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Jessica Brinkworth

Researchers determine genetic variants offered protection during Black Death, associated with current autoimmune disorders

December 1, 2022

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.


December 1, 2022


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Reducing the carbon footprint through single-use plastics reuse

February 25, 2022

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.


February 25, 2022


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Initiative offers COVID-19 testing, explores virus transmission's social factors

December 9, 2020

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.


December 9, 2020


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Labor, Health, Equity, Action Project (LHEAP)

November 8, 2020

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.


November 8, 2020


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Cell-autonomous immunity shaped human evolution

September 9, 2020

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.


September 9, 2020


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