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Host-Pathogen Interactions

Context matters: Whitaker combines her passions for microbiology and education to better understand our world

Microbes, human beings, and the many systems we inhabit, from farms to factories and hospitals to high schools, are all connected. Working in natural environments, research labs, and local communities, Rachel Whitaker has been...

Scientists discover a small immune system that packs a big punch

A recent study by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has discovered a unique immune system in bacteria composed of a single enzyme that destroys a broad range of bacterial viruses (known as phages). Their findings were published in Cell Host & Microbe.

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...

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...

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-...

Welcome to Professor Nicholas Wu

Professor Wu was one of ten new faculty hires made in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the last three years. Wu is an assistant professor of and is an affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Welcome to Professor Beth Stadtmueller

Professor Stadtmueller was one of ten new faculty hires made in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the last three years. Stadtmueller is an assistant professor of biochemistry, assistant professor of Biomedical and Translational Sciences with the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and...

Welcome to 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.

New study explores complex phage-host interactions in human gut

Danielle Campbell, a microbiology PhD graduate of the Whitaker Lab, recently studied the interaction of the active prophage, Bacteroides phage BV01, in its tractable host strain, B. vulgatus ATCC 8482. Bacteroides, known to degrade complex carbohydrates and interact with host immune cells, are one...

Bacteria show their metal: An evolutionary path to survival

An investigation of two closely related proteins from a pathogenic bacterium has illustrated for the first time how evolution can shape the use of essential metals by enzymes.