School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

The People’s Scientist: Dr. Esther Ngumbi Makes Science Accessible

Dr. Esther Ngumbi began her life’s work as a child alongside a river in rural Kenya.

At just seven years old, Ngumbi wanted a hand at farming, so her parents gave her a small strip of land near the river that she could plant cabbage on. Though her parents were both passionate educators, their incomes from teaching alone could not sustain her immediate and extended family, so her parents supplemented their earnings through farming.

Team cracks eggs for science

Avian brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, forcing the hosts to do the hard work of raising the unrelated young. A team of scientists wanted to simulate the task of piercing an egg – a tactic that only a minority of host birds use to help grasp and eject the foreign eggs. Their study offers insight into some of the physical challenges the discriminating host birds face.

Campus-Wide Innovation Prize 2021 Finalists!

The Technology Entrepreneur Center in The Grainger College of Engineering is pleased to announce 2021 finalists of the campus-wide innovation awards, to include SIB's own Gabe Price. The Illinois Innovation Prize (IIP) for $20,000 is awarded annually to a creative and passionate student working towards innovative solutions that could have a positive societal impact.

Not just CO2: Rising temperatures also alter photosynthesis in a changing climate

Agricultural scientists who study climate change often focus on how increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will affect crop yields. But rising temperatures are likely to complicate the picture, researchers including co-author Carl Bernacchi report in a new review of the topic.

College of LAS announces teaching award winners

Honorees will be celebrated in April along with last year's winners

The College of LAS has selected winners of this year’s teaching excellence awards. Twelve professors (including Wendy Yang from Plant Biology), graduate student teaching assistants (including Nicholas Anderson from Entomology), and an advisor (to be announced) are honored for their service.

Congratulations, Kim Leigh Recipient of the 2021 Excellence Award for Graduate Contacts

The Graduate College is proud to announce that Kim Leigh (Department of Entomology) is the winner of the 2021 Graduate College Excellence Award for Graduate Contacts. The award is given annually as part of the Graduate College’s Annual Workshop for Directors of Graduate Study and Graduate Contacts, which takes place virtually this year, March 9-11, 2021.

UI Wildlife Society petitions for bird-safe campus architecture

Earlier this year, Emmarie Alexander, junior in ACES, sat at her desk in her room in her second-floor apartment, taking one of her Zoom classes. Alexander was startled by a loud noise, quickly turning her attention away from her class. She investigated the noise and realized a bird had collided with her window, now laid on the ground below.

In Defense of the Cowbird with Sarah Winnicki

Pity the poor cowbird. Under-appreciated at best and outright hated at worst, the cowbird and its parasitic nest ways certainly lend themselves to strong opinions. But it is a remarkable bird in its own right, capable of amazing developmental feats that allow it to fit into its very odd niche. In this episode of the American Birding Podcast, PhD student Sarah Winnicki (Hauber Lab) makes the case for cowbirds, arguing that you don’t have to love them, but you should respect them.

Center for Advanced Study announces 2021-22 associates and fellows

The Center for Advanced Study has appointed nine faculty members from the College of LAS, including associate Mark Hauber, as associates or fellows for the 2021-22 academic year. They were among 20 faculty members chosen across campus.

Center for Advanced Study (CAS) associates and fellows are tenured and untenured faculty members, respectively, whose proposals are selected in an annual competition. Associates and fellows are granted a one-semester teaching release to pursue a scholarly or creative project.

Ngumbi receives AAAS award for public engagement with science

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign entomology professor Esther Ngumbi is the 2021 recipient of the Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science, an annual award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented to scientists and engineers in recognition of their contributions to public engagement with science.