CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two University of Illinois professors have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology. Steven Blanke and Bryan White are among the 79 microbiologists chosen by their peers for this honor.
Bryan White, a professor of animal sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
Photo by Kathryn Coulter
The American Academy of Microbiology is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology. According to the ASM, the Academy recognizes excellence, originality and leadership in the microbiological sciences, and election to this group is considered a mark of distinction.
Blanke, a professor of microbiology and a member of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, seeks to understand how pathogenic bacteria interact with their hosts to cause disease. Ongoing studies have revealed new insights into how chronic infection with the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori increases risk for gastric cancer. Blanke also studies how some bacteria, including the anthrax-causing bacterium Bacillus anthracis, subvert host immunity to cause deadly disease.
Blanke earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois. He completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School before joining the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Illinois. He serves as an editor for the journals PLOS Pathogens and Infection and Immunity, and is currently serving as the vice chair of the Gordon Conference on Chemical and Biological Terrorism Defense.
White, a professor of animal sciences and a member of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, studies host-microbe interactions in the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts of vertebrates, particularly humans, primates, cattle, swine and chickens. With a goal of improving food utilization, White studies how species digest fiber and how antibiotics and microorganisms promote the well-being of many species, leading to improved production and food safety. He also has pioneered the use of high-throughput genomic technologies to study the human microbiome and its role in personalized medicine.
White earned his doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed a postdoctoral program at the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Illinois. He also is a professor of nutritional sciences and a director of the Mayo Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare.
The American Academy of Microbiology now has more than 2,400 fellows "representing all subspecialties of microbiology, including basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service," according to a news release from the organization.