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  • C*STAR Fall 2015 Awardees Announced

    The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative, the Cancer Community at Illinois, and Carle Health Systems are pleased to announce the inaugural group of C*STAR awardees: Elizabeth Awick, Mahdieh Jadaliha, and Evijola Llabani.

    C*STAR, the Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research program, is a graduate education program that fosters translational research and near-term benefits to the patients served in the community. 

  • Cultural, linguistic gaps may deter Latinos from joining health programs

    The success of community health interventions targeting Latinos could be hindered by linguistic and cultural gaps unless researchers recognize the diversity that exists among Latino populations and work closely with community members to adapt programming accordingly, a new study suggests.

  • Cunningham's photonic crystal enhanced microscope sheds light on wound healing and cancer metastasis

    University of Illinois electrical and computer engineering and bioengineering professor Brian Cunningham’s Nano Sensors group has invented a novel live-cell imaging method that could someday help biologists better understand how stem cells transform into specialized cells and how diseases like cancer spread. Their Photonic Crystal Enhanced Microscope (PCEM) is capable of monitoring and quantitatively measuring cell adhesion, a critical process involved cell migration, cell differentiation, cell division, and cell death.

  • Decision-making is shaped by individual differences in the functional brain connectome

    Illinois postdoctoral researcher Tanveer Talukdar performed an analysis of how individual differences in decision-making are associated with specific regions and networks in the brain.

  • Director's Message | August 2020

    IHSI Director, Dr. Neal J. Cohen, shares reflections, updates, and highlights for August 2020.

  • Photo of Dr. Neal J. Cohen, Director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute

    Director's Message | July 2020

    IHSI Director, Dr. Neal J. Cohen, shares reflections, updates, and highlights for July 2020.

  • Director's Message | October 2020

    IHSI Director, Dr. Neal J. Cohen, shares reflections, updates, and highlights for October 2020.

  • Doctors Played a Role in Ideas About Racial Differences

    UI history professor Rana Hogarth’s research focuses on the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

  • Drinking more water associated with numerous dietary benefits, study finds

    For people who want to control their weight or reduce their intakes of sugar, sodium and saturated fat, tap water may be what the doctor ordered.

    A new study that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 U.S. adults found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water – tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle – by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

  • Drug-delivering nanoparticles seek and destroy elusive cancer stem cells

    Illinois researchers developed nanoparticles that can target cancer stem cells (yellow), the rare cells within a tumor (blue) that can cause cancer to recur or spread.  

  • Drugs with multiple targets show promise against myotonic dystrophy type 1

    Efforts to treat myotonic dystrophy type 1, the most common form of muscular dystrophy, are in their infancy. In a new study, researchers report they have added new capabilities to an experimental drug agent that previously defeated only one of DM1’s many modes of action. Their retooled compounds interrupt the disease’s pathology in three ways.

    “We’ve rationally designed something to target multiple pathways, which is contrary to the traditional thinking in medicinal chemistry, where you have one target, one drug,” said University of Illinois chemistry professor Steven Zimmerman, who led the research with graduate students Lien Nguyen and Long Luu. “People are slowly discovering that drugs that hit multiple targets are actually better.”

    The team reports its findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

  • Tim Fan

    Drug Trial in Dogs with Cancer May Speed Advances in Human Oncology

    Pet dogs may be humans’ best friends in a new arena of life: cancer treatment, said University of Illinois veterinary clinical medicine professor Timothy Fan. Physiological similarities between dogs and humans, and conserved genetics between some dog and human cancers, can allow pet dogs to serve as useful models for studying new cancer drugs.

  • Effects of epilepsy in neural activity in mice fluctuate with reproductive cycle, study finds

    Professor Catherine Christian and graduate student Jiang Li led a study that found that neurons regulating hormone release have different activity in mice with epilepsy, and that those differences fluctuate with the reproductive cycle. 

  • Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

    Illinois mechanical sciences and engineering professor Ning Wang, graduate students Erfan Mohagheghian and Gaurav Chaudhary, and postdoctoral researchers Junwei Chen and Jian Sun are measuring mechanical forces within cells to help unlock some of the mysteries of embryonic development and cancer.

  • Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events

    Psychology professor Sanda Dolcos and graduate student Yuta Katsumi explore how suppressing negative emotions affects brain function and memory.

  • Examining Bone Regeneration: Microscopy Suite Tools Assist Researchers in Skull Injury Repair

    With funding from the United States Army, researchers at the University of Illinois are looking for ways to repair complicated skull injuries with biomaterials—substances that can interact with or guide the body’s natural healing processes—instead of using artificial materials like titanium plates or grafting bone from other areas onto the head.

  • Exercise Changes Gut Microbial Composition Independent of Diet, Team Reports

    Jacob Allen, Prof. Jeffrey Woods and their colleagues found that exercise alters the microbial composition of the gut in potentially beneficial ways.

  • Faculty Nominations Now Being Accepted for the NIH Grant Writing Series

    The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI) is presenting a NIH Grant Writing Series at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The series is designed to help junior faculty prepare to write and submit strong R01 or other individual investigator proposals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This intensive series will consist of 10 sessions, scheduled over 12 weeks, during the fall 2015 semester.

  • FDA Moves to Revoke Soy Health Claim

    Dr. John Erdman weighs in on the FDA's move to revoke the authorized health claim that soy protein reduces heart disease risk.

  • Federal Officials Urged to Increase Perinatal Depression Treatment in Minority Women

    Federal funding is needed to increase diagnosis and treatment of perinatal depression in Latina and African-American women, according to a new study by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo.

  • Firmer, fitter frame linked to firmer, fitter brain

    In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers at Illinois, including Aron K. Barbey, associate professor of psychology, and collaborators from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Delaware found that aerobically fit individuals have a better memory, and a firmer, more elastic brain hippocampus.

  • Flexing Oor Muscle: Researchers Team Up To Study Stem Ccells And Muscle Rejuvenation

    You’re working hard to stay in shape—it helps your spirit, your body, and your mind. The bad news is that, as you age, your muscles do too. Despite your best intentions, there’s no guarantee that you can maintain that hard-earned muscle mass over time. The good news is that Beckman researcher Marni Boppart is on the job, examining why muscle loss occurs and looking for ways to rejuvenate muscle.

  • Four Illinois professors elected to National Academy of Sciences

    Four University of Illinois professors have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive.

    John Cronan, Jeffrey Moore, Donald Ort and Gary Parker are among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced by the Academy on May 2.

    "The entire campus community is celebrating the election of our colleagues to the National Academy of Sciences," said Robert J. Jones, the chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus. "This is one of our nation’s highest honors for scientific achievement, and we are proud to see four more of our distinguished faculty taking their places in this prestigious institution."

  • Future Environments: Doctor's Office of the Future with Stephen Boppart

    Watch the video of Stephen Boppart, professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering, as he answers a few questions about the future of health care. 

  • Scientists used soft materials to create a brain implant a tenth the width of a human hair that can wirelessly control neurons with lights and drugs. Courtesy of Jeong lab, University of Colorado Boulder.

    Futuristic Brain Probe Allows for Wireless Control of Neurons

    A study showed that scientists can wirelessly determine the path a mouse walks with a press of a button. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, created a remote controlled, next-generation tissue implant that allows neuroscientists to inject drugs and shine lights on neurons deep inside the brains of mice. The revolutionary device is described online in the journal Cell. Its development was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.

  • Liliane Windsor and Douglas Smith

    Grant funds computer simulation to train social work students, clinicians

    A federal grant of more than $919,000 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will fund one new course at the University of Illinois and support training for clinicians at area agencies in conducting early interventions with people who abuse substances.

    The training will be accomplished using a computer simulation called the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment protocol, an early intervention often used in hospital emergency rooms and other public health settings to screen people for substance abuse problems.

    Viewers using the program, developed by the technology company Kognito, must select the correct clinical response based upon the information provided by an onscreen client.


    Researchers at the Beckman Institute are investigating the efficacy of topical dermatological medications through noninvasive imaging technologies that track changes at the molecular level more quickly than previously possible.

  • Gut bacteria influence the brain indirectly, study shows

    A new study at Illinois has found that there is a three-way relationship between a type of gut bacteria, cortisol, and brain metabolites. This relationship, the researchers hypothesize, may potentially lead to further insight into autism, but more in-depth studies are needed. Researchers included animal sciences doctoral student Austin Mudd and Ryan Dilger, an associate professor of animal sciences and member of Beckman’s Bioimaging Science and Technology Group.

  • Karen Tabb Dina

    Health care, research failing to adapt to US’ growing multiracial population

    Multiracial people who change their racial identity from a single race to multiracial over time may be healthier than their minority peers who consistently identify as monoracial, new research suggests.

    Despite the U.S.’s rapidly growing population of multiracial individuals, researchers and health care systems continue to use outdated approaches to racial categorization that force people to classify themselves as monoracial, which may be masking the incidence of health conditions and obscuring disparities in health care access and utilization among multiracial populations, a University of Illinois scholar said.

    Social work professor Karen M. Tabb Dina is the lead author of two recent studies that explored issues of racial identity and its impact on health care access and utilization among nearly 8,000 U.S. young people.

  • Health Innovations Lecture Series Kicks Off for 2017

    On January 27, Mayo Clinic surgeon Dr. Heidi Nelson discussed emerging technologies, trends, and the future of surgery, as part of Health Innovations Lecture Series sponsored by IHSI and Carle.

  • Health Innovations Lecture Series Launches February 9

    The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI), the uniting force for research at the intersection of health sciences and technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Carle, the community’s nationally-recognized healthcare system, have joined forces to create the Health Innovations Lecture Series.

  • Health Sciences at Illinois

  • ‘Healthy Beginnings’ Brings Health Care To New Families

    When it comes to improving public health, the most effective interventions begin early in life. That’s why a team of health workers in Champaign-Urbana is reaching out to disadvantaged families, starting at pregnancy.

  • Honey bee researcher Gene Robinson elected to National Academy of Medicine

    Illinois entomology professor Gene Robinson was elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for pioneering contributions to understanding the roles of genes in social behavior.”

  • Hormone therapy combination may benefit health without increasing cancer risk

    A team led by food science and human nutrition professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan found that treating ovariectomized mice with a combination of conjugated estrogens and the drug bazedoxifene improved metabolism and prevented the weight gain often associated with low estrogen levels without posing increased risk to their reproductive tissues.

  • How Do Sexual Assault Survivors Fare?

    Sexual trauma can lead to feelings of fear and shame. Healing occurs best in the context of a supportive therapeutic relationship, says U. of I. kinesiology and community health professor Robyn L. Gobin.

  • Human trials of cancer drug PAC-1 continue with new investment

    Clinical trials of the anti-cancer agent PAC-1 are continuing to expand, thanks to a $7 million angel investment from an anonymous contributor who originally invested $4 million to help get the compound this far in the drug-approval pipeline.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also granted PAC-1 orphan drug status for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly brain cancer. This designation is meant to encourage development of drugs to treat rare diseases or conditions affecting a small subset of the population. Some steps in the approval process are aided or expedited for orphan drugs.

  • IHSI and Carle: Partnering in Pre-clinical and Clinical Research

    The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI) and Carle have built a partnership that is fostering and supporting pre-clinical and clinical research via the Biomedical Research Center. The BRC, which is located on the 3rd floor of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute at Carle, unites the clinical resources of Carle with the scientific resources of the University of Illinois to create a laboratory setting where cutting edge medical research is being conducted.

  • IHSI, Beckman Institute Launch New Center for Brain Plasticity

    A new center is taking shape, championed and supported by both the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Led by co-directors Aron Barbey and Neal Cohen, the Center for Brain Plasticity brings together researchers, university-wide, with the aims of advancing understanding of the brain and the power of the brain to be changed by experience and other external influences.

  • IHSI offers webinar for early career faculty

    IHSI has organized a webinar for early career faculty regarding engaging with federal funding agencies. This is an excellent opportunity for faculty to learn how to build and maximize their relationships with the funding agencies and program managers. The webinar will  be hosted and facilitated by Lewis-Burke Associates.

  • IHSI Officially Newest Interdisciplinary Research Institute at Illinois

    The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) has approved a new name for the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI): the “Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute.” With the Institute designation, IHSI joins six other Interdisciplinary Research Institutes as the newest pillar of the research ecosystem at Illinois.

  • IHSI to Host Town Hall Meetings

    The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI) will host two town hall meetings this fall. IHSI Director Neal Cohen will introduce the initiative, explaining how it catalyzes health research, connects investigators and labs with clinical partners, provides research support, and engages the communities in participatory health sciences research and outreach.

  • Brain Bee Graphic

    IHSI to sponsor local Brain Bee for high school students

    IHSI is sponsoring a Brain Bee, a neuroscience competition for high school students. The event will be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Champaign Public Library. The event is open to students between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. Registration is required by January 20, 2017.

  • Illinois and Mayo Clinic Team up to Develop Improved Method to Identify Seizure-causing Regions in the Brain

    Illinois' Yogatheesan (Yoga) Varatharajah, Ravi Iyer and collaborators from Mayo Clinic have developed a method to help doctors quickly identify the part of brain causing a patient’s epilepsy.

  • Illinois Cancer Research Featured on CBS Chicago

    Their dog was near death from a brain tumor, but a new treatment – a pill for cancer – has extended her life. Now, doctors are studying if this same treatment could also help human patients. CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports.

  • Cancer Scholars Program

    Illinois Cancer Scholars: Cancer Scholars Program links education to real-world issues

    The Illinois Cancer Scholars Program, a new undergraduate training program launched in fall 2014 in the department of bioengineering. The idea behind the program is to offer students a different kind of educational experience in which they learn about a real-world problem and approaches to solving it. The goal is to show the students the relevance of their coursework and to provide clinical and research opportunities for them to apply what they are learning to cancer research.

  • Illinois-Carle Collaboration Opens Stellar Opportunities for Graduate Students

    Carle Health System, through its Cancer Center, and the University of Illinois, through the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Initiative (IHSI), are debuting the Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research (C*STAR) Program, thanks to cross-campus funding and matching support from Carle.

  • Illinois-Carle Digestive Health Research Group Takes Shape

    More than 40 health-focused researchers, physicians, and advanced practice providers met this week to take the first steps in organizing the newest UI-Carle health research group. The Illinois-Carle Digestive Health Research Group is forming to combine Carle’s expertise in gastroenterology and digestive health with Illinois research strengths in nutrition, obesity, the human microbiome, and more.

  • Illinois Part of New Center Focused On Vector-Borne Disease

    The University of Illinois is among a consortium of Midwestern universities in a new federally funded center created to fight diseases spread by insect vectors, especially mosquitoes and ticks, through a unified approach of research, training, and practice.

  • Illinois researchers develop spectroscopic "science camera" system for smartphone-enabled mobile health

    The latest versions of most smartphones contain at least two and sometimes three built-in cameras. Researchers at the University of Illinois would like to sell mobile device manufactures on the idea of adding yet another image sensor as a built-in capability for health diagnostic, environmental monitoring, and general-purpose color sensing applications.