llinois partners with National Science Foundation to investigate biological machines

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $25 million to establish the Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS) Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The center’s objectives are to further research in complex biological systems, create new educational programs and create leadership opportunities with groups typically underrepresented in science and engineering.

The University of Illinois will receive about $1.66 million per year to support EBICS Center’s efforts. The Illinois team consists of researchers from mechanical science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, cell and developmental biology, neuroscience, animal science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The EBICS Center is headquartered at MIT and the research activities take place at the three partner schools.

The Illinois team will have a part in the Center’s leadership. K. Jimmy Hsia, a professor of mechanical science and engineering and associate dean of the Graduate College at Illinois, will serve as associate director of EBICS and Director for Education; Martha Gillette from the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology will be Co-Director for Research; Rashid Bashir, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering, will be a research thrust leader; and Lizanne DeStefano from the College of Education will be Co-Director for Education.

The Center will work to increase student involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.