Research Centers and Training Grants
Building Teams and Advancing Research
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign offers numerous research opportunities, including the following institutes, centers and programs aimed at providing out-of-classroom opportunities and advancing research in bioengineering-related disciplines.
Cancer Center at Illinois
The Cancer Center at Illinois, also known as the CCIL, began in 2011 as the Cancer Community, led by current director, Rohit Bhargava, and a group of over 50 Illinois faculty. These initial members started to organize regular activities and enabled interactions among faculty through symposia, workshops, and thematic research groups. Within a decade, the community had grown to over one hundred Illinois faculty and several hundred postdoctoral researchers and Illinois students. The Cancer Center at Illinois unites world-class faculty who uncover fundamental knowledge, innovate new technologies, and enable cancer-free lives. The goal then and now is to unite biologists and technologists, behavioral scientists and computational scientists, chemists and engineers — all with one mission: to relieve the burden of cancer.
Rohit Bhargava, director
Center for Label-free Imaging and Multiscale Biophotonics (CLIMB)
The Center for Label-free Imaging and Multiscale Biophotonics. CLIMB is an NIH National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Biomedical Technology Research Resource (P41 Center). CLIMB is located at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in our interdisciplinary Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Through our three Technology Research and Development Projects (TRDs), our current eight Collaborative Projects, and our eight Service Projects, we have a national and international network of researchers investigating cutting-edge optical imaging and sensing methods, along with developing novel computational imaging and AI/ML algorithms, to enable label-free optical imaging technologies for both clinical applications as well as basic biological discovery.
Stephen Boppart, director
NSF Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS)
EBICS is dedicated to creating a new scientific discipline for building living, multi-cellular machines that solve real-world problems in health, security and the environment. EBICS is a partnership of the City College of New York, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Merced, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The program offers graduate research opportunities at those institutions and addresses integrated research and education, human resource development, diversity and outreach programs, knowledge-transfer activities, and ethics training.
Rashid Bashir, associate director
Tissue Microenvironment (TiMe) Training Program
The Tissue Microenvironment (TiMe) Training Program is a university-wide graduate student training program funded by a National Institutes of Health T32 grant. Tissue microenvironments are critical for advancing biomedical science and healthcare in topics ranging from regenerative medicine to managing the burden of cancer. To this end, the integration of three technological approaches is essential: sensing and imaging to measure biochemical and biophysical parameters, bioengineering to recapitulate the TiMe, and computational modeling. With intensive mentoring and systematic activities focused on professional development, trainees will become the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders capable of undertaking fundamental research and enabling translational advances.
Rohit Bhargava, director
As a project of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, the nanoBIONode at Illinois is helping to advance nanoscience and nanotechnology through nanoHUB, a scientific cloud computing environment serving as a resource for research, collaboration, teaching, learning and publishing. The nanoBIONode at Illinois supports nanoBIO research and education through the creation of computation and visualization tools.
Umberto Ravaioli, principal investigator (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
NSF Center for the Physics of Living Cells
The Physics Frontiers Center in Illinois is funded by the National Science Foundation and aspires to make transformational advances at a genuine scientific frontier: the physics of living cells. The biological physics group at Illinois has grown significantly in the last few years, with the inclusion of junior faculty in strategically important areas, the expansion of recognized strengths in biological computation and fluorescence spectroscopy, the crossover of physics faculty from condensed matter, and importantly, the strong interest shown in the biological physics area by our graduate students. The effort is now at the scale where Illinois can realistically aspire to pioneer the creation of synergies between different approaches, which the center's faculty believe is the only way to tackle convincingly the major challenges of the field.
Yann Robert Chemla, co-director (Physics)
NIH P41 Computational Resource for Macromolecular Modeling (in the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group)
The Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group (TCBG), NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics, was founded by Professor Klaus Schulten in 1989 and is located at the Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other federal and private agencies, the TCBG's sizeable multidisciplinary team is engaged in the modeling of large macromolecular systems in realistic environments, and has produced ground-breaking insights into biomolecular processes coupled with mechanical force, bioelectronic processes in metabolism and vision, and with the function and mechanism of membrane proteins.