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DR. JACK IKEDA

I was born and raised in California and received my BS in Biology at Santa Clara University. I considered going into the field of optometry, but a requirement to apply was microbiology, which I had not taken as an undergraduate. So I took a gap year and took some microbiology courses. That is when I fell in love with microorganisms and decided to apply to graduate school instead. I attended the University of California at Davis and received an MA, followed by a PhD in Microbiology. I was uncertain about my long-term career goals, but I continued with a series of research positions at various institutions throughout the country. I worked at UC San Diego Medical Center, Durham VA Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland, Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and here at the University of Illinois. These were all great research labs and my main interest focused on microbial pathogens, but I also developed an affinity for the academic environment. It was here at this University that I had the chance to teach some classes and interact directly with undergraduate students. This brought about a whole new set of challenges and a welcome change from laboratory work. I eventually switched from research to teaching and was hired as a Lecturer in 2005. I have taught MCB300 (Microbiology), and continue to teach MCB250 (Molecular Genetics), MCB301 (Experimental Microbiology) and MCB428 (Microbial Pathogens Laboratory). In 2009, I also started advising MCB students which allowed me to learn more about the MCB curriculum, as well as learn more about the students I was teaching in my classes. I’m happy that my journey so far has brought me here, and I’m able to help guide students during their journey at the University of Illinois. To do so as both an MCB Advisor and as a Lecturer has been a very rewarding and gratifying experience.