Comparative Biosciences

Comparative Biosciences is creating the future of science and medicine, extending new knowledge into real-life applications to improve the health of animals and people.

Welcome! Our department is a place where students and researchers pursue advances in comparative medicine, from basic science discovery through regulatory approval and successful application to human and animal health. We invite you to learn more about our work.

 Mission | Areas of Focus | Faculty | Key Collaborations | News



  • Instruct veterinary and graduate students in the pre-clinical sciences of gross anatomy, histology, developmental anatomy, neurobiology, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology
  • Conduct original, cutting-edge research on critical problems of animal, human, and environmental/ecosystem health
  • Sustain a university-leading program in comparative biomedical training and research
  • Offer clinical pharmacology and clinical toxicology diagnostic services and engage students in these activities
  • Participate in leadership and governance of professional and scientific societies as well as of the department, college, and university


Areas of Focus

The majority of our faculty work within several interconnected fields of interest. We bring a broad range of techniques and approaches to bear on these core areas: from micro-RNA to animal and human patient epidemiology to ecological assessments, and from cellular biology to applied clinical pharmacology and ecosystem health. Experimental models used in the department vary from stem cells to rodent and frog models to domestic animals, wildlife, and large prospective trials involving human patients.

Reproductive Biology

  • Current projects: Endocrine/reproductive biology and toxicology; uterine and placental biology; molecular mechanisms of early embryonic development; circadian rhythms in animal models of shift work and jet lag and impact on reproductive health; mechanisms regulating spermatogenesis and mouse models of male infertility
  • Faculty: Indrani Bagchi, Jodi Flaws, Rex Hess, CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Quanxi Li, Megan Mahoney, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Pradhakara Reddi, Jing Yang
  • Center: Center For Research in Reproduction and Infertility

Developmental and Stem Cell Research

  • Current projects: Generation of 3D vascularized tissues for total replacement biologic products and other therapeutic purposes in regenerative medicine; the role of PTB (polypyrimidine tract binding protein) in regulating stem-cell-based tissue regeneration
  • Faculty: CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Wenyan Mei, Jing Yang


  • Current projects: Impact of environmental and dietary compounds on neurodevelopment and on addictive potential of substances of abuse; effects of environmental factors and hormonal influences on cognitive functioning and neurotransmission
  • Faculty: Aditi Das, Paul Eubig, Makoto Inoue, Megan Mahoney, Susan Schantz
  • Center: Botanical Research Center

Ecosystem/Environmental Health

Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology

  • Current projects: Stem cells for assessment of small molecule and nanoparticle pharmacology and toxicology; the interplay between  infectious agents and contaminants with wildlife populations; comparative drug disposition and pharmacokinetics; immunopharmacology and drug allergy; cancer chemotherapy
  • Faculty: Michael Biehl, Aditi Das, Michael Spinella



Department Administration

Jodi Flaws, Interim Head

Indrani Bagchi, Assistant Head

CheMyong “Jay” Ko, Director of Graduate Studies

Key Collaborations and Affiliations



News Comparative Biosciences News

[William Helferich, Jodi Flaws, James Hartman]

Study: Genistein May Adversely Affect Female Fertility

Nov 15, 2017 / Comparative Biosciences News

Genistein is found in dietary supplements Exposure to the phytoestrogen genistein prior to conception may adversely affect female fertility and pregnancy outcomes, depending on the dosage and duration of exposure, a new study in mice suggests. Chronic preconception exposure to genistein affected pregnancy rates in mice and was associated with prolonged labor, smaller litters and...

[13 fianlists in the Researach Live! 2017 competition]

Graduate Students Shine at Campus Competition

Nov 9, 2017 / Comparative Biosciences News

Vet Med Steals the Show The College of Veterinary Medicine continued its excellent showing at the Research Live! competition sponsored by the University of Illinois Graduate College. The competition, now in its third year, has featured veterinary medicine graduate students every year. During the first year, Robin Holland, who is in the college’s combined DVM-PhD...

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