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Meet Our Instructors

Section 1

Content Section 1

Course content for the program is provided by University of Illinois - School of Integrative Biology instructors and by instructors from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction who have advanced degrees in biology or education. The program instructors are directly involved in discussion components of the courses and have several years experience in online instruction. They have designed the courses specifically for the online environment in conjunction with instructional designers from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

OMST Instructors

  • Joanne Manaster

    • IB 531 Emerging Infectious Diseases
    • IB 533 Human Genome and Bioinformatics
    • IB 534 Evolution and Medicine

    Joanne is a faculty lecturer for the School of Integrative Biology. She has over 20 years experience teaching upper level laboratory courses for Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois. She is an enthusiastic fan of general science outreach and literacy via her website Joanne Loves Science, keeps active on social media, and writes a blog for Scientific American.

  • Ben Clegg

    • IB 532 Sustainability and Global Change

    Ben is a paleoecologist, studying the effect of natural climate change on plant communities in the North American boreal forest since the last ice age. His research is primarily located in Alaska. He was born and grew up in Germany, coming to the United States for undergraduate studies and living here since. In his free time he likes to travel, and recently began to keeping a garden growing some of his own food. An avid aquarist, he keeps several aquaria at home, with an increasing interest in the aquaculture of corals.

  • Marianne Alleyne

    • IB 535 Biology and Tech Innovation
    • IB 532 Sustainability and Global Change

    Marianne is a research scientist in the Department of Entomology. Her main research is on the physiological effects of parasitism on insect hosts. She teaches Insect Physiology at the University of Illinois. Lately she has been developing different teaching modules on "Biological Inspiration" because insects can inspire many other fields of research and spark innovation.

  • Barbara Hug

    • CI 544 Science Inquiry and Educational Reform
    • CI 548 Capstone Project I & II

    Barbara is a clinical associate professor in science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education. Her research interests are focused on understanding the design of learning environments linking basic science research with K-12 curriculum. She teaches in the elementary and secondary teacher education program at the University of Illinois. She is currently the PI on a NIH SEPA grant.

  • David Brown

    • CI 541 Learning in Science

    David is an associate professor in science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. His research interests focus on students' learning in science and the dynamics of instructional interactions that support this learning. He works with pre-service and in-service teachers and other students (at both the undergraduate and graduate level) in mathematics, science, and technology education, focusing on issues of student learning and understanding.

  • Alison Bell

    • IB 536 Evolution

    Alison is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Biology. Her research interests focus on individual differences in behavior, using threespined stickleback fish as a model organism. Current projects in her lab include studies of transgenerational plasticity, the evolution of personality and cognitive variation. Work in her lab is funded by NIH and NSF. She teaches Behavioral Ecology and the Animal Behavior Lab.

School of Integrative Biology Research Faculty who inspired our courses

  • Karen Sears

    IB 534, Evolution and Medicine, is inspired by her blended course, IB 360, Evolution and Human Health. She is broadly interested in the developmental mechanisms driving morphologic diversification in mammals. Karen began her career as a paleontologist with an interest in embryology. Karen's goal is to unite the study of paleontology, development and genetics to elucidate the processes shaping mammalian evolution.

  • Brian Allan

    IB 531, Emerging Infectious Diseases, is inspired by his course, IB 361 Ecology and Human Health. He is broadly interested in the ecology of infectious diseases, particularly diseases transmitted to humans from wildlife via the bite of an infected arthropod (e.g., ticks, mosquitoes). Much of his research focuses on the consequences of human-mediated global change, such as climate change and human land-use, on the risk of exposure to parasites and pathogens carried by wildlife.


  • Hugh Robertson

    IB 533, Human Genome and Bioinformatics is loosely based on some ideas he had for a human genomics course based on the book "Genome" by Matt Ridley. Some details of the course come from his course IB 504, Genomic Analysis of Insects.

  • Andrew Leakey, Andrew Suarez, Lisa Ainsworth

    These faculty members provided assistance with IB 532, Sustainability and Global Change based on the campus based courses IB 440, Plants and Global Change and IB107, Global Warming, Biofuels and Food.

    Andrew Leakey's research program is focused on improving mechanistic understanding of plant responses in natural and agricultural ecosystems to global environmental change, adaptation of food and fuel crops to global environmental change and sustainability of biofuel feedstocks.

    Andrew Suarez's research capitalizes on the developmental and ecological flexibility of ants to address fundamental questions in ecology, evolution and behavior. Their research themes include looking at the causes and consequences of biological invasions using the Argentine ant as well as looking at polymorphism and specializations that may contribute to their ecological success.

    Lisa Ainsworth's research focus includes understanding the dynamics of leaf growth and development, investigation of antioxidant metabolism in response to global change, and unraveling the physiological and molecular basis for intraspecific variation in plant responses to climate change. Her research aims to identify key mechanisms by which plants respond to specific elements of climate change, and use those to maximize crop production in the future.