Science storytelling organization The Story Collider develops “true, personal stories about science” as part of their mission to reveal the vibrant role that science plays in all of our lives through the power of storytelling. Two IGB members will be featured on the December 16th episode of the Story Collider weekly podcast, which will be titled “Flora: Stories from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.”
Infectious diseases are some of the strongest selective pressures in human evolution, selecting for genetic variants that increase resistance to infection. In the face of a pandemic, resistance to the disease undergoes strong positive selection that likely affects the genetic makeup of the population afterward. The Black Death, otherwise known as the Bubonic Plague, remains the most devastating pandemic in recorded history, reducing the European population by 30-50% within a 4-year span (1346-1350) and affecting nearly all of Afro-Eurasia.
A staggering 5.5 million tons of single-use plastics are generated each year by science labs, negating 83% of the world’s recycled plastics. A team at Illinois was recently awarded a $81,865 grant to reduce dependency on single-use plastics by developing protocols for plastics reuse.
An interdisciplinary team of Illinois scientists is working with clinicians and community researchers to expand access to COVID-19 testing by providing pop-up testing clinics for agricultural workers and others at various locations in Rantoul, Illinois.
The Labor, Health, Equity, Action Project (LHEAP) is a team of interdisciplinary researchers from across University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, coalescing in the Infection Genomics for One Health theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. Its core members include Professors Jessica Brinkworth, Korinta Maldonado, Ellen Moodie, from the Department Anthropology and Rachel Whitaker, from the Department of Microbiology, as well as Gilberto Rosas, in the Departments of Anthropology and Latina/o Studies.
Every human cell harbors its own defenses against microbial invaders, relying on strategies that date back to some of the earliest events in the history of life, researchers report in The Quarterly Review of Biology. Because this “cell-autonomous immunity” is so ancient and persistent, understanding it is essential to understanding human evolution and human medicine, the researchers said.