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MCB Advising Staff

MCB students are not assigned an advisor. You may choose to meet with any one or more of the advisors listed below, but we encourage you to find someone that you connect with and meet with them consistently throughout your time at Illinois. If you would like for us to assign you an advisor, just ask when you make your appointment. Please call (217) 333-6774 or use our online scheduler to set up an appointment.

Tina Knox

Tina M. Knox (she/her/hers)
Assistant Director for Advising and Recruitment
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since October 2003
2018 IlliAAC Outstanding Advisor
Learn More About Tina

Advising Interests
First generation students
Students from small towns
Access and Achievement Students (EOP and PAP)
Transfer student success
Appreciative advising
Career advising and exploration
Pre- health advising
Ally to all students including LGBTQ and Undocumented

Ed.M. Education Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, 2008
B.S. Biology, University of Illinois, 1992

Teaching Interests

Research Interests
Acclimation of undergraduates to campus
Resiliency in transfer students
Retention of undergraduates
In my past life: Peptidase activity in Salmonella typhimurium

Personal fitness, watching dance performances, binging TV shows, studying the Bible, spending time with friends and family.

Timothy Bowers

Timothy Bowers (he/him/his)
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since 2000
Learn More About Tim

Advising Interests
First generation students
Career Development
Graduate School
Students from small towns
High school to college transition
Greek Life
Pre-health advising

M.S. Physical Chemistry, University of Illinois, 1993
B.S. Chemistry (ACS certified), Butler University, 1990

Research Interests
Magnetic resonance studies, MRI contrast agents

Growing orchids, gardening, reading, and spending time with my family.

Chester Brown

Dr. Chester Brown (he/him/his)
217B Burrill Hall
Advising since 2006
Learn More About Chester

Ph.D.  Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, 2007
M.S.  Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, 1999
B.S. Bioengineering, University of Illinois, 1991

Advising interests
Career planning: professional degrees in the sciences (MS, PhD)
Underrepresented Students
Appreciative Advising

Teaching Interests
Anatomy and Physiology

Research Interests
Developmental neurophysiology
Developmental plasticity

Reading, art, spending time with my family

Aurora Cruz-Torres Aurora Cruz-Torres (she/her/hers)
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since May 2015
Learn More About Aurora

Ed.M. Education Policy, Leadership, and Organization, Diversity in Higher Education Concentration, University of Illinois, 2022
M.S. Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois, 2012
B.S. Human Biology, University of Puerto Rico, 2006

Advising Interests:
Underrepresented students
First-generation students
Undocumented students
Non-traditional students
Career exploring
Career advising and planning
Graduate school
Ally to all students

Research Interests:
Human Behavior
Educational Psychology
Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Horror movies and tv shows, video games, painting, gardening and spending time with my dogs.

Lilia Garcia Lilia Garcia (she/her/hers)
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2021
Learn More About Lilia

B.S. Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 2021

Advising Interests:
Intercultural students
First generation students
Major and career exploration
Undergraduate research
Study abroad

Research Interests:
Microbial ecology
Plant-microbe interactions

Cooking, dancing, painting, hiking

Aaron Godwin

Aaron Godwin (he/him/his)
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since 2019
Learn More About Aaron

D.MA. Voice Performance and Literature, University of Illinois, 2019
M.M. Voice Performance and Literature, University of Illinois, 2016
B.M. Music Performance, University of Central Florida, 2013
B.A. Biological Sciences, University of Central Florida, 2010

Advising Interests
Major Exploration
LGBTQ+ students
Graduate School
Navigating Mental Health in College

Research Interests
Queer Theory & Musical Theatre
Interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning
In my past life: Invasive marine bivalves; growth and survival of Mytella charruana

Theatre, Opera, Film, Netflix, Photography, Cooking

Dr. Jack Ikeda

Dr. Jack Ikeda (he/him/his)
484B Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2009
Learn More About Jack

Post-Doctoral Research: UC San Diego Medical Center, Durham VA Medical Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Colorado State University
Ph.D.  Microbiology, University of California at Davis, 1990
M.A.  Microbiology, University of California at Davis, 1984
B.S. Biology, Santa Clara University, 1980

Advising Interests
Graduate school
Undergraduate research, senior thesis and Distinction

Teaching Interests
Molecular Genetics

Research Interests
Microbial pathogenesis

Boardgames, movies, photography, origami and the Beatles

Brad Mehrtens

Brad Mehrtens (he/him/his)
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since March 2004
LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, 2013 - 2014
Learn More About Brad

Advising Interests
Making the transition to Illinois for freshmen or transfer students
Preparing for professional or graduate programs
Understanding the undergraduate research experience
Acknowledging and addressing academic or personal issues
Appreciative advising

M.S. Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1993
B.S. Biology, Truman State University, 1991

Teaching Interests
MCB 150, Molecular & Cellular Basis for Life

Research Interests
Educational Pedagogy
Course Design

Acting, theater, movies, music and sports

Dr. Shawna Naidu

Dr. Shawna Naidu (she/her/hers)
Senior Coordinator for Instruction - Honors
200 Burrill Hall
Advising since August 2006
Learn More About Shawna

Advising Interests
High-Achieving Students
Double Majors
Advising towards Graduate and Professional School
Intercultural Students
Peer Advising

Ph.D., M.S. Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1996, 1992
A.B. Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 1989    

Teaching Interests
MCB 298 (Honors Lab Discussion Sections)
In my past life: General Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology

Research Interests
Assessment of Advising
Increasing academic success of at-risk students
In my past life: Plant response to global environmental changes

Crochet, crafting, Science Fiction/Fantasy literature and movies

Prospective Student Advisors:

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  • Deb Bielser, Assistant Director for Curriculum and Instruction
  • Melissa Michael, Associate Director for Curriculum and Instruction and Study Abroad Advisor
  • Alejandra Stenger, Senior Coordinator for Instruction, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

MCB Leaders

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A small group of accomplished students in MCB that want to help current and prospective students learn more about the University of Illinois, the College of LAS and the Molecular and Cellular Biology major.

Peer Advising Interns

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Peer Advising Interns are juniors and seniors majoring in MCB who are trained to help students with course planning and provide other general advice. They are available virtually at miscellaneous times throughout the semester. Watch our announcements page and the MCB ExpressAdvising Queue for specific times.

Jennifer Brandyberry

Jennifer Brandyberry (she/her/hers) - Retired June 30, 2021
Advising since January 2009
LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, 2015 - 2016

As always, you are welcome to request a specific advisor or simply schedule an appointment with the first available advisor. All of our appointments can be scheduled by calling 217-333-6774 or using our online scheduling app.