives


MCB scientists are leading research programs at the major interdisciplinary centers on campus, such as the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, Cancer Center at Illinois, and Microbial Systems Initiative.

They also work in facilities made for biologists advancing their fields, including the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center, which supports genomics, flow cytometry and translational medical research and Cryo-EM technology.

$33 million
Annual MCB R&D expenditures
Active MCB labs