• 2024-05-21 - Established in 2015, the Oyetunji A. Toogun Memorial Award for Excellence in Research is an annual award named in honor of Tunji Toogun, a PhD student in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology who passed away in 2007. The annual award recognizes CDB graduate students for their exceptional research accomplishments. The 2024 recipient of the Toogun Award is Hailun Zhu, a doctoral student working with Dr. Xin Li. Tell us a little bit about your research at Illinois. Our lab uses Drosophila — the common fruit fly — to study neurobiology. My project has...
  • 2024-05-09 - Researchers from the University of Illinois have demonstrated the importance of cell-type-specific targeting in the treatment of HIV. Their findings, published in PNAS, are one of the first to examine the differential or cell-type specific effects of HIV latency modulation on myeloid cells, a type of immune cell made in bone marrow. A major barrier to eliminating HIV infection is how to manage latency, or the period in which an infected cell is dormant and unable to produce virus. Latent HIV cells congregate throughout the body...
  • 2024-05-07 - The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology honored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students at its annual award ceremony, held on May 2. These student awards, fellowships, and scholarships recognize academic achievement, research accomplishments, and excellence in teaching and are made possible through the generous support of alumni and friends of MCB.  A list of 2023-2024 undergraduate honorees can be found on the Undergraduate Awards page. Graduate award winners...
  • 2024-05-06 - A new study from the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology seeks to better understand shedding patterns among common respiratory viruses by closely examining the immune system before, during, and after infection. The FLUdetect study, headed by Chris Brooke, an associate professor of microbiology, and Nicholas Wu, an assistant professor of biochemistry, aims to learn more about specific features of the immune response to improve infection control. “We’...
  • 2024-05-03 - Three University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professors, including biochemist Steve Sligar, have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of a scientist's highest professional honors. Sligar, a professor emeritus of biochemistry, along with physics professor Chen-Yu Liu and chemistry...
  • 2024-04-30 - A trio of researchers from the Department of Microbiology has discovered an essential function of a landmark protein in regulating movement across bacterial cells. Members of the Mera Lab determined how the coiled-coil polar protein TipN moves a region of the chromosome called parS. They also observed a connection between TipN and the DNA replication initiator DnaA, revealing a new communication pathway within the cell that was previously unknown. Their findings appear in Molecular Biology of the Cell. The lab’s...
  • 2024-04-11 - The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology honored three faculty and staff members who show visionary spirit and dedication on the 124th anniversary of founder Arnold Beckman’s birth. Congratulations to Emad Tajkhorshid, J. Woodland Hastings Endowed Professor of Biochemistry, who won the faculty Vision and Spirit Award!...
  • 2024-04-10 - For six years, the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology’s Graduate Student Association’s “Science on Tap” has introduced a variety of biology-related topics to scientists and non-scientists over a cold drink at a local brewery. “The vision behind [the series] is to spark conversation between graduate student researchers and the Champaign-Urbana community,” said Caroline Vermilya, a PhD candidate in the...
  • 2024-04-02 - Congratulations to Dr. Mesa, a 2024 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient! In April 1986, a nuclear reactor exploded at the Chernobyl Power Plant in the Soviet Union. The worst nuclear disaster in history shaped the trajectory of nuclear power safety worldwide, while also shaping the career trajectory of then-18-year-old Ruben Mesa, a college freshman studying nuclear engineering 5,000 miles away from the blast site at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mesa, a 1991 graduate in...
  • 2024-04-02 - Congratulations to Dr. Monteggia, a 2024 College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient! Lisa Monteggia’s journey to a career in psychiatric neuroscience began nearly forty years ago in a microbiology lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, Monteggia knew she had a talent for math and science but she never dreamed that her aptitude would foster three university degrees and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale, ultimately landing in her current positions as the Lee E....
  • 2024-04-02 - The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology is pleased to announce the award winners from the 2024 Graduate Research Retreat, held at the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center on Friday, March 29. Awards were presented for both the poster sessions and oral presentations.  Poster Session:  Owen Ouyang, in Dr. Nicholas Wu’s lab, with “oPool+ Display: A Rapid and Cost-effective In-vitro Antibody Screening Platform.” Joel Rivera-Cardona, in Dr. Christopher Brooke’s lab, with “...
  • 2024-04-01 - By day, Stephen Johnson is a Sponsored Business Analyst for the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology. By night, he’s a podcast host and avid marathon runner. Johnson filled us in on his daily routine, the similarities between financial work and sound editing, and his efforts to raise money for a peer support nonprofit. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do within the School of MCB? What does an average work day look like for you? No two days are the same; there is always something new. My main tasks center around grants—helping [primary investigators] PIs...
  • 2024-04-01 - We are excited to welcome Joseph Fernandez, PhD, to the School of MCB's Instructional Program team. Dr. Fernandez joined the school in March as the new Coordinator for the Undergraduate Major in Neuroscience. We spoke with him recently to learn more about his path to neuroscience, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the School of MCB. What drew you to being an advisor for the School of MCB? Last year I was a...
  • 2024-03-21 - The School of Molecular & Cellular Biology and Department of Biochemistry are pleased to welcome Samy Meroueh as a new professor of biochemistry this spring. He joins us from the Indiana University School of Medicine. We spoke with him about his research and teaching interests and how he spends his time outside the lab. Tell us about your lab and your research focus, including how you came to choose or specialize in this area. We develop small molecules to inhibit or degrade proteins...
  • 2024-03-19 - Some animals possess the remarkable ability to regenerate lost structures, exemplified by a lizard regrowing its tail. However, this regenerative process must be tightly regulated by the body to ensure proper tissue organization and to prevent abnormal growths, such as cancer. Yet, the precise mechanisms underlying this regulation are not well known. In a recent study published in PLOS Genetics, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have identified an RNA-regulator called Brat as a key player in restraining tissue regeneration through its modulation of downstream...