Paul Kenis and James Slauch have been named as University Scholars, a program created to recognize the university’s most talented teachers, scholars and researchers.
Kenis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, performs research in the field of micro fluidics and the development of novel microfluidic tools for applications in energy and health.
These tools include the creation of evaporation-based platforms for the identification of suitable conditions for protein crystallization, which are being enhanced to aid the crystallization of membrane proteins. Similar tools can be used for a more fundamental study of crystal nucleation and growth. A different application sees the creation of gradients in chemical composition in solution and on surfaces to enable the study of proliferation, differentiation, and migration of cells under the influence of external triggers.
Kenis received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Twente, The Netherlands. He completed his postdoctorate at Harvard University.
Slauch, a professor of microbiology and of medicine, studies Salmonella bacteria, particularly the molecular mechanisms that cause Salmonella infections and allow the bacteria to elude the immune system.
In addition to causing an annual 1.4 million cases of gastroenteritis and enteric fever, Salmonella is the leading cause of death from food-borne bacteria in the United States. Slauch studies specific proteins in Salmonella typhimurium and how they contribute to virulence and make the bacteria resistant to attack from phagocytes in the immune system. Understanding these pathways could be the key to identifying drug targets and designing treatments to inhibit Salmonella.
Slauch earned his doctorate from Princeton University. He completed a postdoctorate program at Harvard Medical School before joining the faculty in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the U. of I.