Cancer Center at Illinois welcomes new cohort of TiMe graduate program students


Jordan Goebig

The Cancer Center at Illinois’ (CCIL) Tissue Microenvironment (TiMe) Graduate Program kicks off its 2020 – 2021 academic year with nine new trainees dedicated to advancing biomedical science and healthcare. 

“With every new cohort of TiMe trainees comes the opportunity to explore diverse ideas, build new relationships, and closely analyze complex biological processes, ultimately strengthening cancer research at Illinois,” said Rex Gaskins, the CCIL’s Associate Director for Education. 

The TiMe Program is a unique education program – partnering Illinois graduate students with a scientist mentor who advises them through research, extracurricular activities, and career development related to their field of study. TiMe trainees are enrolled in specific courses to gain an advanced understanding of tissue microenvironments and their role in influencing cell behavior, health, and disease.  

Since 2016, the CCIL’s TiMe graduate program has enrolled over 30 students spanning nine campus departments. Collectively, the U of I TiMe trainees have won over 30 research-related awards and have authored over 50 scientific publications. 

“Being a part of the TiME program will offer new applications for our research and will also allow us to connect more with the biology of the systems we are interested in. We are excited about the potential to use new tools and build new collaborations with researchers in TiME,” said Amy Wagoner Johnson, TiMe Program Mentor, CCIL member, and Head of the Department of Biomedical and Translational Sciences. 

The 2020 – 2021 cohort includes:

Chenfei Hu – advised by Gabriel Popescu, professor in electrical and computer engineering
Yoon Jeong – advised by Joseph Irudayraj, Founder Professor in bioengineering
Amir Moghaddam – advised by Amy Wagoner Johnson, professor in mechanical science and engineering and graduate program faculty in bioengineering
Nicholas Pino – advised by Jeff Chan, professor of chemistry  
Ashlie Santaliz Casiano – advised by Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, professor of nutrition 
Craig Richard – advised by Rohit Bhargava, Founder Professor in bioengineering
Jason Wang – advised by Roy Dar, professor in bioengineering, and Hyunjoon Kong, Robert W. Schaefer professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering and graduate program faculty in bioengineering. 
Samantha Zambuto – advised by Brendan Harley, professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering and graduate program faculty in bioengineering. 
Maria Zeballas Castro – advised by Thomas Gaj, professor in bioengineering 

TiMe trainees receive a stipend through the program. The TiMe Program is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more about the TiMe Program