School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative launches at University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to announce the Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (IRAI), a new home for regenerative agriculture research, education, and outreach. The IRAI launches this fall with grant support from Fresh Taste, bringing together researchers on campus, including our own Evan H. DeLucia (G. William Arends Professor of Integrative Biology, Professor of Plant Biology, and Founding Director of iSEE), and stakeholders in Illinois and beyond.

iSEE researchers receive NSF grant for sustainable future manufacturing

A research team, including Lisa Ainsworth and D.K. Lee with the University of Illinois' Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a sustainable manufacturing system for the production of advanced electronic devices.

University of Illinois Wins Freezer Challenge for a Third Straight Year

The U of I's list of Top Freezer Challenge Labs includes the Downie Lab.

Keeping laboratory samples cold can be an essential part of research activities and ensuring the safety and integrity of projects and experiments. As a Tier One research university, the numerous refrigerators, freezers, and cooling equipment used at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign also present a significant opportunity to further energy conservation efforts.

Genomic study reveals evolutionary secrets of banyan tree

The banyan fig tree Ficus microcarpa is famous for its aerial roots, which sprout from branches and eventually reach the soil. The tree also has a unique relationship with a wasp that has coevolved with it and is the only insect that can pollinate it.

In a new study researchers, lead by Ray Ming, identify regions in the banyan fig’s genome that promote the development of its unusual aerial roots and enhance its ability to signal its wasp pollinator.

Amplifying expertise in the news

Four LAS faculty members receive Public Voices Fellowships

As a way to amplify voices of expertise on pressing issues, a national program called the Public Voices Fellowship will allow professors from across the country to pair up with journalists and learn more about how to discuss ideas with a broad audience. Four of the professors are from the College of LAS, to include Alex Harmon-Threatt.

Following the sounds of prairie cicadas

When I arrive at the Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Katie Dana is already out there. She’s wearing knee-high boots to ward off chiggers and ticks, and she’s carrying an insect net. Dana is on the prowl for cicadas: the loudest insects on the planet. On this hot summer day, they do not disappoint. The males are in full chorus.

Have you become obsessed with bugs or hummingbirds? In the pandemic, you’re not alone.

In the midst of the grief, confusion and anger of the past few months, many Americans have developed a new obsession with the creepy little things in life, by which I mean bugs.

I’ve never heard so many people talking about bugs as I have through this spring and summer, never seen so many social media posts dedicated to tiny critters that buzz and crawl and sting.

In times of ecological uncertainty, brood parasites hedge their bets

Some birds lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species and let the host parents raise their young. A new study finds that in times of environmental flux, these brood parasites “diversify their portfolios,” minimizing the risks of their unorthodox lifestyle by increasing the number and variety of hosts they select as adoptive parents.

Study reveals unique physical, chemical properties of cicada wings

Scientists, including entomology professor Marianne Alleyne, are exploring the structural and chemical characteristics of cicada wings.

Biological structures sometimes have unique features that engineers would like to copy. For example, many types of insect wings shed water, kill microbes, reflect light in unusual ways and are self-cleaning.

Illinois Team Tracks COVID ‘Spike’ Protein for 2020 iGEM Competition

The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for a worldwide competition that brings high school and college students together to tackle big questions in synthetic biology.

But it also provided a unique research opportunity for the University of Illinois team competing in this year’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition.