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Joanne L Manaster

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Senior Instructor of Integrative Biology and OMST

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Joanne Manaster has been a faculty lecturer teaching upper level university laboratory courses in histology, molecular and cellular biology and bioengineering for over 20 years and recently moved to teaching online courses for certified teachers wishing to get their Masters in Science Teaching of Biology, teaching courses on the human genome, evolution and medicine and emerging infectious diseases. She is also maintains a significant online profile through social media, on her website, and at her blog at Scientific American.

Specializations / Scientific and Teaching Interests

  • Histology and Cell Biology
  • Cell Culture and Tissue Engineering
  • Genomics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Evolution and Medicine

Current Courses for the School of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois

  • IB 531 Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • IB 533 Human Genome and Bioinformatics
  • IB 534 Evolution and Medicine
  • IB 364 Bioinformatics and the Human Genome
  • IB 108 Biology of Dinosaurs
  • IB 303 Anatomy

Outreach Description

  • Joanne Manaster is very active in social media and has a significant online presence all in the name of science. She wrote a blog for the Scientific American Network that examined science in TV, video and film.
  • In addition, she maintains a video rich website, Joanne Loves Science, which explains and demonstrates basic scientific concepts using make-up, cookies, cats and gummy bears. It is also where you can see many of the popular science book reviews she has done.
  • Joanne is very active on social media. You can find her on twitter at @sciencegoddess, and at her Facebook page.
  • In February 2013, Joanne was invited as a new media specialist to India to explore issues of child survival from a scientific perspective by the International Reporting Project.
  • Joanne is a frequent keynote or guest speaker for events to encourage young people/girls or women to pursue STEM careers or sharing expertise regarding explaining science in an online environment.
  • Joanne travels extensively to attend science related events to share about them in social media and at Scientific American. Notably, she has gone to Alaska with GoPro Cameras to visualize auroras and visited Abu Dhabi to learn about the future of sustainable energy in the region, as well as many other events in places throughout the contiguous 48 states.
  • While working in the Department of Bioengineering, UIUC, Joanne was honored to be the faculty member in charge of weeklong camps with University of Illinois’ Women in Engineering GAMES camp for middle school and high school girls.
    • Bioengineering Camp Faculty in charge of University of Illinois’ Women in Engineering GAMES camp for middle school and high school girls. Summer 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
    • Assistant faculty for the Environmental Engineering camp of GAMES (Summer 2012).

Past Positions and Courses, University of Illinois

  • Laboratory Teaching Specialist and Lecturer
    • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Cell and Structural Biology January 1991-August 2010
    • Department of Bioengineering, January 2004-August 2010
  • Coordinator, developer and primary lecturer for the following courses:
    • MCB 315-Mammalian Histology, Fall 2004-Fall 2010
    • BIOE 202-Cell Culture and Tissue Engineering laboratory, Spring 2004-Fall 2010
    • CSB 213-Cells and Tissues Lecture, Fall 2000
    • CSB 215-Cells and Tissues Laboratory, Spring 1991-Spring 2004
      • Histology plus cell biology technique training
  • Co-lecturer, co-developer for the following courses:
    • MSE/Chem 494-Safety lecture, bioengineering guidelines, Fall 2006, 2007, Spring 07
    • BIOE 120-Introduction to Bioengineering, Survey Course, Fall 2004, 2005, 2006
    • MatSE 390RJ-Biomaterials Lecture Course (graduate students), Spring 2000
    • BIOEN 399-Biomaterials Lecture Course (undergraduates), Fall 1999
    • CSB 213-Cells and Tissues Lecture Course,Fall 1993-Fall 1999
  • Electron Microscope Technician at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May-August 2009
  • Lead Instructor for Cell Biology Lab Modules.
    • BioNanotechnology Summer Institute, July 2011
    • NSF Biosensing/Bioactuation Summer Institute, July 2010
    • NSF GEM 4 Summer School on Cellular and Molecular Mechanics, June 2009


  • BA Biology, University of Illinois, 1987
  • MS Biology, University of Illinois, 1991
  • Master Online Teacher, Illinois Online Network, 2012

Distinctions / Awards

Publications and Online Activities

  • Blog: Scientific American, Psi-vid, at the Cross Section of Science and Cyberspace
  • Website: Joanne Loves Science
  • Read Science! Google Hangouts On Air
  • Joanne is often of assistance to popular science book authors, a sampling of acknowledgments include:
    • Blurb on the back of Hannah Holmes’ book, Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality
    • Acknowledged as cell culture expert fact checker in NYT bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
    • Acknowledged in book Blood Work by Holly Tucker.
    • Acknowledged as inspiration in book Free Radicals by Dr. Michael Brooks.
    • Thanked by David Quammen in his book, The Tangled Tree.

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