A Foundation for Modern Teaching and Research

courtesy LAS News Magazine, Winter 2015 edition

In the late 1800s, with the University of Illinois facing growing enrollments and limited space, renowned University architect Nathan Ricker designed a distinctive teaching and research building at the heart of campus that he hoped would endure through the ages. He produced a gem—the Natural History Building.

This historic structure has hosted generations of students studying geology, biology, and other disciplines. Distinguished scholars have taught, established laboratories, and conducted groundbreaking research within its walls.

But designs and infrastructure that worked for the 19th and 20th centuries do not meet today’s teaching and research demands. The Natural History Building has reached a critical juncture and it must evolve dramatically to continue to serve our campus. Thus, the University has begun a $70 million renovation that preserves the building’s historic exterior while transforming the interior into a new world of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and meeting spaces.nhbA Vision

The renovation of the Natural History Building will create a dynamic education and research center. It will house classrooms, laboratories, and offices for current and future generations of geologists, geographers, and atmospheric scientists, and will be the center for biological and environmental education for students from across campus.

IB students will gain skills to examine challenges such as the outbreak of a new infectious disease or the causes and consequences of declining biodiversity. They will combine an understanding of basic natural history with new technologies that will bring breakthroughs in fields such as genomics. The holistic approach of the School of Integrative Biology will prepare students to tackle complex problems ranging from understanding evolutionary processes to developing biofuels.

For more on the NHB Renovation, including naming opportunities, and the story of a mysterious time capsule, please visit LAS News magazine.

Looking for hands-on experience?

Consider registering for ENG 315: Learning in Community

Student teams working on real projects with community partners
Open to all students, all majors, all levels

LINC is an interdisciplinary, inquiry-guided service-learning course in which students provide meaningful service through the conception, development, and implementation of projects in collaboration with non-profits and community partners. Each section of the course is dedicated to a nonprofit organization that has proposed one or more projects of importance to the organization.  There are both new and continuing partners each semester. Choose a section based upon your interests and/or skills or your desire to learn something new!

Early in the semester you will meet a representative from your partner organization, learn more about the organization and its mission, and begin a semester project that addresses the needs of the organization. You will engage in a variety of research, service and fieldwork activities outside of class to gain knowledge needed for the project, and that knowledge is then discussed for understanding, applied, analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated in class. Class time is also used to help students delegate tasks, make decisions, process new information, engage in reflective discussions, learn core course content, collaborate with teammates, and receive guidance and feedback on the projects. Throughout the semester you will identify and explore topics that will assist you with the execution of your project. The semester concludes with a public poster presentation in which teams present the accomplishments of the project, value added to the community organization, and lessons learned.

As a result of this course you can expect to gain knowledge and skills in conducting research, understanding social and environmental issues, analyzing community and organizational needs and assets, defining problems, generating and analyzing solutions, identifying and mobilizing resources, project scoping, planning, and execution, teamwork and leadership, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, professional writing, and civic responsibility.

For more information and to see projects for Spring ’15, visit http://linc.illinois.edu/spring-15-projects

The World of Biology Photo Competition 2013

An exciting opportunity for the SIB community has come forth this spring: The World of Biology Photo Competition! Anyone affiliated with SIB is eligible to submit up to three photographs in any of three categories: Nature, Biologists at Work, and Biological Imaging. Cash prizes will be awarded to 1st ($200), 2nd ($100), and 3rd ($50) place in each category.

Nature: Any photograph showing some aspect of the natural world.

Biologists at Work: Any photograph showing one or more biologists working in the laboratory or in the field.

Biological Imaging: Any photograph taken through or with the aid of a microscope or other imaging device.

To ensure that your photographs are in the competition, please mount each photograph on 11” x 14” quarter inch foam core backing, and drop them off along with electronic copies to the School of Integrative Biology office (286 Morrill Hall) by 5 PM Friday, April 19, 2013. There will also be an exhibit of the photographs at 612/614 Institute of Genomic Biology the following week from 3-5 PM on April 25, 2012.

Please feel free to download both the entry form and full instructions for the competition from this post by clicking on the following links:

SIB Photo Contest 2013 Instructions and Entry Form

SIB Photo Contest 2013 Flier

2012 World of Biology Photo Competition Winners

Summer undergraduate research fellowships

Developing Drought Tolerant Biofuel Grasses

Dr Leakey (www.life.illinois.edu/leakey/) has multiple fellowship positions in his research group available for summer 2013. The positions are for a minimum of 10 weeks of full-time work paid at $10 per hour. Participants will work with a team of post-docs and graduate students studying the genetic basis for drought tolerance in the new model C4 grass setaria. The project is funded for $12.1 million by the Department of Energy and provides a unique training opportunity encompassing genomic, biochemical and physiological analyses in the field. Interested students should e-mail Melinda Laborg (laborg@illinois.edu) expressing their interest and attach a brief CV before the deadline of Feb 1 2013.

Developing Stress Tolerant Corn

Dr Ainsworth (www.life.illinois.edu/ainsworth/), Dr Leakey (www.life.illinois.edu/leakey/) and Dr Brown (http://cropsci.illinois.edu/directory/pjb34) have multiple fellowship positions in their research team available for summer 2013. The positions are for a minimum of 10 weeks of full-time work paid at $10 per hour. Participants will work with a team of post-docs and graduate students studying the genetic and genomic basis for oxidative stress tolerance in maize. The project is funded for $5.7 million by the National Science Foundation and provides a unique training opportunity encompassing genomic, biochemical and physiological analyses in the field. Interested students should e-mail Melinda Laborg (laborg@illinois.edu) expressing their interest and attach a brief CV before the deadline of Feb 1 2013.

Internship Opportunity

Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health (CLEH)

Internship Opportunity Announcement

2012 Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) are offering a paid 10-week summer internship program for students who are passionate about the environment, interested in human health, and curious about how they are linked. During the course of the internship, students are introduced to environmental health at the federal level through collaborative projects, experiential learning opportunities, environmental health presentations, journal clubs, field trips, brown bag lunches, and mentoring relationships at NCEH/ATSDR.  Interns will be based at NCEH/ATSDR’s Chamblee Campus and will be paid a stipend of approximately $600 a week during the course of the program.

Application due date: January 30, 2013

Program dates:  June 12 – August 16, 2013

“The experience has been profoundly enriching, and has greatly enhanced the depth of my understanding of the environment and public health. The people I have met during the course of my internship not only helped me to cultivate this understanding, but were also wonderful and interesting people to interact with. They made the internship more than a professional experience—it was an experience of comprehensive growth and development.”

– Kimber Ray, 2012 CLEH intern

Eligibility requirements:

1.       US citizenship or Permanent Resident with a green card

2.      Full time enrollment at a college or university as a rising junior or rising senior by fall 2013

3.      Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Please visit our website for more information and application instructions: www.cdc.gov/nceh/cleh

Note: Seniors graduating in Spring 2013 will not be accepted into this program

For more information, please email Jay Nielsen or Christa Essig at CLEH@cdc.gov.

Welcome Back! – Fall 2012

Welcome Back! – Fall 2012

Thursday, September 6th, 5:00-7:00 PM

Illini Union Room C

  • Meet Faculty and IB Advisors
  • Free Food
  • Free T-shirt
Crowd at Picnic

Find out what SIB is all about and meet other IB majors!!

Are you interested in learning more about the Integrative Biology Major? Do you want to meet our faculty in an informal setting? Want to hang out with other IB majors? Do you just want to mooch a free meal? Come on out and join us!

Anyone with even a potential interest in the Integrative Biology Major is invited to join us September 6th for some picnic fun. We welcome IB majors, undeclared or those who just want to check us out.

Spring Convocation Saturday!

Saturday, May 12, 2012, 10:00 AM
Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana

The School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony is for graduating seniors, Master’s and doctoral candidates in curricula under the auspices of the School of Integrative Biology. A reception will immediately follow the Ceremony in the KCPA lobby. This Ceremony is in addition to the campuswide Commencement Ceremony in the Assembly Hall.  Doctoral candidates may be hooded at either or both ceremonies.

Tickets ARE required for this event.  Tickets are free and limited to eight per student. Tickets may be picked up in 286 Morrill Hall, Monday through Thursday, May 7-10, between the hours of 1:00 and 4:30 PM.  Additional tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis on Friday, May 11, from 8:30 AM to noon or 1:00 to 4:30 PM.

Eligibility: August and December 2011 graduates and May 2012 degree candidates are eligible to participate in this formal Ceremony. August 2012 B.S. or M.S. degree candidates are also eligible to participate. Please note that Ph.D. candidates must have their dissertation on file in the Graduate College Thesis Office by April 20.

To register to participate in the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony please come to 286 Morrill Hall as soon as possible.

All graduates and degree candidates participating in the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony are required to wear appropriate academic attire. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduates wear custom regalia designed specifically for the campus. Academic attire consists of a blue mortarboard, blue gown and, in the case of a doctoral degree, a hood. (View custom regalia here (.doc).) Academic attire may be ordered at http://www.herffjones.com/illinois. If you are unsure of your plans at this time, but are considering participation in either the campuswide Commencement Ceremony or the SIB Convocation Cermony, you should place an order to rent academic attire. You will not be charged the rental fee if the academic attire is not picked up during the distribution period.

A professional photographer will be taking pictures. Proofs will be sent to the email address provided by the graduate with no obligation to purchase. Additional pictures may be ordered online.

Instructions for the day of the ceremony.

Questions concerning the School of Integrative Biology Convocation Ceremony should be directed to sib@life.illinois.edu, or you may stop by our office, 286 Morrill Hall.

World of Biology Photo Competition Winners

The 1st Annual World of Biology Photo Competition was a fantastic success!  Of the many entries, nine winning entries were chosen from three categories.

Check out the winning entries and start planning for next year!


Scales of Just-hiss, by Daniel Urban

Disclosure, by Joan Huber

Iguenas in Love, by Dena Goldberg

Biologists at Work:

Art in his Natural Habitat, by Lauren Fields

When do we eat?, by Dan Mikros

Fieldwork in Ireland, by Kate Murphy

Biological Imaging:

Gills of Lucania Parva, by Emma Berdan

Tipulidae Oleracea, by an Mikros

Coprinus, by Charles Bee

Conservatory Spring Open House

This weekend is our Spring Open House. Come out and enjoy this beautiful Spring weather here at the conservatory. The conservatory will be dressed with some spring blooming shrubs and flowers. This weekend we will have an orchid plant sale for a fund raiser for the conservatory. The Central Illinois Orchid Society will be here to answer any questions you may have about orchids. In addition to the show and sale, on Sat., one of the members of the Orchid Society will do a workshop on ‘How to repot your orchid’. It will be at 1:00 on Sat., March 10th in room 1103. Also, the Orchid Society is offering to repot your orchid for a small fee of $5.00 if you bring your own pot or you can purchase a pot from the Orchid Society for a minimum charge.

Lastly, Dianne Noland’s Floral Design class is doing to shows of ‘Floral Design to Music’. These are always fun to watch. The shows are at 11am and 1pm in room 1125

The hours for our Spring show are:

Saturday March 10th: 10-3
Saturday March 10th: 1:00 workshop on ‘How to Repot your Orchid’ room 1103
Sunday March 11th: 1-3

Thank you and I hope you will make us part of your weekend activities.

Debbie Black