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.


Department of
Comparative Biosciences

3516 Vet Medi Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 South Lincoln Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802

Uwe Rudolph, Dr med
Professor and Head

P: (217) 333-2506

  • 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 health
  • Sustain a university-leading program in comparative biomedical training and research
  • 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, and from cellular biology to applied clinical pharmacology and animal behavior. Experimental models used in the department vary from stem cells to rodent, frog, and zebrafish models to domestic animals, wildlife, and large prospective trials involving human patients.


Current projects: Impact of environmental and dietary compounds on neurodevelopment, sexual differentiation of brain and behaviors; neurochemistry of cannabinoids, neuroimmunology, neurophysiology of motivated behavior and cognition, Brain mechanisms underlying complex behaviors. Function of brain circuits, Role of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors in health and disease
Faculty: Andrea Aguiar, Paul Bonthuis, Howard Gritton, Makoto Inoue, CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Megan Mahoney, Uwe Rudolph

Environmental Health and Toxicology

Current projects: The effects of environmental chemicals such as endocrine disrupting chemicals on reproductive, gastrointestinal and nervous systems in human and animal models
Faculty: Andrea Aguiar, Indrani Bagchi, Juan Davila, Jodi Flaws, CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Megan Mahoney, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Prabhakara Reddi, Jing Yang, Ayelet Ziv-Gal
Related Centers: Summer Undergraduate Research Experience in Toxicology (SURE Tox), Endocrine Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Training Program (T32)

Pharmacology, Experimental Therapeutics, and Cancer Biology

Current projects: Mechanisms of response and resistance to novel cancer therapeutics, cancer epigenetics, phospholipid remodeling and cholesterol metabolism in cancer, mitotic/meiotic checkpoints and DNA repair, hormones and nuclear receptors in cancer, the microbiome and cancer, tumor immunology, pharmacology and experimental therapeutics of endocannabinoids, Pharmacological functions of neurotransmitter receptor subtypes, Cell-type and brain circuit-specific neuropharmacology, Pharmacology of postoperative cognitive dysfunction
Faculty: Indrani Bagchi, Sarah Freemantle, Makoto Inoue, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Michael Spinella, Uwe Rudolph

Developmental and Stem Cell Research

Current projects: Vertebrate germline development and signal transduction during early embryonic patterning, gonadal development focusing on the roles that estrogen plays in ovarian follicle formation, host-microbe interactions in intestinal development and tissue homeostasis, metabolic regulation of tissue stem cell homeostasis.
Faculty: CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Wenyan Mei, Bo Wang, Jing Yang

Reproductive Biology

Current projects: Development and function of the reproductive system, focusing on the germ cells, gonads (ovary and testis), uterus, and hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Special emphases are given to molecular mechanisms of meiosis, spermatogenesis, folliculogenesis, ovulation, implantation, sex determination, and sexual behaviors
Faculty: Indrani Bagchi, Juan Davila, Jodi Flaws, Rex Hess, CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Quanxi Li, Megan Mahoney, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Prabhakara Reddi, Jing Yang, Ayelet Ziv-Gal

Gastrointestinal Physiology, Metabolism, and Diseases

Current projects: Regulation of host-gut microbe interactions and their impact on host health, metabolic regulation of tissue stem cell homeostasis, regulation of lipid metabolism, pathophysiology of metabolic diseases
Faculty: Wenyan Mei, Bo Wang

Key Collaborations and Affiliations